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Run Like No One’s Watching

In the past, I’ve only run competitively and, to be quite honest, I always hated it. When I was young and would run Atlanta’s Peachtree Jr. Road Race, I was sprinting as fast as I could to impress spectators. In high school during my very short track career, I was racing against the girls running next to me. A few years ago when I ran my first and only 5K race to date, I was trying so hard to keep up with my friends and their paces that I couldn’t really enjoy it. Although I’ve heard time and time again from runners that I consider “experts” that the only person you should compete with  is yourself, I’ve always found myself trying to keep up with, beat, or impress other people when I run. In terms of running and almost every other aspect of life, trying to keep up with, compete against, or impress others is totally unhealthy and, frankly, unnecessary. Yes – we should give our all to everything that we do, but we should do it for ourselves more than anything else. I’ve decided to take up running again, not to prepare for a race, to impress people, or to compete with anyone, but instead, as a hobby. This time, instead of worrying so much about other people and what they think or what they’re doing, I’m going to run like no one’s watching.

Why I Decided to Run Again

[Tweet “Don’t compete with or compare yourself to others – Run like no one’s watching! You are your only competition!”]

A couple of weeks after our move to Japan in November, I found myself feeling quite restless. I’m usually pretty active, and although I still swear by my 21 Day Fix DVD workouts and do those religiously, I was feeling cramped and wanted to get out of our small apartment for a change. Randomly, I decided to lace up my sneakers and go for a run around our neighborhood. I ran a mile and felt SO accomplished. It was the first time I had run outdoors for quite some time and I was honestly shocked that I could even run a mile without stopping. I didn’t pay attention to my pace or how fast I was going. I just enjoyed listening to my tunes and taking in the world around me as I got in a pretty decent afternoon workout. After the success of my first run, I recognized a few key benefits and decided to take up running again as a part of my regular workout routine. I have been running on a regular basis since November and I’m really enjoying it, probably largely due to the fact that I’m running like no one is watching and not competing with anyone but myself. There’s no pressure and, when I’m out there, it’s just me, my sneakers, and the road.

Why I Decided to Run Again

It’s FREE

Last year when we lived in Italy, we got free access to a gym that sponsored my husband’s team. I really enjoyed getting out of the house everyday to go to the gym and even worked out one-on-one with a cross-fit trainer. Unfortunately, this year we don’t have free gym memberships and I frankly didn’t want to come out of pocket and pay seeing as we will only be here until the end of basketball season. Running outdoors is a great way to get in cardio when you don’t have access to treadmills, elliptical, spin bikes, and stair masters.

I wanted to explore our new home

What better way to see and become familiar with our neighborhood here in Japan than to get out and explore it?! I’ve discovered a lot of interesting things that are around us during my runs. I’m always safe and make sure I have my phone with me just in case I get turned around, but running is a really great way to explore a new area.

Our apartment is REALLY cramped

It’s no secret that housing overseas isn’t usually quite as spacious as what we’re used to in the United States. Fellow basketball wives and girlfriends can attest to the fact that sometimes, our apartments can be pretty small and really bare. While our apartment here in Japan is nice, especially now that we’ve made a few Ikea runs to jazz it up, it’s still really cramped. Running outdoors is a great way to get out and get some much needed fresh air!

My health!

It’s no secret that running is great exercise and has a number of health related benefits. While I don’t have a specific weight loss goal in mind, I do have a number of trips coming up and since summer bodies are made in the winter, I wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds before swimsuit season. More than that, I just want to be healthier – physically AND mentally. My runs give me some me-time and allow me to focus on myself and clear my mind. Running is also a great cardiovascular workout and an awesome way to burn calories.

Although I don’t see myself EVER signing up for a marathon (but never say never – right?!), the decision to run again is one that I’m glad I made. I’m really enjoying it and am slowly but surely establishing goals as I accomplish milestones that I never imagined I would. This go around, I’m not competing with anyone but myself, and it’s my personal goal to be able to run 3 miles without a break by the time we head back to the United States in a few months. Wish me luck!

Are you a runner? If so, what tips do you have for a newbie like me?

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