This time last year I was training for my first marathon in awful conditions thanks to the ‘beast from the east’. Fast-forward 12 months and I’m putting my running shoes back on after an injury that lasted 7-months. Running has never been my forte but I enjoy the exhilarating post-run high you feel after getting your blood pumping and clearing your head. So taking a step back from 18-mile runs to follow a new couch to 5k programme is leaving me feeling excited rather than daunted.
Back to basics
I had my first training session today and found the whole process of following the instructions from an app on my phone extremely easy and satisfying. Walking for 5 minutes to warm up before doing intervals of 60 second runs and 90 second walks felt great and left me feeling refreshed. The session got my blood pumping but didn’t leave me feeling breathless or deflated. I ran to my own pace but still pushed myself to run faster than I normally would as I knew each interval would only last for 60 seconds.
I’m lucky enough to live next to a forest so I chose to run through the trees and escape the mayhem of daily life. Running on soft ground is a lot easier on my joints and the silence helps clear my thoughts. Previously I have entered a number of road races but the ease of this run has made me consider trail running in the future. Swerving pathways, jumping over logs and running alongside streams and trees makes the time exercising pass by in a flash and means the experience is much more pleasant.
A set beginner programme is a great way to get back into running without putting extra pressure on your body. Motivation is finally crawling back into my life and I’m looking forward to my next run as I know what to expect, and if anything like this one, will leave me wanting more. I’m hoping this gives me a refreshing new approach and outlook to a sport that I’m not naturally good at but do enjoy.
A new plan I’ve made is to rope my dog into more running as ‘canicross’ looks like a great avenue to aim towards. I’m not sure how he’ll feel about that but we’ll soon find out. As well as spending more time with him it also gives me something to aim for, which really helps fuel my ambition to improve.
When you imagine a person who’s unfit and feeling awful about their health, an image of an overweight, disheveled and downcast human being springs to mind. From the outside I appear to be in shape, I keep myself relatively presentable and I look happy. However this is not how I feel. I spent countless hours training in preparation for the London Marathon in 2018 and even felt fit enough to run three 10k’s consecutively, however after this I developed a hip injury. This has grounded me ever since so for the last 7 months I have done nothing apart from walk the dog.
It’s amazing how much this affects your mental and physical health as your motivation to do anything drops off almost immediately. After work I find myself sitting on the sofa all evening and watching television until it’s time to go up to bed. Previously this time would have been spent going out for a short run, feeling refreshed after a shower in preparation for getting stuck in to some life admin or household chores. This just hasn’t happened and as well as sitting on the couch, I’ve been consuming a lot more sugar related products. I’m currently keeping the entire chocolate industry in a job with the amount I’m going through.
All this is having a snowball effect and pulling myself out of the avalanche is proving harder than I’d imagined. I’ll wake up in the morning with the motivation of Mr Motivator himself, but by the time my feet hit the floor I’m back in the mindset of I can’t be bothered.
Seeing the light
Regardless of the difficulty I’ve made the decision to start writing a blog. Writing is something I enjoy and is what I do for work so it seemed the easiest and most natural way to clear my mind. Putting my thoughts down on paper really helps and clarifies what’s going on in my head so I can see through the fog. I haven’t got a set theme for my blog, I’m just going to write about whatever is happening in my life at that time, hence the name Life As I Know It (LAIKI).
This leads me on to my first piece of advice for anyone suffering from a lack of motivation and wanting to do something different – find out what it is that’s making you feel like this. You don’t have to start exercising straight away as the circle will just start again when you realise you haven’t tackled the root cause of your motivation. It could be caused by a lack of energy from your diet. Instead of changing everything you eat try adding in a multivitamin each day or if you want to be more specific about what vitamins you are lacking in there are tools online to help you find out what it could be, e.g. Holland & Barrett ask you an array of questions where you can then subscribe to receive a monthly package of vitamins to specifically suit your needs.
Do you remember the Friends episode when Chandler freaks out about getting married to Monica? Ross takes him through the process one step at a time as this is really grounding and stops anxiety. Try taking this approach to your fitness to prevent it from becoming too daunting. All you’re doing is increasing your heart rate slightly which will in turn make you feel better and increase your fitness.
Making achievable goals
Once you’ve tackled the root cause, you can start to look at building up your fitness one step at a time. This is how I’ve set my journey out:
Root cause – hip injury Solution – Book in a physiotherapy appointment to rectify the issue Fitness goal – start doing one piece of fitness each week, for me this will be an hour of swimming