Monday Night Runs: From a Newcomer's Perspective

If I'm to be completely honest, I've always hated running. I always found it dull and punishing, yet I once felt the same way about fitness before I found myself hooked. Just like most people, I started working out in high school as a means to lose weight, and for a long time I’ve managed to get myself in the gym to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

As time went on, I began falling in love with the entire journey and learned so much about myself. This taught me discipline and independence ... Working out became personal, it was the one thing I did for myself. And most importantly, I found self-confidence.

I’ve tried it all and although I hated running, I tried to incorporate it into my routine to try to switch things up, but I just could not commit to it. I remember dreading the run days in my CrossFit classes, especially the random 5Ks they’d throw in. Anything over a mile made me sick to my stomach. But it was through that experience I learned running is like anything else in life, the key is consistency.

For a long time, I convinced myself that running isn't for everyone and certainly not for me. I now realize this was just an excuse, and this somehow became a light-bulb moment for me. So, I came to Harlem Run to give running a chance and I mean really give it a chance. I was ready to tackle a major weakness of mine and face the pavements.

Being active has the most positive impact on my mood, productivity, and overall livelihood. In the past, I feel I've failed each time I tried running on my own but I've always wanted to overcome and try to push myself. When a friend of mine referred me to Harlem Run, the thought of being around experienced runners gave me anxiety and was intimidating at first, but my experience so far has been so great. I attended my very first session a few weeks ago for a Thursday speed workout, quickly followed by a Monday night run the following week. I left both sessions feeling accomplished and inspired... oh and SURPRISED that I did not pass out!

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My first two sessions with Harlem Run definitely boosted my confidence in running and I love that there are so many paces to choose from on the runs. This eliminates the pressure to keep up with others and the fear of failure. It's also amazing to witness a community of different individuals who are all on a healthy journey of their own. Being that I am a new member and did not come with any friends of my own, I felt welcomed and was fascinated by how friendly and supportive everyone is.

I truly believe the camaraderie in any sport/physical activity is what makes it incredibly fun. I plan to continue attending many more sessions with Harlem Run. Fitness taught me many things that I was able to apply in other areas of my life. I look forward to learning a lot about running and being more aware of my body. Right now, my main goal is to increase my endurance so that I am able to set real goals for myself and work towards achieving them. I'm excited for what's to come and look forward to reaching some milestones of my own.

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- Nabila