Running benefits that changed my life.
On January 3rd, 2018, I saw one of those infamous Facebook ads…
The tagline caught my attention: Run 2,018 miles in 2018!
I had already set a 2018 goal of running my first half marathon, so this challenge intrigued my interest.
It was $60 to enter, came with a nice medal, t-shirt, and a challenge coin. Additionally, it provided an internet-based tracker that would sync to my Fitbit and automatically log my miles for me.
All I had to do is run 2,018 miles before the end of the year.
I easily pay slightly less than that to enter a single race, so it seemed like a good value.
Additionally, I knew that to reach my half marathon goal, I needed to make running a regular habit.
Why did I want to make running a habit?
I have historically had a very difficult time controlling my weight.
My body type represents that of an endomorph, which basically means that I gain weight by thinking about food, and I have to work twice as hard as a normal person to get it off.
I want to be healthy for the long run (no pun intended).
It is no debate that running benefits your health.
Seeing fellow runners who are 60+ pass me in a race give me hope for the future.
I truly want to keep myself healthy because I HATE going to the doctor. Also, health issues are expensive.
Running 2,018 miles in a year is a good way to create a healthy lifetime habit.
I want to do everything in my power to keep my body in good condition as I age and avoid letting the American tendency toward obesity-related diseases take over. I refuse to be a statistic.
Running is one of the best long-term habits and has been proven to extend life expectancy.
Running is in my job description.
For those of you new to the blog, I am currently active duty military.
One condition for my continued employment is that I have to pass a physical fitness test every year (actually, every 6 months, but I’ve always scored high enough to test annually). My service’s specific test heavily weights its points toward running.
I have pretty much always maxed my potential points on my waist measurement, push-ups, and sit-ups. The only thing holding me back was improving my run time.
Actually, my run time has gotten slower and slower over the last few years, and I needed to reverse that before I got too slow.
How do I get better at running?
By running…a LOT more.
My new running habit changed my life in ways I expected…
Racing gives me a fitness goal.
Road races allow me to set goals and put a plan together to train for them.
I am competitive by nature and work much harder if I know it will give me a competitive edge. If I were “just” running to be healthy, I would skip wayyyy too many runs.
By setting a race as my goal, I can put together an 8-12 week training plan and work towards a new Personal Record.
PR’s are one way that I can measure my progress without using a scale, and this importance should never go underestimated.
When I run, I eat healthier for recovery. When I eat, I pick better options for performance.
By setting a race goal, I know that I need to fuel my workouts with healthy food options to improve my performance and recovery.
Running and eating healthy seem to be cause and effect for me, but I’m not sure which comes first…it’s like the chicken or the egg.
When I run, I crave healthy foods. But if I eat healthy food, it makes my run easier and more fun.
My weight has dropped, and I can still enjoy the occasional “unhealthy” foods without sabotaging myself.
2,018 miles burns a lot of calories…
There is something about consistently burning an extra 2000+ calories per week that helps me avoid weight creep.
(Weight creep is where you think you are maintaining your weight, but you are actually putting on pounds too slow to notice, but then you step on the scale several months later…and realize you are 10-15 pounds over where you should be.)
In 2016-2017, my weight crept up to a number that I had never seen before in my life. On that day, I pledged I would never see it again.
This year, I’ve seen the fat melt off slowly, but consistently.
I still enjoy the occasional tasty cocktail, glass of wine, and chocolate!
I’m now 10 pounds under the weight I started 2018 at, and HAPPY about how I look in the mirror. 🙂
I set a new Personal Record on my physical fitness test run (1.5 miles).
This test has always been in August for me, but since I attended Officer Training School this spring, my test was held right before graduation in May.
I didn’t have as much time to train in OTS as beforehand.
The foundation of fitness I set, along with the commitment to push myself in workouts, I knocked 10 seconds off my best fitness test time, which was set 4 years prior at Basic Military Training…when I first started running.
…and my running habit has also changed my life ways that I didn’t expect.
It helps me burn the crazy off.
You might laugh, but this is real.
Running is SO GOOD for my mental health.
The funny thing is that it helps me so much that I don’t notice until I took a couple days off. This happened in the 2 days before my first half marathon, when I was tapering.
Usually I take everything in stride, people don’t really bother me, and it is REALLY difficult to get under my skin. After 2 days without running, I got SUPER irritable, moody, and it was hard to focus on anything.
Running gives my brain the mental reset I need to perform at a high pace and even temper.
I actually look forward to exercise, and I’m not just doing it because I need to.
I used to workout solely because I had to stay in shape for a PT test, or because it would help me lose weight.
Now, I look forward to the benefits I get from just 1 run. The mental clarity, the endorphins, and the feeling of accomplishment make my day better.
I finally started my blog
Every year I set goals, and I’ve wanted to start a blog since 2014. Then it dropped off my radar for a few years when I joined the military.
In 2017, I actually did launch a blog on a different topic, but it fell flat in 2 months. I told myself, “I don’t have enough time.”
I had enough time, I just wasn’t using it wisely. And I wasn’t passionate about the topic of that blog.
Structuring running into my schedule has actually made me more productive. I now schedule time and I “get it done” because that’s what I need to do. And now I’m just love talking about running.
When I tackled my daunting goal to run my first half marathon in 2018, I didn’t know if I could actually do it. But I made a plan, followed that plan, and I ran a half marathon.
Now, I’m doing the same thing with this blog. I made a plan and I’m taking action. The quality of life change I’ve seen throughout 2018 is actually what inspired the name of this blog–Running My Best Life.
After running 2,018 miles in 2018 and seeing how much better it has made my life I can already tell you, I’m going to run 2,019 miles in 2019!
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- Mastering the Marathon: The Ultimate Guide to Nutrition and Training
- Ultimate Guide to the Top 5 Running Shoes for Beginners in 2023
About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>