I am certifiably allergic to running.
I know what you're thinking. "Oh yeah, me, too..." But I really am!
If I don't have a steady dose of antihistamine in my system, I'll break into hives after 5-10 minutes of running. (The science of it is kind of a snoozefest, but it has something to do with histamines in the bloodstream interacting with skin cells, yada yada).
Here's the real problem.
Now that I know how to run without hives again (thank you, antihistamines), I still don't do it; and the guilt I feel about that daily choice weighs heavily on me. I often remind myself that when I was a kid, I could run a mile in 4:59.
WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?!
Well, I developed allergies for one thing. But something more important happened first.
My priorities changed.
My friends got lazy (it's always someone else's fault), and we stopped playing outside. As life went on, I got busy. And stressed out. And when that happens, the first thing I drop to make time for my other priorities is exercise. And once that happens, then I spiral out into the dark place. I don't like the dark place. I like it here.
The question is, how do I stay here? In the light? Spiraling up to achieve new personal records, despite my advanced biological age?
Well, for that, I've come up with a few tips. They're not flashy, but they work for me, and if you struggle with your own "allergy" to exercise, I suggest you try them for yourself:
- I buy new gear. New shoes, new socks, new shorts, shirts... Anything that will get me excited to try on and go outside for a run.
- I make someone else hold me accountable. I tell my wife, Lea, that I need to go for a run today or I risk going to the dark place. Later that day she tells me to go for a run. I make up a lame excuse, and she doesn't let me off the hook. It's super effective.
- I remind myself how important it is for me. Yes, physically, it can improve my quality of life and even extend my life. But for me, it's about the mental clarity and elation I get from the endorphin rush. It clears my head and energizes me to blast through any obstacles I'm having with my work (of which there are many).
- Bonus: I set goals. Lea likes to sign us both up for fun runs without asking me (she loves to run), so I know I have to stay in good enough shape to finish in a respectable time. These events are also a great, low-pressure outlet to give yourself something else in life to focus on and work toward that isn't "work".
Success in life is about prioritizing what's important to you and having the grit and determination to see it through. Consider this your friendly reminder that health and exercise are important to you, and that you should go for a run today.