Bye-bye lazy, hello crazy (or, how to be more active)

running girl high fiveMy natural tendency is toward laziness.

Given the choice between doing something easy and relaxing, like sitting in a cosy countryside pub having a beer vs. doing something active, like go for a run, I would almost always choose the former.

So it may come as a surprise that in the next three days I’ll be running the equivalent of a marathon, a half marathon and a 10K. (The goal today is 16 miles/26 kilometers and tomorrow’s the “long day”.) Before training for this, I’d never run more than a 10K.

I’m not a stranger to taking on crazy, self-imposed physical challenges like this before.

Years ago while backpacking in Asia, I spent three weeks trekking to Everest Base Camp, when the maximum amount of hiking I had done was two days in a row (once).

On my suggestion, my husband and I biked through Vietnam on our honeymoon, when previous to it I had spent a max of half a day on a bike a handful of times.

The thing is, I’m not averse to being active. I obviously like the idea, but I’m not an active person in practice. I’m just not used to it; I wasn’t brought up that way, the way my husband was. I didn’t have a habit of being active, so I wasn’t.

Bragging rights aside, what attracted me to all these challenges, I realize now, is that I wanted a way to create a habit out of being physically active. I knew I had it in me. I just needed to kick myself in the butt in order to do it; and I needed an outside impetus and an excuse to do nothing but keep moving day in and day out to achieve a singular goal.

For both the trek and the bike ride, I was challenging myself to do something physical — and mental — every day for around three weeks.

For the 45-mile (74 km) run staring me in the eye, training has been essential. I’ve spent the last five months running an average of three times a week, when before the training I wouldn’t even have considered myself a “runner”.

I’ve seen, through these last months of training how, slowly but surely, anyone can turn being active into a habit.

It can overwrite your laziness tendencies and how you were raised.

You create new momentum. And once that momentum’s there, it’s very hard to stop.

And the next time I find that I’ve fallen out of the habit of being active, I can simply cue the next challenge.

Stay tuned next week to learn how I fared on my epic run.

Disclaimer: The run, while long, is completely non-competitive. I’m here with a large group of friends. There might be long pub lunches and a pint or two of ale involved halfway through each day’s run; we are in England after all. But with the training I’ve put in, I think I’m more than allowed. See, sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.  


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