Running seems easy enough. I suppose that’s why so many people do it. All you need is yourself, and a good pair of shoes.
But running is hard. Like – really hard. Especially for beginners. I mean, it LOOKS like it’s just fast walking, but after about 5 minutes of this ‘fast walking’, your heart is pounding so hard it feels like it’s going to come out of your chest, and your legs feel like they’re tree trunks, and your brain is asking, is this what dying is like?
I think if you were to ask folks, how do I start running, most would say, “you just start running.” And then, they’d think to themselves, “uh – duh!”
But that’s not entirely true.
You actually can’t just start running at the pace that you want to keep for the entire duration of your run – whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour. You need to warm your body up before you can go faster.
When I was a beginner runner, this is where my heart rate monitor became really useful. I set it so that it would start beeping when my heart rate rose over a certain number of beats per minute.
Very brief science stuff here (optional reading):
Our body has two different methods of producing energy to our muscles: aerobic (with oxygen – can be done for long durations) and anaerobic (without oxygen – can only be done for about 10 seconds). The point at which our anaerobic system kicks in is called the anaerobic threshold, and increases as we become more fit.
I set my watch to start beeping just before I hit my anaerobic threshold.
You need to hold back. You can’t just go run. You’ll burn out. Fast.
But isn’t that how we do things with our health? We just dive in, often biting off more than we can chew? Knowing that what we’re doing isn’t so far fetched, yet feeling uncomfortable (because change is uncomfortable). And then feel like miserable failures when our vision of how things were going to be don’t line up with reality?
Starting slowly isn’t sexy.
But starting slowly builds momentum, it builds self-efficacy, it builds comfort. Starting slowly warms us up in to the change that we’re wanting to make.
You know what else it does? It helps us to build our identity (aka authenticity)
Have you ever made a drastic change in one of your habits – start running, exercising, eating vegetarian, & as you began telling people about it, felt like a complete fraud? “oh! I’m a vegetarian now.” or “yeah – when I was running this morning . . .”
And the reason that you feel that way – like you’re telling a big fat lie – is because you haven’t assumed that label as part of your identity. Yet.
But as you do the action more, it will shape your subconscious mind. As you do it more, and become more consistent, you will identify as a person of that label – non-smoker, athlete, runner, vegetarian, etc.
And let me tell you about people who identify as their ‘good’ labels – if they have an off week, or a rough couple of months, it’s not enough to derail them. They don’t automatically shrug & say, “well, I’m traveling in a country where vegetarianism isn’t a ‘thing’. I may as well eat a cow.”
Once we’ve internalized this label, it becomes part of our fiber. Like being a mother, father, lawyer, teacher, friend, musician, artist, whatever. When you say “I am ____fill in the blank_____.” those words define your future actions.
It feels uncomfortable at first. Like a new pair of shoes. But as we wear them, we never want to take them off.
“I am” – they’re really super powerful words. What follows them shapes your future.
If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, Download my FREE guide: How to get the body you desire without giving up everything that brings you joy. In the accompanying videos, there are definitely some juicy tidbits in it – like why we sabotage ourselves & how to stop.