I’m not a runner. Sure, I’m active—I get my 10,000 steps in on the daily, I go to the gym 3-4 times per week and regularly partake in home workouts to close my rings, but I’ve never felt compelled to run. It just seems unpleasant and unnecessary to me.
That being said, now that the gyms in my area have shuttered and I’m actively practicing social distancing, running seemed like a pretty safe and healthy alternative to my usual gym routine and when my editor asked if I was up for the assignment, I couldn’t find a reason to turn it down.
With earbuds in place and sneakers firmly laced, I hit the bike trail behind my house every day for a week—here’s how my body (and mind) handled it.
Day 1: What did I sign up for?
I’ve always been curious to know why people opt to run rather than taking a spinning class or hot yoga and I have to admit I was excited to find out what the hype was all about. I enthusiastically laced up my sneakers, opened the Nike Run Club app on my Apple Watch for the first time ever and hit the road.
If I’m being honest, my first run was a lot harder than I anticipated. I ran for about five or ten minutes before taking a walking break but eventually found my stride and ran for about twenty more minutes. I still don’t know why people enjoy doing this!
Day 2: Maybe ramen before a run wasn’t the best idea.
I usually head to the gym with my partner when he gets off work so I’m not used to working out during the day. On the second day, I ate a big bowl of ramen before lacing my shoes up… Let’s call it a rookie mistake. My run was not pleasant—at all. I ran for about twenty minutes before walking home.
Later in the evening, I went out for a quick ten minute jog to ensure I hit my daily goal. It went a lot better and actually made me feel pretty hungry for dinner by the time I got home.
Day 3: Wait… should I be stretching more?
By the third day, I woke up with pretty bad pain in my hips—something I’ve never experienced, which I found to be strange because I’m already active and fast walking is my main form of transportation. I toughed it out and ran for about forty-five minutes, punctuating the run with intermittent fast walking.
According to RunnersWorld.com, to get rid of the pain in my hips I needed to stretch and strengthen my hip flexors, which was relatively easy. I simply added lunges and leg lifts into my routine.
Day 4: Alright, this isn’t so bad.
Thankfully, the stretches from yesterday seemed to release all tension in my hips, so today was a lot easier to manage—although I’ve continued stretching and will work on strengthening my hip flexors as I move forward.
As I laced up my sneakers, I actually looked forward to hitting the road. I’m starting to see why people enjoy running in lieu of hitting the gym or taking a class. The feeling of flow you get when you’re alone with your thoughts as the world whips past is pretty euphoric… I’ll admit it.
Day 5: I’m a runner?!
By the last day, I had really taken to the habit of lacing up my shoes and getting outside. While hitting thirty minutes without stopping is still quite difficult for me, it’s definitely more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I also like the idea of strengthening my hip flexors, which is a part of my body I hadn’t given a second thought to!
I definitely still prefer a yoga or pilates class, but now that I’ve broken the ice when it comes to running, I can see myself subbing the occasional class for an outdoor run. I also like the idea of swapping the hotel gym for a run while traveling—a workout and a self-guided sightseeing tour, it’s the best of both worlds.