I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out how to fit regular, consistent running back into my life since Jake came in the picture. I miss it.
I think it’s because I’m really out of shape: in the get-up-and-just-do-it department. I’ve needed to exercise my do something now muscle. And my make-it-a-priority-or-else area is a little weak and jiggly, it needs some firming up.
So when my favorite running magazine posted a holiday running streak challenge – run at least a mile every day starting on Thanksgiving and ending on New Year’s Day – I thought it was just what I needed to get me back in the habit. I didn’t want to wait for the New Year to make a change.
For three weeks I did really well fitting in 1 - 4 miles per day. I would stay late at work and hit the fitness center there (just down the hall from my office – there’s no excuse not to be using it!) or I’d fit in a run between feeding the baby dinner and giving him a bath. Or I’d try to wake up super early before the rest of the family to squeeze it in. Every time I told myself: you can take at least 10 minutes out of your day to run a mile. That was enough to push me to do it. Though one mile doesn't seem like a lot, it's better than no miles at all.
At exactly halfway through the challenge, my foot and knee started barking at me. It was a faint throbbing at first, but the pain peaked enough that sensibility overtook my enthusiasm and ushered me to the sideline.
Two or so weeks of rest later, I feel much better but of course haven’t found my way back to the treadmill. I think exercising that do something now muscle is crucial, but maybe going from zero running to everyday running was a little over the top. I have to remember I’m not 25 anymore. Running aside, there are other ways to exercise that particular muscle – a couple of yoga poses here or there, or a walk around the block with the baby, for example. I also started getting little daily reminders emailed to me with ideas of things to do. Keep it simple, and the payoff will be big because it's easier to stick with.
Happy New Year, and good luck with your resolutions -- no matter how big or small.
Megan Brooks is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources, Mom to a 1-year-old and Stepmom of a 12-year-old.