Paying to run

For as long as I can remember, I have had free access to a gym.  I’ve always had a gym either in my apartment, at my workplace, or at the university. However, this high ease of access did not correlate positively with high usage. When I was an intern at Dropbox for eight months, I used the office gym a total of three times. The gym was literally 30 seconds from my desk, and it even came with laundry, showers, and towels. Looking back, I highly regret not taking more advantage of this convenience.

Last month I moved to London, and this was the first time that I did not have easy access to a gym. I figured I needed some form of exercise, so I searched around for gyms around my workplace. I was shocked at the prices that people payed for these gyms; the cheapest one I found was £40/month, and it was a small gym that didn’t come with towels or laundry.

At first I decided that I wasn’t going to get a membership, since I wasn’t ready to pay so much for something that I was used to getting for free. But then I realized that this is something normal adults do. Pay for the gym. After quite a bit of hesitation, I decided to go for it.

As I am still a student, I don’t consider myself to be a real adult. So for me, this small act of getting a gym membership was a step into adulthood. Next thing you know, I’ll be buying a house, saving for retirement, and getting excited over vacuum cleaners. (That’s what adults do right?)

Since I was going to pay anyways, I opted for a slightly more expensive gym that was a minute walk away from work, complete with showers, towels, lockers, and laundry. I put my hopes in the fact that I am paying for the gym would make me go more often. And it worked.

In the month of October, I went to the gym 16 times (out of total 20 days I went to work).  I got into the habit of going to the gym after work everyday, and I would only skip if I had something else important planned for that evening.

So what do I do at the gym? I run.

For the past couple years, I have been a very casual runner. I would run just a couple of times a month, normally between 3 to 5 kilometers. However, with the start of my gym membership, I ran a total of 100 km this month. Most sessions I ran 5 km, and did 10 km once a week. This may not be super impressive to a regular runner, but it’s something that I’m quite proud of.

In the past, I had always found running to be so boring. I still don’t find it fun per se; but it has gotten so routine that I don’t even think about it anymore. Now, thirty minutes goes by like a breeze. I actually look forward to the end of the work day to see if I can beat my time from yesterday.

At the start of next year, I will be headed back to Waterloo for a semester of school where I’ll have free access to a gym. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up my motivation to exercise, even without my bleeding wallet as motivation.