Mentioned in the show:
Altra Escalante 2 (women’s): https://bit.ly/2K0zqnN
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This is a story about the importance of finding your thing and sticking with it. This week was a week of miles. After months of running five or six miles a week on average with a few long runs here and there, I jumped to a 42 mile week, and it felt so good.
An aside really fast, in case you non-runners are thinking the point of this podcast is to tell you to start running, do not fear. Stick with me here for a minute.
Back to the good feelings.
I didn’t just feel good physically. For the first time in weeks, I felt truly, truly good mentally and emotionally. I felt engaged. My brain felt like it had been supercharged. I had good ideas again, I had tons of energy, even from home in the current situation.
Yep, still calling it that.
I felt like the world was once again my oyster. In short, I felt amazing.
And of course, I wanted to know why. As far as I can tell, three things have changed.
First and foremost, I spent a lot more time running outside. Running, I quickly concluded, was making me awesome. Everyone should run, running is obviously the best. But again, we’ll get to that in a second.
Second thing for me was that I was running mostly alone. That was new. For the most part, in the winter, I spend most of my time running with other people. I love running with my people. And since they’re listening to this, hi, I love you. Don’t worry. But there’s something to be said for running by myself. My brain turns off and recharges.
And then there’s the third thing and this is the most important part: daylight. I was spending new large amounts of time moving in daylight. A lot of my movement in the winter had been in darkness.
When I think about being outside, I think about it in terms of levels. On the top of the scale is being outside, period. If your choice is between staying inside and going outside, go outside. Where and how isn’t as important as actually doing it. But we also know that there are levels of benefit. Sitting outside in the dark in a city, for example, is not as beneficial as walking around in daylight in the forest.
Outside is good. Forest is way better.
And that’s how it is for me in Alaska. To exercise in the dark outside is good. Exercise in light is better. The fundamental shift I felt this week, I’m sorry, or happy, I guess, to admit, wasn’t about the running and it wasn’t about the moving outside.
It’s about two things. First, glorious, glorious, glorious, plentiful daylight. And second, it was about finding and doing anything I really truly enjoy.
I haven’t always been a runner. Back in 2010, I toyed with the idea and started running because other folks I knew had started running. That’s it. But I quickly realized that after I got over a certain hump, it got a little easier and afterwards I felt simply amazing. It didn’t take long for it to become my therapy.
I need you to find that thing for yourself. Maybe it is running. If you haven’t tried it, try it. Maybe you hate running, so you know that it’s not your thing. Maybe it’s walking outside in the woods. Maybe it’s swimming, maybe it’s rock climbing, maybe it’s cycling. There’s no wrong way to enjoy the outdoors and find the release and sanity that moment in the outdoors brings.
There’s just doing it. There’s just putting in the effort to make it your own.
This week’s Outdoor Hero is related to running. Sorry, it has to be for me. I’d like to take this opportunity to single out my current favorite pair of running shoes and sticking, of course, with the theme for our upcoming Thursday episode, which you’re just gonna have to wait to hear.
I just love my Altra shoes. They discontinued the pair I really loved – my Intuitions. And so I learned to love a new style: the Escalante. They’re light, have a great cushion, and feel amazing to run in. And more than anything else, after a long winter of running in shoes with spikes in them, they feel like actual heaven on earth. My dog Sam chewed one of the laces, so I’m rocking some mismatched kicks right now. But I don’t care.
Escalantes, you’re the bomb.
You can follow all of my outdoor escapades in daylight and darkness on my Instagram, @humansoutside. And please, please, please tag your own outdoor photos everyday so I can see them, tag them with #humansoutside365. In this current situation, we’re all spending more time outside and it’s amazing. I want to see your outside time! And until next time, I’ll see you out there.