I’ve always hated running. I never enjoyed it, and I was never good at it.
Whenever we had to run the mile in junior high and high school, I loathed it. I was likely one of the last people across the finish line, and I’m guessing my times were horrendous.
I liked doing other physical activity: I loved biking, swimming, playing volleyball. Even walking a lot was fine. I was always fairly active, so not being a good runner never bothered me.
But, lately, because it’s so hard to get exercise otherwise and because we have a treadmill just sitting in the basement, I’ve been trying to make myself run.
I’ve pushed myself to do this before, but for some reason, this time it’s stuck. I’ve been pretty consistent for three months now.
I started off very slowly. I just made myself at least walk for 30 minutes every day. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t push myself too hard and then give up, but it was hard to be patient for a few weeks. And then I started interval running: walking for a minute, running for a minute. And, guess what? Turned out it was fairly easy! I moved up from 30 minutes to 40 minutes daily. And on the weekends, I pushed myself to go for an hour.
So for three months now, I’ve been working out consistently for at least 30 minutes, 5 to 6 days a week. It feels good to not have given up. It’s become a routine now, and I actually look forward to it. (Although I still get really happy on Fridays, my designated day off.)
But, my goal was always to try to run for 5 miles straight without any breaks. I’m still far away from that, and I’m a little worried about the month of July. We have several relatives visiting for weeks in a row, and soon after, Ramadan will start. It’s incredibly hard to keep up any kind of workout routine in Ramadan, especially now with Maghrib so late, Taraweeh in between and an earlier Fajr. I’m hoping I can carve out at least half an hour in there somewhere to at least walk.
But, it’s still nice to have set a goal and stuck to it. I think the difference this time was that I wasn’t concerned as much about losing weight. I just wanted to have a set goal of number of miles run and stay healthy. It’s exciting to track my progress and see myself going further each week.
So, have you guys achieved something recently that you’ve been proud of? How did you get there? And, what did you do if you failed?
Pop Culture Hijabi is a weekly column by Nadia Malik. Malik is a former newspaper reporter based in Chicago who’s now making her way as a freelancer. She spends entirely too much time watching TV and reading pop culture, fashion and TV blogs. She also occasionally consumes serious books and news. No, really. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “pop culture hijabi” in the subject line, follow her at www.twitter.com/nadiamalik or simply leave a comment below.