This is a guest post by Brandon Weldy.
Running is my jam. I also listen to my jams while running. I guess that means I jam to my jams doing my jam.
Ever since I ran track in the eighth grade I have been hooked on the sport. I took pride in my ability to perform well and my two All-State honors. Running quickly became my life.
I did whatever I thought was necessary to get better at running. All through high school, I didn’t drink any soda. Then, much to my father’s dismay, I shaved my legs (milliseconds count). There were also guys on the team who helped to push me so I challenged myself to beat them during practices and they returned the challenge.
College is when I started battling the up and down terrain of living fit. I went to a school with no track or cross country team and it took quite a while to find anyone who wanted to go for a run. I was no longer running in events so I lost my focus and found a jar of peanut butter instead. By the end of freshman year, I was easily 40 lbs heavier.
The line, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” definitely applies to healthy living. It’s a journey. If we try to take on too much too fast the task can seem overwhelming. Even starting out, it can seem like a daunting task.
Conversations with our health-nut friend go something like this:
“So I was thinking of starting a workout routine.”
“Oh man! This is so great! You need to try (insert workout video course). It was absolutely amazing! You also need to make sure to start eating cleaner. Cut out (whatever is currently considered the worst thing for you) and you need to start eating more (whatever is currently considered the magic ingredients). Also, don’t try (some other workout routine). It is the worst. The people who run it are only after your money. Don’t forget to start taking (name brand supplement). Do all of these things every single day if you want to see results!”
At this point, you hang your head in despair as you grab a family size bag of Doritos, head for the couch and binge all ten seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S because they won’t judge you, except maybe Monica.
Don’t be afraid to take it slow.
Nobody would advise you to go running at night down an unfamiliar trail. It would be impossible to know the way. There may be twists and turns which catch you off guard or a low hanging branch ready to knock you off your feet. It’s the same with starting out on your health journey. It is impossible to know how your body is going to react to any change you throw at it.
Work one thing in at a time. Maybe you want to start cutting out the bottle of ranch dressing you eat with every meal. Perhaps on your thirty-minute walk you want to start running three of those minutes, they don’t even have to be consistent minutes, just any three. It could be you want to give some supplement a try and go from there. Whatever it is, allow a warm-up period to allow your body to acclimate to these changes.
Show yourself some grace
My work schedule can get a bit hectic, especially during the warmer months. There’s no way I can do it all. I can’t read, write, workout, spend time with my four kids, spend time with my wife, eat supper, and do work around the house each day.
It’s why I shoot to run and workout four days a week. I figure I can find 30-60 minutes on Saturday and Sunday which just leaves two days during the workweek to do a workout. I can typically fit that in. Some people will say it has to be 5-6 days a week to really see results, but if I was to aim for that I would fail consistently and I would quit.
I’ve done it numerous times.
But this year I’ve been consistent, and its because I’ve learned I need to give myself some slack. I’m not pushing my health off to the side, I’m just running along at a slower pace, but I’m still moving forward.
If you miss a day here or there, that’s okay. Tighten those laces and get back out there. Don’t let someone else make the arbitrary rules for your workout routine.
Find a Great Cloud of Witnesses.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Hebrews 12:1. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
The writer is giving the reader reason to keep on living out their faith but it’s applicable to living healthy as well. We are a lot more likely to keep up the pace when we have others around cheering us on.
In high school, I ran cross country. My first race my freshman year was around a lake and there were patches of woods throughout. Between miles two and three I was struggling. Each time I went behind some trees I would slow my pace. Every time I came out and met the cheering onlookers I picked it back up.
It’s easier to keep pushing forward when we have others in our corner. It can be a parent, significant other, or friends. Whoever it is, let them in on your plans and allow them the chance to cheer you on!
Healthy living is a journey that will take a lifetime. We are going to have hilly terrain to navigate along the way. But if we surround ourselves with advocates, give ourselves some grace, and remember to slow our pace when we need to, it will be an enjoyable journey.
Press on friends, press on!
Brandon is husband to an amazing woman. Father to 4 sons. He likes to arrange words into adventures. Visit Brandon at WeldyWritings.com.