I run 5km everyday. Every city that I go to, I'll set aside time each day to run. Sometimes in the gym, but mostly on the streets. It serves as an achor and has brought me numerous benefits. This is why i run.
It suits my lifestyle well. No excessive gears needed. I'm not tied to a membership. No time wasted on traveling to the gym. Just a pair of shoes, go outside and hit the road.
It shows me the city. Whenever I land in a new place, I would go for a run. I would run in different directions to discover routes. New stories and quirky stuffs will be chanced upon everyday.
It is flexible. Every city comes with its own rhythm. Sometimes I run in the morning, first thing after waking up. Sometimes it's after a long day of work or exploration. There's no keeping to a schedule. Just put in the run everyday.
It clears the mind. Running burns. It is painful. But after a while, you get into a meditative trance. Focus on breathing, don't think about the pain. The mind relaxes and ideas start flowing. It is a reset point after a long day of work.
There's no pressure. There’s no contest. I’m not trying to beat any record or hit any goal. It’s just me and the road. Break into a sweat. Run non-stop. Clear the mind.
It is challenging. Running 5km non-stop is hard. Running 6 days a week is even harder. It takes determination and discipline. Endure the pain, breathe, keep going. Persist when the urge to give up is strong. After a while, you show yourself that you can do it. It spills to other areas of your life.
It is a reflection of life. The pain, the struggle. There's no avoiding it. You can only get used to it by showing up everyday.
Some of my favourite memories on the road came from my daily runs. Running early in the morning from Shibuya to Yoyogi park, seeing a quiet side of the bustling Tokyo. Running along the breezy and tranquil harbour of Otsu, a small town 30 minutes away from Kyoto. Running through Princes Park in Melbourne. Seeing other runners in extreme speed broke my mental limits. Many, many more.
As for Sundays, it's reserved for rest and reflections. I go for long walks. I take a pause from my runs. I let myself heal. Then i start again on Monday.
The next time you need a pick-me-up, go for a run. Better yet, run everyday. Put on your shoes and go outside. Keep going, don’t stop no matter how much it hurts. Breathe in, breathe out and you will get over it. Just like life. See you on the road.
P.S. If you hate running, pick up a copy of Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running". That's how i got from hating running to loving it. I love his fiction books, but this non-fiction/autobiography is one of his best. Enjoy!
[Cover Photo: Evening scene of Tokyo, taken from Shibuya Mark City]
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