I should make it clear I was anything but regularly active when I first started my journey to revolutionize my eating and exercising habits. I went through periods where I would walk/jog (very common my Senior year of college to beat out the stress of my job and advanced literary theory), and I would commonly take my youngest sister to the San Diego Zoo on the weekends. But most of the time, any spare time I had, had been spent on the couch, letting my running shoes collect cobwebs in my closet. But I knew just because I was eating healthier, the weight wasn’t going to continue coming off for long unless I got moving.
Now, let me just say now, I am an overachiever. I immediately began jogging my first day out, but I mixed it up with power walking. I created a path that I knew well (void of angry dogs, heavy traffic, and where I felt safe). This happened to be the loop around my neighborhood, which when tracked by driving my car around it, I found out was 1.1 miles. Those first few months, I just went around the loop once and there was a lot of walking involved. But I created little mini-goals for myself. (1) Jog the entire time I am on a short side of the loop, (2) try to jog across every intersection or street break, (3) no matter how out of breath you are, say hello to everyone you pass. They may have seemed like trivial goals when I first started, but they challenged me to (1) learn how to pace myself, (2) challenge myself to jog longer, (3) learn how to breath.
Eventually, as I started achieving those little goals, I added another 1/2 loop to my jog and then I started running the loop twice. At that point, I knew that 2.2 miles was a good challenge for me. But I wasn’t breathing as hard as I used to, nor sweating as much. That was when I challenged myself to run faster. I followed many of the same mini-goals as I had before, just at a faster pace.
Now please let me say, this was over the course of about a year, with me not exercising nearly as frequently as I should have. But I was still getting out there. Eventually, my 2.2 mile route wasn’t long enough anymore, so I altered it and started a longer run that was 3 miles long. Was I able to go the whole way without stopping? Absolutely not. But I was able to be challenged once again.
Today, I am running much more than 3 miles every time I go out now, but that is a different post.