How to Turn Running into Something More than a Way to Burn Calories
I’ll be honest. One of the reasons I loved running and got into it was because it burned more calories compared to most sports. My line thinking was…”if I am going to workout, might as well make it with something that will really torch those calories.” And running does! Running takes a lot out of the body and demands a lot from the body (which is why, as runners, we need to eat a lot of good food!)
However, I’ve learned that running is so much more fun when it’s not about calories. Running becomes less of a workout and more of a passion when it’s not about fitting into our size whatever jeans. Running becomes beautiful when it’s not about how much weight is lost and more about how much life is gained!
It is so easy to get mixed up in the “running to look good” mindset and even though it’s natural to look strong if you run a lot, it shouldn’t be all about how you look. Running is so much more than how are calves look or how flat our stomachs are.
Running is about perseverance.
Running is about digging deep.
Running is about discipline.
Running is about learning to let your ideal race season go.
Running is about discovering your potential and giving it your all.
It really wasn’t until I learned these truths though, that running became less of a way to make my body look the way I wanted and more of lifestyle. Once my outlook towards running changed, the reasons why I ran changed. I started running for people who couldn’t, I started running to be a good example to others, I started running to be a better version of myself, and I started running to test my endurance, my heart, and my mind!
If you are stuck in the ‘I am running to burn off that bagel I just ate’ mindset, a few ways that have helped me change my mindset (and I hope will help you if you are in that rut!) are:
- Finding a running buddy! I found when I started running only by myself, I quickly found myself consumed with pace, calories burned, miles run, etc. There really isn’t anything wrong with knowing all this information or even keeping track of it (personally, I love knowing all the details, splits, etc. of my runs) but obsessing over it is. I found when I ran with a few running buddies who were both faster and slower than I was, I began to care less about burning the calories and tracking my pace and simply ran for enjoyment and socialization! When we train for races (especially if you want to break a PR) it is important to train with paces, incorporate strides, etc. But, balancing an obsession and a healthy awareness of our runs is the key.
- Signing up for a race. Racing and training for races changes you. I don’t know if it is the sheer exhaustion that comes through training months on months for half marathons and marathons, but I started caring less about how many calories I burned and all that, when I started training for races.
- Educating yourself on nutrition. I remember a specific moment in my running career when I learned that if I ate more, I ran better. WOAH. Game changer. This was a pivitol point in my ED recovery and when I realized that as I ate the food my body NEEDED, I actually enjoyed running more, running became easier, and I felt stronger. I then began learning and researching what proper nutrition looks like, and FYI it doesn’t look like restriction, food guilt, or eating enough food to keep a bird alive.
- Following your personal running heroes through social media. This was another game changer for me. When I started finding a few running ‘heroes,’ and following them through their blogs, on Instagram, and Facebook, I was shocked at how much they ate, how hard they trained, and how free they seemed. I admired their passion for running and equally, loved their balance of healthy living. Now, yes, everyone and everybody’s body is different, so we shouldn’t copy and paste everything that our heroes do to what we should do. But, I found it helpful and encouraging to myself to observe great runners and learn from how they live their lives.
- Learning about overall HEALTH. I’ve blogged about this before, but before I learned about what true health looked like, I ONLY ran, ate fat free everything & hardly any carbs, and never really put too much stock into injury prevention. Boy, was I wrong! Once I discovered what actual, overall health looked like (i.e. mentally and physically) my fiend with caloric burning quickly faded and life took on a whole new, beautiful look.
- Surrounding myself (yourself) with people who have a balanced view of healthy living. Similarly to point number four, as I surrounded myself with people who were influencing me in the right direction, this step helped take my mindset off my exercise obsession and toward a healthy relationship with running and fitness. This simply looked like talking to people about where I was at and where I needed/ wanted to be, un-following certain people on social media.
I hope these tips are an encouragement to you today! Now, if you will excuse me, I’m about to head out for my morning run. Have a wonderful day you guys, and happy Good Friday. I hope you are able to spend this day in reflection and basking in the beauty of the cross.
Questions of the Day
- Do you like tracking your pace, splits, and calories or no?
- What is YOUR run like today?
- What are your weekend plans?