Lately, trail running has become a regular thing in my life and it’s really shocking to me. Aside from a a few sweet seasons of loving running—usually somewhere in the middle of training for a race, when I’m in shape, but not quite burnt out yet—running has mostly been something I’ve willed myself to like, more like a love/hate relationship than something I look forward to.
But lately, trail runs have become essential parts of my week. It’s my time to get away from responsibilities, breathe fresh air, explore my community, take in stunning views and let my mind wander. With the electronic cardio station (or sometimes—confession!—90s hip hop) bumping through my headphones, I get into an amazing trance, finding my stride more quickly than ever and zoning out for miles as my legs and lungs keep me moving.
It’s crazy how different it feels to run outside than to run on the treadmill. At the gym, one mile feels like ten, but running outside makes the time pass so much more quickly, offering many distractions like people-watching, house-hunting (the trail I run leads to a neighborhood full of beautiful houses), and making friends with all kinds of dogs along the way!
Don’t get my wrong—running is no walk in the park for me, and it probably never will be. Trail running is both the hardest and most satisfying exercise I do during the week. Getting up the steep part at the beginning of the trail nearly kills me every time, and by the end of my jog I’m eager to get home and drink a HUGE glass of ice water. That being said, by the time I’m done, I feel sad that it’s over, and I feel immensely thankful that I treated myself to the activity.
Ultimately, exercise is part of self-care, difficult as it can be at times. Running helps my body for sure, but more importantly for me, it does wonders for my mind and my soul. And that’s why I keep lacing up my running shoes.
What activity do you do regularly that nurtures your mind, body and soul?
P.S. Exercising with a significant other, learning to love exercise, and a post-run cooldown.