When I was younger and in school I use to walk the cross country races or try to skip the PE lessons as much as I could – I wouldn’t of even tried to run for a bus! Now I have completed a half marathon and can actually say I enjoy a 5k weekly.
How did I get to this point?
Keep reading for some of my pointers and how this can also become true for you.
The fitness industry is full of expectations and things you need to hit or achieve right – 5k, 10k, half marathons, this weight, that weight, this size, this look, this shape etc. Removing these expectations and focusing on what it is you actually like is the key. Whether you are running, lifting, skipping or dancing for exercise you should be enjoying (to a degree) Having a FEEL GOOD goal is far more enjoyable and achievable than following someone else’s goal or expectation.
Last year I decided I would run a half marathon – having always said I hated running and I actually did, this would be the biggest challenge I had ever set for myself. I wanted to do it to prove to myself I could and to also raise money for a cause very close to my heart.
I was determined and that is something I have always been if anything.
Running is a mental game.
Now I gave myself plenty of time – like 5 months and I started out pretty well – a couple of runs a week and then I opened the studio and spare time when out the window! The starting weeks of me running didn’t follow a plan or an app – I just ran, for as long as I could and then stopped to walk – each time this got a little easier. But I would never say it got any more enjoyable, in fact every time I wonder what the hell I was doing!
However, because I didn’t have time after opening the studio, I couldn’t really set myself goals each week – I just had to go with it, I just had to what I could fit in. I just wanted to be able to complete the half marathon I wasn’t put a time goal on it at all. With this in my head it took the pressure off massively.
Being a coach, we talk a lot about programmes and following a plan and this is definitely something I would recommend to most – but only if you know what it is you want to achieve. If your goal is to just be able to run – then there is no need to follow anything strict. Don’t put time or distance goals in place – just have an idea of where you are going and go for as long as you feel comfortable, then each time it will be become a little easier. Because there are no expectations.
If you have a time or distance goal than after you have settled into your groove look at a programme that fits your abilities and availability and that is flexible.
Also being a personal trainer / coach halfway through my training and I use the term training lightly for this as I didn’t complete that many runs before hand at all, but we will talk about that a bit later. I did however start to put pressure on myself, what if I don’t complete it, I should be doing it quicker – I am training others so I have got to be good.. All these things crossed my mind at some point. Until I had a little word with myself.
I was being a far better coach showing my students that it doesn’t have to be pressured, it is what you can achieve that matters. It’s about doing your very best on the day and dropping those expectations we think others are thinking of us…..
Now as I mentioned a minute a go, I really didn’t do as much running before as I would of liked. I only completed 2 x 10k and a heap of 5k’s before heading out to run 21k – I always knew it was going to be tough but because I had told myself I just wanted to run the whole thing, not in a time frame, just to get round I actually started looking forward to it. I knew I could do because there was no expectation.
And you know what I actually did enjoy some of it – I would say it is a story of three parts for me.
Part 1 – Okay this isn’t so bad – mile 3, oh crap I’ve got another 10 to go..
Part 2 – This middle part I actually enjoyed mile 3 – 7/8 was alright you know and then…
Part 3 – Mile 8/9 to the finish – thoughts were, where the hell is the finish line, trouble was I was in a city that I knew and we had to loop back down roads in and out of them and then bang a bloody big hill (really not that big) like the size of a Brecon in wales in the middle of the city centre, who put that there I thought. But I was determined to run the whole thing and I did. Slowly but I got round. The cheers the finish line was in sight, and I kept going not realising I had finished not for far, but I could of stopped running and walked when I saw the family and friends. How did I do that I thought… But wow I also wanted to do it again because the feeling truly was incredible!!!
- I wasn’t able to do a lot of running due to time and running the busines, I didn’t put pressure on myself for this, but I did cross train, I did a lot of spin classes and weightlifting too. Because these are the things I enjoy. They definitely helped carry me through this – find something that supports the exercise you want to do.
- I cannot tell you how important strength training is for running, your body needs to be strong to carry through the runs. Hips, glutes, posture, shoulder mobility these things are vital for a good run. Strength train at least once a week.
- Don’t put a time or distance on it – find your favourite tunes or podcast and get lost in this and you’ll be surprised at how far you can go.
- Run with someone you’ll be surprised how much it can help especially when starting out – talking can distract you, plus helps you set your pace.
- Running technique, this is something to think about. I knew my ankle was funny from previously breaking it, so I am very aware of how I run – being part of our running club has help me understand how to strike, push off and land my feet when running.
- Shoes – these are crucial – proper running shoes are a big must!
- The right bra and leggings - so many times I have had conversations with other ladies who run and making sure you are not pulling up leggings as you run or if our boobs are bouncing around to much, it really doesn't help the situation or make the run enjoyable! Setting out in the right gear - I recommend our award winnings leggings and ultra bra - they haven't failed me yet.
I never thought I would say that I actually like running, now I do. But I still dread it sometimes before going out. I would at 50% of the time I think oh gosh do I have to go out but that feeling after is the buzz all these runners love. I am confident when I say I am not sure anyone really enjoys the whole run – just parts of it. But I will say it does get easier.
Come and join our RUN CLUB if you are local to Bristol, we have all abilities, great coaches, friendly community and a fab after club drinks and food option some weeks.
Running isn’t for everyone, but it can be for you if you want to be. EVERY BODY is EVERY BODY worthy. Remember FITNESS doesn’t have a look, size, shape or speed.