Running Two-Months Daily: A Motivational Story


In her 2019 reflective piece for GQ, reporter Emily Abbate looks at how running is parallel to other controversial topics such as cilantro or obscure early 2000s hip-hop songs. Emily, who belongs to the group of people who don’t like to run, says she had a hard time controlling her weight. Emily has tried various forms of exercise, from soccer to hip-hop dance, but her disdain for running stems from past disappointments, such as finishing last in a neighborhood 5K and failing to make the junior varsity volleyball team. Emily offers readers insight into the transformative power of self-discovery and perseverance as she confronts her aversion.

After her freshman year, Emily worked at an overnight camp in Conneticut and found herself in a world where was her only form of exercise. She committed to a daily run to a lamppost and back to incorporate fitness into her routine. Even though she initially didn’t like to run, she kept this streak for 61 days and realized that it helped her self-image. Interestingly, she discovered a newfound passion for running, eventually integrating running into her lifestyle and career as a certified run coach. This transformation in Emily’s perspective led her to embrace running, participate in numerous races, and seek out scenic running spots, ultimately transforming her relationship with the sport.

Emily’s strategies for maintaining fitness routines are validated by research evidence.

  • Firstly, a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology revealed that 91 percent of individuals who documented their exercise plans followed through on them, echoing Emily’s practice of creating a chart to track her daily runs.
  • Secondly, the concept of decision fatigue, backed by research, highlights the importance of simplifying choices. Emily applied by wearing the same outfit for her runs to reduce decision-making burden.
  • Lastly, research suggests that listening to fast-paced music can decrease perceived exertion during exercise, aligning with Emily’s use of a curated playlist to enhance her motivation and enjoyment while running.

In the article, Emily shared her following four secrets that helped her became a certified coach.

  • Make it a non-option: Emily turned her running routine into a habitual part of the day by scheduling it after lunch and sticking to a specific route, akin to brushing her teeth. Drawing from research showing that people who plan their exercise schedule are more likely to follow through, she diligently tracked her progress on a chart hung in her cabin. Each day’s effort became a badge of honor.
  • Control the controllable: In order to avoid decision fatigue, Emily simplified her running routine by wearing the same outfit every day and eliminating distractions before heading out. By focusing only on the task at hand, she was able to keep her commitment to running.
  • Have a SMART goal: Instead f setting lofty running goals, Emily set a SMART goal focused on weight loss and fitting into a specific pair of jeans, instead. She knew that it was important to set goals that were specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. This set her for success.
  • Be easy on yourself: Emily learned that it’s important to be kind to yourself and keep going even when things go wrong. She understood that success in running isn’t solely about performance metrics but also about personal growth and empowerment. Emily found fulfillment by focusing on the journey instead of the destination. She continues to pursue her passion for running with dedication and joy.

In short, Emily’s experience with running shows how hard work and self-discovery can change things. Scheduling her runs and setting realistic goals, helped her overcome initial challenges and gained self-confident in the process. Her story demonstrates the importance of perseverance and self-compassion in achieving personal growth, inspiring others to embrace their own paths to fulfillment and empowerment.

Acknowledgements: ChatGPT was used to summarize some content and prepare its first draft.