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Half-marathon diary: Why everyone should sign up

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RORRIS | CREATIVE COMMONS

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APRIL 14, 2022

I often hear that “only a crazy person would subject themselves to running that much.” I completely agree, but that’s because we’re all just crazy in our own way. You wouldn’t understand it until you actually sign up.

Entering my freshman year, I had lost much of my self-discipline and healthy habits, leading to unhealthy food choices and a lack of sleep. Eager to get my mental and physical health back on track, I decided to sign up for a half marathon. I trained throughout the summer and into the school year, keeping notes in a mental diary. Spoiler alert: There were many shocking things that I wish other people could also experience.

Getting more sleep

Many of my peers avoid working out for fear of feeling exhausted throughout the day. Because running encourages higher quality and quantities of sleep, it actually does the opposite. As a strict morning runner who consistently woke up at 8 a.m. to train, I made sure I was in bed by midnight so I could get my run in before class. This sleep routine ensured that I got seven to eight hours of sleep a night. I also fell asleep a lot faster, because I was so active throughout the day. Sleep greatly aided in my muscle recovery and performance and also helped me feel my best mentally.

Being more productive and managing time better

Initially, I thought that adding one to two hours of training into my days would rob me of my time. However, I actually found that I had more time each day, because I had stopped procrastinating and became more focused. Exercise naturally increases blood flow to the brain, meaning that it increases cognitive function and causes the brain to become sharper, more energized and less distracted. In addition to mental clarity, my strict sleep schedule encouraged me to manage time better, prioritizing studying over scrolling on my phone so that I could get to sleep on time.

Increasing mental strength

Getting back into the running groove after my time as a high school athlete reminded me of just how far it had gotten me in other areas of my life. Mental resilience is just as important as physical strength in terms of reaching one’s true potential. As my self-discipline and capacity to withstand pain grew, my running times dropped while my school grades improved. In order to run 13.1 miles consistently, one needs to develop the mental capacity to withstand repetitive — and often uncomfortable — bodily movement. The more you practice running, the easier it will get. The ability to develop the self-discipline to push past personal boundaries will show you just how capable you actually are.

Listening to the body and accepting rest days

There’s no better time to be in tune with your body and hormones than when you are preparing for a physically demanding task like running. I often tracked my menstrual cycles and adjusted my training according to my energy and recovery levels. I also documented any soreness and tightness I felt so that I could prevent myself from getting injuries. When I felt overtrained and fatigued, I showed compassion to myself, allowing myself to rest so that I could jump back stronger than before. For new runners, taking it slow and steady is key for injury prevention.

Doing it for myself rather than validation from others

I didn’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone when I had finished the half-marathon with flying colors. My self-esteem came from within. I knew that I had completed the race and surpassed my goal time because of the work I put in. Running was an act of self-love and crossing the finish line was proof of my commitment to myself. Signing up for the half-marathon catapulted my journey in self-care, and it didn’t stop there.

If you are looking for a structured plan that keeps you accountable for building healthy habits, self-confidence and physical fitness, this is your sign to sign up for a half-marathon. Run it because you love yourself. Run it to challenge yourself and build confidence. Run it to finish.

Contact Geraldine Yue at [email protected].
LAST UPDATED

APRIL 15, 2022


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