The onslaught of Covid brought along with a drastic change in my lifestyle: reduced physical activity resulting in increasing weight with the accompanying feeling of bloated-ness. With an intent of taking greater responsibility towards my physical well-being, I started focusing on cultivating this habit of running in the morning since Dec 2020 and have not stopped since.
Building the habit in a sustainable manner
A) Gradual, deliberate focus on progress: A max of half kilometre was the initial distance I was able to run without stopping post which I continued the 6–7 km walking. Gradually, I kept pushing myself to run 1 km, then 2 and so on and now I regularly sprint a distance of around 10–12 kms. This incremental approach helped my body adapt to the changing physical strain in a gradual manner and helped me stick to the habit as my goal each day was to run only 0.5 km more than the previous day. This very act of breaking down a 10–12 km sprint goal into a smaller yet achievable roadmaps helped me build the habit sustainably without overwhelming me.
B) When it comes to building morning habits, the morning starts when it starts for you: I started the first few days going for a run in the early morning at around 5–6 AM mainly due to two reasons:
(i) To make sure I’m running in the morning (obviously 😝) prior to any task interrupting my schedule
(ii) To avoid running through (and in front of) an awake neighbourhood-I felt shy back then and this timing helped
But one day I woke up at around 8 AM. The very first thought that struck my mind is: Should I go for a run since it’s late and people may already be outside with their daily chores and may laugh at me for going out for a “morning” run so late? But I did not want to break the streak and so I went for “my morning” run anyway. To my surprise, even then none of the neighbours were up. And the few that were, were engaged in their own household work even to notice me. And that was a good thing for me back then. But one of the more important lessons I learnt is that: most of the perceived challenges are in our minds only — in my scenario, all the mockery by the neighbourhood towards my run timings was a creation of my imagination. In reality, my morning started the moment I woke up and go for a run irrespective of how early or late the actual time is because for each person their mornings start as per their needs and requirements and not for being a timekeeper for criticising someone else.
3 benefits of a morning run
With the continuation of my morning runs, I began to notice changes in my physique and mental state. Some of the benefits I realized through this habit are:
(1) Leaner, agile body: With passing time my body started becoming leaner and more agile. The morning physical strain makes my entire body feel relaxed and flexible around the leg joints and gives an overall feeling of strength.
(2) Increased stamina: The repeated act of pushing my body to its limit each day increased my capacity for sustaining physical strain for a longer time. But one surprising benefit I realized was a much better mental stamina and I attribute it to: the mental resiliency I practised for focusing on completing the targeted distance second after second against a continued scream of my body and mind to stop running midway between my sprints. As a result, now I’m able to sustain critical thinking for a longer period of time (esp. during the afternoon when I feel the most lethargic post lunch)
(3) Overall well-being: Running makes me feel better, more in control of my well-being and increases conscious towards my overall health. One additional benefit is I’m experiencing lesser migraine attacks now (this part has to do more with breathing and blood circulation but will come to that in another journey) post the inculcation of this habit.
So, in short, the sustained habit of running has yielded many-fold benefits to my overall well-being and has changed my perception towards any large tasks: I now adopt an incremental approach towards a task for completing it in a sustainable manner with steadiness and consistency.
Thank you for taking your time to read my journey.
See you tomorrow !!!