Learning to love running is an arduous, but not impossible, task.
Here, author Sarah Wells details how ditching the treadmill led her to “become someone I never thought I’d be: a happy runner.”
The internet has a million-and-one recommendations for how to exercise, and many of those rely on one key element: cardio. Namely, running. For much of my life the very concept of running filled me with dread, until I found a way to make it empowering instead.
A big part of my running anxiety came from the way it was introduced to me in middle and high school through the infamous mile-run test in gym class. While I had always been actively involved in sports, I was never a particularly fast runner and these tests made that abundantly clear.
In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s how the test works: after learning the alleged correlations between mile times and health standards (e.g. to be considered healthy, a student would have to achieve a certain benchmark depending on their age and sex), an entire middle school gym class would traipse out to the school’s track and start to jog. While not meant to be a competition, it went without saying that students who finished last had “failed.”
This competitive relationship with running didn’t stop after the tests did, and as a college student I struggled with constructing my own exercise regimen without the sports I’d grown up with. As a freshman I was intimidated by the gym’s powerful weight lifters and the graceful runners galloping on treadmills like gazelles. Choosing the lesser of two evils, I chose to start with the treadmills.
Read more: I’m convinced exercising in the morning has transformed my productivity
The treadmill, a hamster wheel
I adjusted the incline, slowly increased the speed from a walk to a jog and contemplated whether I would wipe out badly enough to need the emergency “STOP” cord attached to my t-shirt.
Within minutes, the treadmill began to feel like a hamster wheel and, having raised the speed optimistically too high, I was out of breath and already discouraged before I’d crested the one-mile mark.
As I slowed to a walk, I remember looking around at other machines and trying to sneak a glance at their speeds. My heart sank as I saw them still running with ease at speeds far higher than mine.
As semesters and years progressed, I did become faster …read more
Source:: Business Insider