Ah, my life has been busy, busy!! I just haven’t found time to write on here, although I have been brainstorming ideas of what I want to talk about for a while now! I’d like to reflect a little back on my last post, for the first time this year (and in a long time) I have stuck with regular exercise for longer than 7 days! This is surprising enough in itself, and even my running app was impressed, but I also look forward to my little evening run now, which is inspiring for me! Two weeks ago, I signed up for Sure Run to the Beat 2015, which is a unique 10k race in Wembley in September, with live DJ sets around the track. Sounds like my kinda thing, and definitely worth a try. I first ran a 10k in 2012, as something to encourage more exercise during my final year of university. It was amazing, I wasn’t as well-trained as I ought to have been but it was such a great feeling to be a part of the running community and to discover I was strong enough to commit to the race and complete it! I even got a (participation) medal. I was so proud of myself, and with a time of 1hour 13mins, I know I can achieve even better this time. I want to point out that I am not a fit person, I was actually very lazy in hindsight. I walk a lot, if I don’t need my car, I’ll gladly walk somewhere and back, throw in my iPod and some headphones and I’ll even do it in good time, but if I was being chased by zombies, I know wouldn’t last very long if i was required to run anywhere. I am hoping the next few months will change all of this though, and in the 3.5 weeks I’ve been running regularly, I have seen improvements to my cardio-fitness already! So I thought I’d continue my running story and share some of the things that I have learned along the way.
- Run at a time that is convenient to you. Sounds easy doesn’t it, and it is. I am not a morning person. I won’t get up early to exercise and I won’t drag myself out of bed to go for a run. I’ve tried it and it just didn’t work. However, I know that I am a night-owl, so I know that when I get home I still have hours and hours of energy left to use up before bedtime. As part of my new training plan, I go running around 6pm, when I get home from work in the week and continue this time on weekends to keep it consistent. It’s easy to factor it in between getting home and starting dinner and I know that when I get home I’ll be having a good full meal and have plenty of time to eat it – if I ran in the morning, I definitely wouldn’t have extra time for breakfast!
- Plan a routine and stick to it. I hate routine. I hate feeling guilty if I don’t stick to it and I hate having time constraints on other areas of my life. But if you follow tip numero 1 above, it’s actually quite easy to get into a routine for your workout! And I guess not exercising is a good thing to feel guilty about, should I ever miss a session. I chose to run 3 or 4 times a week (I like to keep things flexible) and I do this Tuesday’s, Thursday’s and Saturday and/or Sunday. My fella knows when I run, I know when I run and soon my hometown will probably start recognising the times when I run, but at least it’s pretty easy to plan my life around it if I keep it the same each week! Also, if you stick to the routine, you’ll feel so much better for it. I was almost tempted to not run last night, as I’d had a long day, but if I hadn’t I’d have regretted it this morning!
- Don’t overdo it. It’s really easy to jump into a training program and decide you want to power through it to see faster results. You need to remember though that your body needs to adjust and will need rest days and even more importantly it’ll be hard to keep up the pretense for a long time. Ease your way into a new routine, keep a healthy balance between exercise and the rest of your responsibilities and you’ll find it easier to keep it up!
- Focus on why you’re doing it. I want to point out that I’m not running to lose weight, which I think my fella was initially concerned about! I’m a healthy weight already, and I know having skinny legs and a thigh gap won’t suit the body I have, so I’ve made it clear to myself and to the fella that this is purely for fitness and maybe adding a little toning to the squidgier areas whilst still enjoying all the sweet treats I allow myself to have! Also, my metabolism is not what it used to be, it started to vanish at the age of 22 (or my appetite grew, who knows) so although I’m naturally slim, if I don’t start doing something to burn off the calories now and start gaining weight, I’ll find it harder to lose it later in my life. Another reason I want to be fitter is so that in 5, 10, 20 years I don’t look back and wish I’d started exercising more at my current age, when I had my whole life ahead of me?! Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so why not preempt it? I’m technically at my strongest physically so I should be able to push myself hard at this age in order to benefit me in the future.
- Think about how you can motivate yourself. I like running to music, so ages ago I’d made a running playlist on my iPod Shuffle (this is a good little device because it clips onto your clothes and can be easily hidden, think about safety if you’re running alone outside) and not I’ve started running again, I’ve re-discovered songs that I’d forgotten about. When I’m feeling tired, I like to run to the end of the song I’m listening to… and then the next one if it’s good. It keeps me pushes me to keep going for just a few more minutes, which works wonders when you realise you’ve ran for a couple of songs extra when you initially thought about stopping! I also use a running app Nike+ Running, which helps me to log my runs and makes me look forward to improving my stats for the next one! You can often add your friends and compete or share the info on social media.
- You will actually feel great for it! I don’t know if this is the biggest understatement, or if I just wasn’t aware of this, but after I’ve been for a run, I am filled with so. much. energy! And then I sleep better at night, which is a huge bonus for me because I love sleep! I feel that my skin is better (sweating out toxins?) and I kinda like the achey-ness the day after a run – it makes me feel like it’s all working, which of course it is! I can’t wait to see the benefits in a few months time!
If you’re looking for an excuse to exercise, then just pick any of the above points, you only need to commit to one. I find signing up for an event (like I did with the 10K) it gives you a goal to work towards and keeps you in focus when you think about skipping a workout. Just choose whatever you feel like committing to and give yourself plenty of time to train! I’ll be back soon with more updates on my running, and how I’m feeling about it!! What are you guys doing to get fit for 2015?