Many times in my life, I tried to make myself into a runner. Running has so many benefits--the exercise, the outdoors, the endorphins, but until a few years ago, I forced myself to do it, like taking medicine. Then I’d rebel for a while, claiming that I just didn't have "a runner's build," and try another form of cardio. Though I love to dance and surf, wherever I am, I can complete a good run (including stretching and cool down) in 45 minutes. That's hard to beat in efficiency or convenience.
How did I learn to like it? My husband, a serious runner, though he claims otherwise, told me his secret. He said when he's out of shape, he'll jog until he's tired, then walk awhile, then jog awhile, then walk. This had honestly never occurred to me. In my black and white thinking, I thought if I went for a run, I had to run the whole time, painful or not. I tried his method, and found that not only did I have more fun, but over time I began running more and walking less. One day I realized I had happily jogged three miles without stopping. Pretty awesome, huh?
Like anything, some days are better than others. Yesterday, I was a little stiff, a little slow, a little tired. So I walked a few times, and cut my run short. The miracle is that I felt okay about that. I had accomplished the main objectives—time outside, alone, with a raised pulse. (As a bonus, I had an inspiration for my novel too.) With running, as with writing, the trick seems to be encouraging myself to grow without pushing myself too hard. Yesterday I struck that balance well, other days not so much.
Carl’s theory of jogging, which might apply to life in general: Respect your limits, and know that if you keep trying, your limits will expand.