Smart Feet – The Power of Habit

It’s still summer down here in Florida, hot and humid. Generally I don’t mind hot and humid, but it does make my morning workouts much harder, and by now I’m tired of it and ready for fall. On yesterday’s run the weather nearly beat me.

A little background is in order. I run twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. For the last nine months, I’ve been doing a 5-mile loop through the neighborhood and a local walking trail. Typically I don’t vary the route and am well accommodated to the distance. And no headphones for me. I like to enjoy looking at the scenery, thinking and sometimes praying as I run.

Yesterday was different. At about 77° just before sunrise, it wasn’t too hot, but if the humidity wasn’t 100%, then it was close. Cars were dripping with dew and the streets and sidewalks were wet. The air felt heavy. So did I. Slow from the start, by the 4-mile mark my legs were much more tired than usual and I felt like quitting. The mental battle had begun. So I decided to take a new turn on the way home to pique my interest and keep my mind off my body.

Just a few seconds later at the next corner, I didn’t make the new turn as planned, but rather continued on my usual route. Maybe I was distracted by something; I don’t know. I realized my mistake right away but without any frustration. In fact, the first thought to come to mind was, My feet know what to do, which made me laugh. I’ve got smart feet!

Immediately my mental struggle was won, and the physical tiredness didn’t seem so bad. I continued thinking, It’s not just my feet. My legs know what to do; my heart knows what to do; my lungs know what to do. I’m just going to trust my body. It’s done this before, plenty of times. And that’s what I did, even finishing the last 100 yards with a sprint (of sorts – I’m not very fast).

Anyway, I don’t know if I should draw any big conclusions from the experience, but it was nice to beat the heat and finish strong. And it was nice to think that I have made this twice weekly run a firm habit, so firm that maybe the less I think, the better I’ll do.

But I’m still looking forward to cooler weather. Only another month to go!