Running to Relieve Stress

I fell for running the way Kanye fell for Trump – suddenly and then all at once.

I still have nightmares about “The Pacer” at Morris Brandon Elementary School. If you aren’t familiar, it is a recording of a series of beeps that gym teachers play while young children run across a gym. The beeps get progressively faster.

All the cool kids made it to the beeps that forced you to sprint like your butt was on fire. I was never one of those kids. I always waited for at least one other person to quit and then told my self it was OK to do the same. That was usually about one minute into the exercise. Ugh, so lame.

Fast forward 20 years later and I run 2.5 – 3 miles every other day. How the heck did that happen, you ask?

Stress.

My job can be really, really stressful. About a year ago I started experimenting with shorts bursts of running on the treadmill. I heard so many of my coworkers talk about “runner’s high” and had to see what all the craze was about. So I would run for two minutes and then walk for ten and repeat. And I felt pretty darn good after.

Weeks turned to months and I would gradually run more and more. Sometimes ten minutes straight which felt like a huge accomplishment. It took me about six months to be able to run for 30 straight minutes and now I have worked my way up to 3 whole miles!

I keep coming back to it because it makes me feel so amazing afterward. I cannot recommend this enough as a stress reliever. I could have a day from hell, but after a good run, all feels right in the world.

So the next time you are stressed/about to have a mental breakdown (which happens to me quite frequently) hop on the treadmill and run for a few minutes. It’s OK if it takes you months to log in miles. Who cares, as long as you feel good.

For me, it’s all about feeling good. The Pacer never made me feel good which is probably why I never tried hard. But running on the treadmill in the comfort of my condo building certainly does the trick.

I have a few tips for keeping up the running habit.

1) Listen to gangster rap. I am already a very big fan of rap music, partly because of where I grew up and partly because of where I went to high school. I find if I crank up particularly aggressive songs, I am able to run longer than if I were to listen to John Mayer.

2) Motivate yourself with a treat. I always tell myself I can eat candy or ice cream after my run. Lately I have been breaking off a piece of a chocolate rabbit from Easter when I am finished. If I don’t run, I don’t get any of that chocolaty goodness.

3) Think about your relationships. My boyfriend and co-workers seem to be in perpetually good moods — me, not so much. I find if I go for a run before a date or before work I’m more pleasant to be around.

If you’d like more tips on my running habits and how I over came feelings of inadequacy in public school PE class, please reach out to me on the contact page.

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