I started what I call “structured” running in the spring of 2020, the year of the pandemic. Structured means running consistently and with variety. I often reminisce about the spring and summer of that year. Running became my unbreakable and uncompromising habit, but I struggle to remember how exactly it happened. I have a cool story about how my running journey started. But how did it evolve? How many weeks or months passed before running every day became part of my identity? I don’t remember exactly.
I’m exaggerating slightly about not missing a day of running. I had two minor injuries last year that disrupted my routine for several weeks. I also have rest days, usually once every two weeks. There were also a handful of days when I misjudged my day’s schedule and had no choice but to miss my run.
Still, there wasn’t a single day when I skipped running because I didn’t feel like it or lacked motivation. Not. A single. Day. Did I have bad days at work or in my life more generally? Many. They count in hundreds. I often experience high levels of stress and fatigue. But not once did the idea of missing my run cross my mind.
It’s not about being motivated or inspired.
It’s about putting on my running shoes no matter what and starting one of the most magical experiences in life — running. On good days there is energy. On bad days, there is heaviness in every step, my body and my mind. After a mile or two, it gets easier. You stop thinking. It’s not that the heaviness goes away. Or maybe it does. But you get into a rhythm. You think about nothing. Your mind clears. You focus on nothing but running. Or maybe you don’t focus on running. It becomes mechanical. Your focus on the mile at hand. You are only aware of your body. Or maybe you lose the sense of your body. It’s not easy to describe. You’re existing — in a beatiful way. You are connected to the entire world. Or maybe you’re disconnected.
I never chased any goals in my running journey but the consistency lead to excellence. I ran four sub three hour marathons, improving every time and reaching 2.44 in my most recent race. It’s been an amazing journey and it’s continuing.
The habit of running lead to the habit of writing — also every day. A lovely marriage.
Thousand miles left behind. Eight thousand and four hundred to be precise. I purchased my Garmin in June 2020 and it’s been my dear running companion ever since.
I write about running on Substack https://loveletterstorunning.substack.com/