How Running Transformed the Way I Approach My Life
Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about the power of finding focus and making small, consistent efforts toward your bigger goals. But I realize that it can be hard to understand exactly how this can manifest itself in your own life.
So today, I thought I’d share my journey with you — the details about how I went from someone that didn’t exercise with any level of frequency, to the person I am today who will tell you (without a doubt) running has changed my life for the better.
But to start to understand where I’m coming from, you should first know that I’ve never considered myself an athlete by any means. Not only that, but I’ve never been able to stick with going to the gym, always falling off after a week or two when I’d no longer feel motivated enough for the early morning wake-up or wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted.
Conceptually, I knew the importance of exercise — the physical and mental benefits. But even though I wanted those things for myself, I struggled with how to bring it into my own life.
It was after college, when I landed my first job and headed to New York City, that I knew something had to change.
I desperately wanted to be one of those women who felt healthy, confident, and comfortable in their own skin. I was baffled by friends that would rave about their morning workout, telling me how great it felt to “sweat that much.” These were feelings I just couldn’t relate to, convinced that I would never have that level of enthusiasm for something that made me feel so uncomfortable and inadequate.
Nonetheless, something inside made me cling to the idea of running.
Living only a few avenues from Central Park, I romanticized how effortlessly others would prance around the park in the early morning, feeling awake and alive with the crisp autumn air on their skin. I envisioned a life in which exercise would come as easily to me as it appeared to be for them.
To add fuel to the fire, my dad had been running NYC marathons since before I was born. I have fond childhood memories of sitting on my mom’s shoulders looking for him during races to give him orange juice at mile 18. I remember the pure glee I had in getting the M&Ms from his goodie bag at the end of a marathon. It was tradition.
But running itself had never been my thing. Every attempt in the past usually ended with me throwing up on the sidewalk, swearing that I’d never do this again. (Sorry. Graphic but true.)
It’s embarrassing to admit, but when I first started, I could barely scurry through the crosswalk without being winded.
So what does any non-athlete do when they’re learning a new sport? I picked up a book. (Totally nerdy. I know.) But to say that this book changed my life would be no exaggeration.
The details are fuzzy now, years later, but my biggest takeaway was that the reason most people don’t like running is because they increase their distance and speed too suddenly.
The story usually goes something like this: A friend signs them up for a 5k, they don’t train for it, and then they’re miserable the entire race — their muscles aren’t used to it, their lungs haven’t adapted, and it feels incredibly uncomfortable and unnatural. So the next time running comes up in conversation, they simply state, “I don’t run.” Period.
But the book suggested a different way. It explained how to get started. And I quickly learned the magic of interval training — workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods. In my case, I’d run for 1 minute, then walk for two. I’d do this again and again, until I completed a distance I felt good about. Slowly (very slowly) I began to feel stronger as a result of this consistency. I tried running longer, bumping my “run” time up to two minutes.
Every other morning, I’d get out there and I’d run my intervals. I ran my first five miles in intervals. Then, my first half marathon in intervals. Until one day, something inside me clicked — I bet you could run this whole 5k if you wanted to, I said to myself.
And on that day, I pushed past what I thought I was capable of.
I learned how building up to something by taking small, consistent steps forward is one of the most effective ways to bring about change.
I learned that getting better, getting stronger, doesn’t happen overnight. I learned the value of working consistently toward something. And running continues to teach me more about myself every single time I get out there.
Six years later, I’ve completed three New York City marathons alongside my dad — running the entire time — and I can’t imagine my life without running.
But my story is only one example of how small, consistent efforts can lead to big results and help you move from dreaming about your ideal life to actually living it. Just as I did with learning to run, you too can build up to that bigger vision you have for yourself.
I’ve taken this same philosophy into my business. I’ve used this method, again and again, to bring change into my own life and the lives of creatives I work with, and I want that same transformation for you.
In Future You, my one-on-one coaching program, I help you focus on that big vision that you have for yourself, and then we break it down into small, realistic steps to help you reach that dreamy life and business you crave.
Because change is possible. One. step. at. a. time.