When I first picked up running again in early 2017, I couldn’t even finish a one-kilometer run without stopping. I panted like fish out of water.
If you know me I am the least athletic person of all. When I was younger, I had always envied my friends who could run fast, jump high, play good basketball or football or volleyball. It’s never in my genes to be a leisure runner, let alone a competitive sportsman.
But I persisted.
Slowly, over a period of a few weeks, I could run 1.5km. And then 2, then 3.
On a normal day, I will run on average 3K. Since early 2018, I incorporated HIIT into my run. But the distance remains more or less the same.
Occasionally I will go for a 5K run to challenge myself and to test how fit I am. As expected, during the initial attempt, I was struggling a little towards the end of the run but I persisted. I convinced myself not to give up but to finish the whole 5K run.
And now, I can comfortably run 5K.
Running is a battle between the angel and the devil. One side of you wants you to go beyond your limits while the other side of you wants you to give up.
Today I challenged myself to run 7K. And I made it. I believe it is my personal best in terms of distance. Again, my mind was trying to tell me to stop, even before I started the run: “You can’t finish the run.” “You should stick to 5K.” “Maybe 6K is enough.” “You are not fit enough.”
As I said before, I was not athletic and my stamina was pathetic. I am glad that I can achieve this kind of result. This is the result that I achieve after almost 3 years. But I guess I could achieve this result faster if I tried earlier.
I feel that I still have some room to stretch myself to run even further than 7K. But that is for another day. No hurry.
Competing with Yourself
You might argue that 7K is not a lot. And there’s nothing to brag.
You may be right but that is not the point.
Many friends can run 10K. Some go hiking every week. Some participate in triathlon. Some even join a full marathon.
Am I envious? Yes.
Do I beat myself up for not being as strong as them? No.
Everyone has different level of fitness and the only one you need to compete with is yourself. Focus your attention on your own strength and endurance. Forget what your friends can do.
7K is quite an achievement for me but perhaps not to some of my friends. But who cares?
If a person like me who is not athletic can do it, that means anyone can do it. If I can do it, you can do it too.
I have kept my running records by using a fitness watch. Let me show you the improvements over the last 2 years.
There’s no secret, really. To improve your endurance, my advice is to take baby steps. Of course you have to first get started. Be consistent and be discipline. Keep going and occasionally challenge yourself to do something that’s out of your comfort zone. Slowly increase the distance or the speed of your run. No matter what, don’t give up. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t over-stretch yourself.
One day you’ll make it. How do I know? I am the living proof. If someone like me can do it, you can too!
Note: Besides running, I feel that strength training and flexibility training play a very important in our overall health and strength. They help tremendously in your endurance and stamina too. Even though I talk about running in this post but I personally feel that you should not only focus on running but also strength and flexibility training as well.
If you’re interested, my whole workout routine is explained in detail in this post: