Need a Little Perspective? Get Out of Your Head and Get Running.

I’m a big believer that our worst days have a funny way of fueling our best workouts. It’s the days that I’m overwhelmed, or confused, or angry or upset that usually lead to the runs that simply fly by in what seems like a matter of minutes, rather than the six or seven miles of pavement (okay, treadmill … it’s January, give me a break) they actually are.

Last night, I was lucky to have one of those “wow, that was quick” kind of runs. I wasn’t sure what my workout plan would be, given than the January rush has started to make it a little more difficult than usual to plan my workout for the day without actually taking a lay of the land, if you will. I figured since there were a couple treadmills open – and I was wearing running-appropriate pants (it’s all about the waistband) – it would be a good opportunity to get one of my two runs for the week in while I still could.  And it just felt like one of those days that if I could run – turn my head off for a while, get lost in the music and the rhythm of my breathing – I’d be better off.

Perhaps I should back up a bit. I have a tendency toward overthinking what should be little things (assuming they are anything at all) and letting them affect me.  Admittedly, I’ve been in my head a little too much the last few days. Focusing a little too much on the unknown, the don’t haves, the where did I go off track and why can’t I fix its. It’s one of my flaws – I blame it at least in part on my perfectionism complex (and our always-on, look at me, social media culture to an extent, as well … and maybe the fact that the big 3-2 is two weeks away). It was a good night to try to clear up some of the gunk overtaking my brain. And I knew that the less I had to fight to do what I needed to do, the better I would feel once I finally walked out the door.

As I always tell my Pilates classes, you have to tune into your body  and do what it wants you to do on any given day. Some days you feel strong, like you can take on the world. Some days you find yourself begging the minutes to pass so you can be put out of your misery (yes, I, too, have these days every once in a while – heck, I had a couple “this is torture” days just two weeks ago). Luckily, I’ve found that the whole “worst days equal best workouts” thing tends to ring true. A cluttered brain is like extra energy, and nothing feels better than the feeling that comes from sweating out those shards of stress, step by step, mile by mile.

I’ll be honest: last night’s run felt GREAT. It allowed my mind to wander, gave me time to focus on my breath, my body and little else (and by “little else” I mean the National Championship pre-show on ESPN). To an extent, I almost feel like it grounded me. It was a reminder of why running, for me, truly is the best medicine – you can’t necessarily run away from your problems or your stressors, but you can run to forget about them for a while, and maybe even to gain a little perspective. 

In my mind, it’s an opportunity for me to do something for me. And there’s nothing better than being able to take a little time out of your busy day to forget about the things you can’t control, and remember who really needs a little love and attention, first and foremost: YOU.

11 thoughts on “Need a Little Perspective? Get Out of Your Head and Get Running.

    • You definitely should! I consider my gym time my me time – time to decompress, to turn off my thoughts, and to just enjoy doing something good for myself, instead of thinking about all the stuff that clutters my head during the day. Enjoy!

  1. Some of the best running/jogging sessions I have enjoyed the past few years have been when I specifically went to clear my mind. It’s such an amazing way to collect your thoughts and just zone out for awhile. I remember when I first began running years ago, the first mile or two was always a pain because I was just thinking about each step and wanting to be done. Then, usually around the two minute mark, I would zone out and before I knew it, the 5-6 miles was up and I would feel amazing. It’s still like that to this day when I need to get things off my mind, to relax, take a deep breath, and/or relieve stress. The bonus is that you burn more calories by running than drinking a ton of booze 🙂 (not that there’s anything wrong with that! I just know that I’m better off running throughout the week than relying on alcohol most times haha)

    • I’m the same exact way – once you get in the zone, it seems like you blink and all of a sudden, wow, I’m done already?!? I always tell people, if you can make it past the first mile, you’re going to make it. Definitely something to be said for running as therapy! And I’m with you – I’ll take a good run over a couple drinks any day … though as I get older, both have a tendency to remind me of what I’d put my body through the next day… but I’d much rather the post-run pain 😉

  2. Awesome! I used to be an avid runner and gym buff, but nursing school put a damper in that. Now that I know how to manage my classes, I’m ready to get back into my routine. I’m changing it up this year though because I love yoga and Pilates. With that being said, my workouts will consist of those two along with running and weight lifting.

    • That sounds like a great plan! I like to do as many different things as I can throughout the week – it helps to keep things fresh and I never get bored 🙂 Good luck as you get back into the swing of things!

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