In May, I participated in my first ever run streak. I’m an ambassador for Still I Run and May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Therefore, the goal was to run (or walk) at least one mile everyday to raise awareness for mental health.
Going into this challenge, I thought it would be easy to find time to run a mile everyday. I run several days a week as it is, and typically further than one mile. However, I quickly found out that I conveniently schedule my rest days based on my life schedule. I look ahead at my weekly schedule and see which day looks too busy to squeeze exercise into. By default, that becomes my rest day.
However, with the plan to run at least one mile everyday, there were no rest days. I had to find a way to get my mile in. Running a mile itself really isn’t the time consuming part; it’s the getting my running clothes on and then showering/getting ready after that adds up. It takes me about 10 minutes to find and change into my running clothes. After, my shower and getting ready time is about 30 minutes. Running one mile takes me less than 10 minutes. However, if you add all that up, I need about 50 minutes per day to get my daily mile in.
Upon realizing that I had difficulty finding a spare hour for “me time” everyday, I was irritated. How do I not have an hour for myself in a day? This realization was pretty enlightening. During the month of May, I was working 5am-1pm. Obviously running before work would be insanity. While I felt like I had so much time from 1pm onward, that time was too easily filled with appointments, house work, yard work, and social engagements. I learned to adjust my schedule to complete fewer tasks and to accommodate for more “me time.” This was a hard adjustment at first, but once I made the decision to do so, I stopped worrying about all my daily “tasks” so much.
I recently had a change in my schedule, so most days I work 7am-3pm now. This allows me to run before work, which I absolutely love. (Though I dislike running in the dark and arm myself with 3 (yes, literally) different weapons). I am a morning person – getting up before the rest of the world and running is refreshing and inspiring for me. I am grateful I participated in the Still I Run Running Streak. It forced me to take an hour a day for myself. In the long run (pun intended), this will prevent burn out in every area of my life. The run streak was meant to raise awareness for mental health, I just didn’t realize I would gain awareness about my own mental health during the challenge.