In the fall of 2019, a friend and I impulsively signed up to run a half marathon that was 5 weeks away. We had been preparing for about ZERO weeks, but being stubborn and not wanting to waste $80, we ran the half. Thankfully we didn’t end up injuring ourselves and we actually did pretty good for 5 weeks of training, but that’s beside the point. Unbeknownst to myself, this decision was the start to my own self-care practice that truly helped me get through 2020. Between October 2019 and March 2020, I would run occasionally, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit and lockdowns went into effect that I started using running as a coping mechanism to deal with emotional and physical stress from work (I was also working with Roadrunner Food Bank assisting with emergency food distributions) and from the world around me. For starters, it was nice to get out of the house, but it was/continues to be a practice that allows me to build a deeper relationship with my own body.
In our fast-paced lives, we rarely have the time to slow down, think, indulge in our passions, etc. Running is my designated slow down time, which is kind of ironic. Whether it’s zoning out to the music that I am listening to, paying attention to the muscles in my body contract and relax, or listening to my heartbeat and to my breath with each exhale, I find peace and beauty with each run. It is also pretty cool to watch the miles rack up and reflect after each month. I use the free Nike Run Club app to track my runs which is pretty sweet. If it’s free it’s for me ;).
Going back to zoning out to music – I absolutely love listening to music when I run, especially any new/old music that I have been wanting to listen to but just haven’t found the time. On average I run about 6 miles 3-5 times a week which gives me about an hour of music listening time on each run. Recently I listened to Teen Dream from Beach House which I fell in love with (can’t believe I had never heard it!). It’s a pretty slow album, but I have found that I prefer calm and slow music on my long distance runs.
Though I enjoy running, I feel like being able to get outside and walk, bike, etc., if you are able, grants the same opportunity to check-in with oneself and one’s own body. I always joke around that my body and I became besties in 2020, which we kind of did. I have learned what my body can handle, I’ve learned to listen when it is tired (ignored it in July last year and hurt my knee *sad*), and I have learned to take care of it. I also have listened to some amazing albums that I never would have listened to.