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About six months ago, my cousin finished a 10km run in 59 minutes. I was super impressed and absolutely thrilled for her – she’s a seasoned runner who enters this running event every year, and she’d been aiming to crack the 60-minute mark for a while.
But hiding under my congratulatory smile was an ugly emotion I didn’t quite know how to process: envy.
I envied that she could run, that she was fit, that entering a run didn’t intimidate her in the slightest.
Most of all, I was envious of the fact that she had prioritised her health and fitness above all else, when I couldn’t seem to prioritise a walk to the park with my girls – a park that is literally a six-minute walk away.
That she somehow found the time, despite being just as busy with kids and work and life as the rest of us, to run several times a week and then nail it over 10km… Well, let’s just say it lit a big spotlight for me on the lack of exercise in my own life. Yes, I have a baby and a toddler, but that doesn’t stop other mums from being fit and active and healthy. So why was it stopping me?
A couple of months ago, I decided I’d had enough. It was time to make some changes.
First, I upgraded my sneakers, then I did some research (ahem procrastinated) by reading blogs, asking fit friends about their habits, and reached out to a personal trainer friend for her advice. My aim was to find a way to incorporate running and fitness into my life, without creating an unrealistic regime that I’d only ditch a few weeks later. This is what I wound up doing:
I stopped thinking about my big goals.
I know – this is the opposite advice that most would suggest. But although I’ve always wanted to enter a 10km run ‘one-day’, that’s not what drives me to pound the pavement for a run/jog/walk combo. Rather, it’s the sense of accomplishment after running for 4km, twice a week – and the absolute non-negotiable nature I’ve attached to these running appointments, regardless of weather or weariness – that keeps me motivated.