Hello everyone, welcome to another Wild Workout Wednesday Linkup where Nicole from Fitful Focus, Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama and I bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us each week by reading along, grabbing our button and linking up with a healthy living post of your own.
I could probably list about 100 different reasons why I love running but I think the #1 has to be that it makes me a better person. Now that’s a pretty bold statement. But recently, I’ve realized just how true it is.
I’ve been travelling the world now for just about 5 months. And while I maintain a regular running routine it is a far cry from my marathon training schedule before I left. For the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve pretty much been in a constant state of training. There is always an upcoming race on my calendar and while I may have a few weeks off after a big race, it’s not long before I’ve found my next race. Now I run 2-3 times a week and usually for only 30-40 minutes. I don’t know what distances I run because I don’t track anything. I am loving the freedom of running just for the joy of it but lately, I’ve started to notice something. I’m cranky.
I used to be a pretty grumpy person. It was just a known fact about me to those who were around me. Tom and I even both referenced my grumpiness in our wedding vows. And then somewhere along the line, it just kind of stopped (unless I’m hungry because then watch out). But even in the mornings, where I was always known to be a bear, I’m not anymore. I am a functioning human being even without coffee. But lately, I find myself inexplicably grumpy. I said to Tom, I feel like I’m the “old Jen” again. So what was going on? Why is this changing?
And then it clicked…running!
While I’m still running, I am no longer running long distances. Long distance running means you are out for hours at a time. People who aren’t runners always look at me amazed when I tell them my long run might take me 3 hours on the weekend. That time never phased me and I never realized how much that time meant to me. But when you think about it, how many people get 2-3 hours of solo time every single week? That time is mine. I get to think, I get to zone out, I get to expel my grumpy energy, and I get a boost of endorphins. Running long-distance makes me a better and happier person.
I’ve found running while travelling to be a lot more challenging than I anticipated. First, because of the various factors in Southeast Asia – like heat, safety, etc. and now because of time. Our Europe trip has us moving at a pretty quick pace so it can be challenging to carve out hours for running.
So what to do?
First, I’ve started a regular meditation practice (more to come on that next week). I think before running was a sense of meditation for me even though I didn’t recognize it as such and so with more limited time I’m hoping that a regular meditation practice can help me reclaim my positive mental headspace. And while I don’t think much will change for the next few weeks that I’m in Europe, Tom and I have begun looking into races we can run in Indonesia and Australia. We plan to slow our travel style down and both are excited about the opportunity to challenge our bodies and reclaim the energy of training and racing.
What mental health benefits do you recognize you receive from exercise?
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