By Renae Leith
People are asking how they can change their lives and give themselves energy and a mental boost following one of the toughest periods any of us have ever faced during the lockdown for Covid-19.
I know it is not easy getting out of bed as the weather cools here in Sydney, let alone getting out of bed to go running when it is cold and dark outside.
But actually these obstacles make it a better time than ever to get in control of your mind and your body and to change your life.
To me, running time is sacred time. It’s a time when I can sit with my own feelings, thoughts, ideas and dreams, and desires without interruption. Each time I run can be a personal challenge – am I better than I was the last time I ran, how is my body feeling, can I push myself more.
Perspective: Running in the morning can give you a whole new perspective on the world. Any self help guru will tell you if nothing changes, nothing changes, and an abrupt – but positive change to your daily routine is the best way to initiate change.
Getting up early (530am ideally) introduces you to a side of the world you don’t ordinarily see. There’s a spacious energy and a calmness about the world when there are fewer cars on the road, and not many people around. It can bring a lot of clarity to your mind, and this simple change will likely to lead to other changes in your life, as you will have a new perspective.
Self belief: It’s easier than you think to run, and you CAN do this. The cold weather is actually a great incentive to get moving, as running warms you up quickly, and there is nothing like the feeling of cool air going into your lungs when your are running and it is cold outside. Believing in yourself is one of the cornerstones to success in every aspect of your life from relationships to business, and even health and recovery. Setting a goal like a morning run can re-inforce your belief in yourself.
Competition – with yourself: Remember this is not a race or a competition with anyone but yourself, and like anything in life going slowly at the beginning is ok. Set a goal, and it is ok to start with a short distance, such as 2.5 kilometres and build up over time (eg 3 months) to say 10km. Keep a journal or notes of how you are going ( a smartwatch can help), so you can see and feel yourself improving.
Mental clarity: Running is the easiest way to clear your mind and gives you the unique opportunity to sit with your own thoughts without distraction. It gives you the chance to reflect and to feel grateful for the many wonderful things and people in your life. There are people in many parts of the world right now who can’t roll out of bed and go for a run along the ocean or through a forest, so be grateful.
Many runners choose to listen to podcasts when they run, and this is ok to. I would recommend positive thinking podcasts to continue the theme of inspiring you to embrace your day.
Body Image: You will tone your body at worst and lose weight at best, either will boost your self esteem. You will also feel and become physically stronger. Running burns a lot of calories, and tones the lower body muscles very quickly. There is no better incentive (to keep going) than sliding into your jeans that bit easier.
Where to run? Ordinarily I travel a lot, but I am in Sydney right now, and usually run by the ocean, or through Centennial Park, and I have some neighbourhood runs I do as well to mix things up. One of the keys to staying engaged in morning runs is to change the location and route regularly.
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