Running 8 km (~5 mi) is the first thing I do every morning.

I wake up at 6, clean up, put on my running shoes and hit the road.

Waking up is a struggle. Especially when you were working a lot the day before and it is too cold outside to leave the comfort of the layers of blankets you lie beneath.

It is hard. But I still do it.

Why? Because it is hard.

Running has obvious health benefits. But the effects to mental health from running and other physical exercises are often looked over.

Exercising has greatly improved my mental health. And doing it first thing in the morning has added to it.

I said I run because it is hard. You have to put a lot of effort to get to that first step and it doesn’t get easier after that.

But the contentment you feel after you finish that 8 km triumphs over all these difficulties.

After the run I think,

I ran 8 km just now. It was hard. How hard can the rest of the day be?

Any challenge you face through the day would not match the pain you had to go through first thing in the morning.

This state of mind is liberating to be in. Every problem seems insignificant and you are set up to go full carpe diem.

I leave you today with a quote from Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite authors.

In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.