…well here’s a post I never thought I’d write. Having previously flirted with fitness kicks that didn’t last longer than a couple of weeks, I never thought I’d be sitting down to write a health related update on my routine that I’ve managed to hold down for two months and probably the biggest surprise of all – enjoy. I’ve bleated on a lot about this before (here, here and here), so I’ll try to make this short and snappy. For eight whole weeks – bar the week I was on holiday – I’ve hauled myself out of bed and got in a good 30 minutes of good ol’ heart pumping, sweat and panting-inducing exercise. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays I go for a run and Tuesdays and Thursdays I pop on a Fitness Blender video and jump around my living room at 6am much to my downstairs neighbour’s amusement. From barely being able to jog around the block, I can now go for three miles and I reckon stretching it out to four is on the cards for this week. Here are a few things I’ve learnt, aside from the fact that working out will always make you feel like you have a waterfall trickling down your cleavage…
Buddy up. Having someone who’s pretty into their fitness on hand to coach you on your ‘meh’ days and give you a pat on the back every now and again is easily the most motivating cog in this whole wheel. For me, it’s my Dad. Two times marathon runner, countless times half marathon finisher and with so many medals in his office hanging off a pinboard it’s a daily occurrence that at least one falls off. He’s the whole reason I got into this running thing and he is all kinds of awesome. Also tweets from you lot who have recently picked it up are majorly motivating and just add to the feel-goodness of the whole thing. Keep ‘em coming and well done!
Take note. For me a fitness kick was never about numbers weight-wise, it was more about my general health and with having a pretty sedentary lifestyle, I needed to get moving. But one way that I have enjoyed tracking my ‘progress’ if you will is with the Nike Running App. Providing ‘on the run’ feedback on your speed, distance and average pace and post-run briefs summarising it all, it’s helped me to visually see that I’m getting better. My runs are still hard and feel a plodding pace at best but I can now run 3 miles at a 30 seconds faster mile average than my first ever one mile run that I did. It’s still many minutes slower than Mr Marathon Man, a.k.a) my Dad, but hey – I’m working on it.
Make time. This is my tried and tested excuse that has always been the reason that I’ve evaded exercise for so long. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But you see I have, I just needed to make time. I now set my alarm 45 minutes earlier than I used to. That gives me 15 minutes to wake up, aimlessly scroll through Instagram until my eyeballs no longer feel like they’re burning, get into my gear and do my thang. By the time I’m back I’ve lost no time and am in a similar, slightly more sweaty state, than if I’d just woken up.
Break time. If you miss a day, week, whatever, it’s cool. When you feel like you have to do something that is the pinnacle moment when it becomes dry, dull and you don’t want to do it anymore. I left my running shoes to gather dust while I went away and when I came back I ran the fastest three miles I ever have. What’s all that about? Time out is good and applicable to life in general. Ohhh look at me getting deep.
Enjoy it! I actually look forward to my running days. WTF?! As someone who used to ponder if it was socially acceptable to ask a stranger for a swig of their water after running for the bus, that is not something I ever thought would come out of my mouth. But bizarrely I actually prefer it to my strength training days. There is something about getting up, running and being showered, preened and ready to go by 7.30am that just makes you feel pretty kick-ass. I find that listening to music when I run makes the whole thing waayyy more enjoyable and if you catch me when Blu Cantrell ‘Breathe’ comes on then be prepared because I know the whole Sean Paul rap part word by word. I huff and puff my way through it out loud every time.