Running really does give you the biggest bang for your buck. The mileage (no pun intended) that I get out of running is really phenomenal in terms of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. And it's very uncomplicated, too. Take yesterday, for instance. All I needed was a pile of sticks and a pair of shoes.
Lately I've been doing run sessions when I meet with my coach, and it's moving the needle. Yesterday was hill repeats--twelve of them, to be exact. My coach made a pile of sticks at the bottom of the hill and then went and stood at the top of the hill. My job was to start at the pile of sticks and run up the hill to my coach as hard and fast as I could. Then I would turn around, walk to a big tree, then slow jog back to the pile of sticks. I would count to five and then run up the hill to my coach as hard and as fast as I could. Rinse and repeat, as my coach says. And that's it. Just work. Uncomplicated work that required a pile of sticks and a pair of running shoes.
All you have to do to reap all the benefits of running is to put in the work. It's one of the most excuse proof forms of exercise there is, although I have been gifted in finding excuses to push if off until the end of the day, or move the workouts from day to day, or skip it altogether. But that was more in the first few years of running. Well, more so, anyway.
I still get butterflies before I run, like I'm going to a job interview or on a first date. I don't know what that is, and I never know afterwards why I ever avoid a run, because I really do love it. When I don't have big expectations from running but I commit and show up, it will always meet and exceed my effort. But I have to show up. And I have to put in the work. I've been on a steep learning curve the past six years with running and I am still on that incline. It occurred to me today that putting in the work contains many facets and the current assignment is commitment--showing up consistently and on time for myself. That's the thing that is required right now to move the needle. Regardless of what the workout itself is, that is what needs to get dialed in next to move forward. I have to make a standing date with running and then show up. It's time to go to the next level of commitment. It's time to put in the work.