I Used A Running App Every Day for 30 days, Here’s What Happened…

Credit: Flaunter / Lululemon

I used to be such a little gym class bunny, throwing myself enthusiastically into every class going, that is until COVID19 struck. Not only did it throw my whole routine out of whack, including forcing my current working situation into disarray and shutting down all sense of a social life, it also meant my fitness classes were to be no more. I don’t need to explain the rollercoaster of emotions I felt during the lockdown period (I’m sure many of you experienced/are experiencing something similar) but what I will say is that this bunny totally lost her workout mojo.

Especially at the beginning of the lockdown I felt lost and aimless, trying to get out for my daily isolation exercise, only to find I was boring myself by running around the local park in circles. Trying the much coveted isolation indoor workouts didn’t inspire me either. In my little apartment I kept bashing into furniture left, right and centre, and I felt more alone than ever, missing the energy of a real-life trainer and my sweaty counterparts. I felt as though I was falling into a serious funk! With my normal workout routine quashed I seriously lacked focus in other areas of my life too.

Until one day my friend mentioned giving a running app a go. I’d never been a big fan of workout apps, but I was ready to give anything a whirl in an attempt to get my workout routine back on track. Plus, hopefully, rediscover my sporty spark! So, I downloaded the Nike running app and have been using it almost everyday for the past 30 days. Not only has it revved up my cardiovascular system, and galvanised those endorphins, it also helped in other (more unexpected ways) too!

A Sense of Routine

I gave myself a daily goal of 5k, and by giving myself a workout focal point to the day it caused me to build structure into the rest of my day too, as I was forced to start organising my other tasks/chores/work around it.

Either I’d get up first thing and it galvanised me to start the day off positively, or I’d carve some space out over lunch, ensuring my other ‘to do’ list items fitted either side of it. At other times it would be my late afternoon round off the day/switch off activity. Having this one small focal point helped instigate the sense of getting a routine back on track (which I was now structuring for myself). This particularly aided me in the early days, when my normal work schedule had gone out the window and I had the creeping feeling of aimlessness enter in.

Feeling of Achievement

If you’re one of those people who thrives off praise, I highly recommend you give this app a go. I love being told ‘well done’, but when you’re feeling especially aimless and slightly lost, it’s very hard to give yourself some much needed praise. Particularly during uncertain times (COVID19 please enter here stage left) a small word of encouragement can energise my self-esteem and wellbeing, giving me the willpower and impetus to take on the task, day, week, month!

At the end of each run, not only would I have successfully hit my goal of 5k (oftentimes even surpassed it), my app would generate a friendly reminder – “You’ve just completed a 5k run, no-one can take that away from you.” The app was right, even if I did nothing else productive that day, at least I’d kicked my workout goal. That in itself was enough motivation to keep doing it day after day. Not only that, but the feeling of achievement really helped pump up my week in general.

Grounding

Ever get the feeling of being lost in your head?! Well that’s often where I find myself when things get stressful and uncertain. All my energy finds itself coiled in my brain, causing me to lose my sense of self and centre at times. Running has the wonderful ability of bringing me back into my body. Feeling the the ground pounding beneath my feet to my syncopated steps as my music bleeds into my ears, helped dissipate all the worries and stress I was holding on to.

I suppose it was a kind of meditation for me, a way of helping to clear my muddled brain, guiding to me to find clarity for the day. There is something brilliant about expending physical energy, which can in turn help calm your mind’s frenetic energy of thoughts, helping to clear a pathway of considered thinking through the clouds.

Appreciation for Little Moments in Nature

I had a new found respect for nature. Going on my daily runs, I started to notice all the fantastic wildlife (the birds and butterflies) which would fly beside me. In a busy life pre-lockdown, I realised I had oftentimes forgotten to notice the wonder of a vibrant earth all around me. Forgotten to notice the different species of the birds and actually hear the different tones of their birdsong. What running gave me was a reminder to just be in the present moment. Live in the time of the run, including appreciating and being in whatever the weather might be on that day, I would thrive in the wintery fresh sunlight, or feel alive when the droplets of rain would tickle my skin. Just a run a day, but it helped to open my eyes to all the beauty and life that is constantly present, and literally under our very noses.

The Power of Consistency

Using the app daily, over an extended period of time, allowed me a renewed optimism in the power of consistency. To start with, it was hard! Even trying to get to the finish line of 5k felt tiresome and a struggle, but week on week I felt physically stronger. My muscles weren’t so fatigued, the distance was so much more manageable. So much so, that on some days I had the power to totally surpass my 5k goal. Some days were still harder than others of course, but overall I could see how consistency really is king. If you keep chipping away at something, guess what, it really does become easier, and you do get better at it.

This philosophy spilled over into other areas of my life, as I realised if I could practise consistency there too, I could improve on goals and projects. It injected in to me a need to form some more good habits.

So there’s five really insightful things I learnt, all through starting just one new small habit a day. That’s the great thing about running, no one else is setting your goal, just you. It’s whatever pace and commitment you choose. Maybe you might start with just 1k, even a 1k walk and build up from there. For me, it helped drag me out of an aimless well I was quickly sinking into. And I realised, not only could I improve my health and fitness levels, it provided me with a lot of other positive by-products too.

Article by Katy Rachel Moore! She is into all things wellness and loves to get her teeth stuck into into the latest health trends.

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