It’s not as glamorous as you may think, getting up at 4:30 AM. But I’m trying to convince myself that I’m a runner, and runners run. For me, the most consistently convenient time to run starts, unfortunately, at 4:30 AM.

Get up. Stretch what needs to be stretched. Get dressed. Reflective outer layer and a headlamp strapped to my head.

As a runner, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not that good at running, even though I’ve been doing it for several years. I’m slow, I fatigue easily, and I know I will be sore enough to last me for the next two days.

One thing I’ve become quite good at, though, is showing up.

Running is more about my relationship with myself. About the commitments I make to myself and my willingness to keep them. With a 4:30 in the morning start, I’m certain I could quite easily convince myself to simply stay in bed. Especially on those colder winter mornings when the temperature outside is in the teens.

But I promised myself I’d run, so it’s out the door I go.

Yes, there are tangible health benefits of maintaining a consistent running practice. But perhaps the greatest health benefit is more mental than it is physical. Running early provides me with a sense of accomplishment. It reminds me that I once again showed up, stepped up, and accomplished something well before the time I used to awaken. Accomplishment creates momentum which is a great way to start any new day. And even if I’m sore, I do always feel good about breaking a sweat before the break of dawn.

Growth is often a byproduct of discomfort.

I don’t really love running, but I love what running does for me. Running has helped me keep the promises I make to myself. And for someone who has always found it much easier to keep promises made to others than to keep the ones I would make to myself, my consistent running practice has played a vital part in me improving the level of trust that I will honor those commitments I make to myself.

A transformationally impactful result for consistently doing something I really don’t enjoy doing.

Photo by Nathalie Désirée Mottet on Unsplash

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