Last weekend, I moved out of my childhood home and into a new apartment with my boyfriend – adulthood is here! Along with the new address came new furniture, a new dog, a shorter drive to work and new running locations.

At my parent’s house, I had three go-to routes that ranged from three to five miles. I would switch off between them, two being out-and-backs and one being a loop (my favorite). I had been running these same paths since high school, and while I didn’t realize then how much monotony affects motivation, after just four short days of new scenery, I do now.

The other day I went for my first run, and was overwhelmed by the options; I could go left towards one busy street, right towards another, or do a loop around our neighborhood. Or I could drive just a mile down the road to a local forest preserve and run there – the world is my oyster!

I ended up doing two short runs (because the dog can’t yet last a full three miles, we’ll get there). After exploring part of the neighborhood, I brought the dog inside, and went out in the completely opposite direction. Normally, after ending a run, the only thing I want to do is eat a snack and lay on the couch, but the unknown was exciting to me, and encouraged me to get back out there.

Since then, I have been eager to try all the other routes and find my favorites. Although the rain has kept me inside more than I’d like, I haven’t been this excited to run since last summer, and I have started building my days around my runs again. And yesterday, I registered for another half marathon.

Before moving, getting myself outside to run had become a struggle; not to mention I am a total baby in the cold, and despite all of my cute, warm running clothes, I barely made it out the door once a week. I’m sure this newfound motivation has something to do with the rising temperatures too, but hey, I’ll take it.

It’s crazy to me how slight changes can totally alter your view of something; seeing the sun this morning made it easier to get out of bed, and knowing I have leftover tacos to eat for dinner makes my pb&j for lunch a little more tolerable. The same thing goes for running – you have to find new ways to make it fun and enjoyable, otherwise it’ll start feeling like a chore and not a hobby.

Sometimes it is nice to just mindlessly run down that path you could follow with your eyes closed; not having to worry about tripping because you know where all the bumps and cracks are is sort of comforting. But the fact that running the same three-mile path made me dread my runs tells me that I need some variability.

I sort of remember feeling this way when I would move back and forth to school. After running on the same path for the months of a semester at college, I always looked forward to getting back to my old stomping grounds, but a month into summer break I’d get bored again. And I’m sure that will happen here too, but it’s nice to know there’s always a new path to explore.

Disclaimer: Don’t worry, I’m not running down any isolated paths or anywhere that’s unsafe (:

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run several shorter distance races and two half marathons. Her goal for 2017 is to try a triathlon, and eventually do the Chicago Marathon. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism. Working at Chicago Athlete, Holly has been able to explore photography a lot more, which is one of her main hobbies. She enjoys taking photos at endurance races, and is also passionate about nature photography and portraiture.


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