I have always admired people that run: they make it look so effortless! The thought of ‘me time’, escaping and hitting the open road seemed so appealing. Often when I was on another mission to get fit I would come up with the brilliant idea of going for a run, but this rarely worked out well for me, it definitely would not go to plan! I would get about 100m from the house and I would already start to feel like I was dying…breathless, gasping for air, doubled over with a stitch…so I would eventually give in and walk. I honestly wondered how people could do it! I explained to Jay that I must have asthma because I felt like I couldn’t breathe and he proceeded to tell me that I was just really unfit. Brilliant, cheers then! I would try a couple more times, but because I hated it I eventually gave up and I was back to square one.
I remember the trigger that changed it all for me. It was after having my second baby I attended a Fit Club on our local green, it was a circuits-based class at 8pm. This was perfect timing as I could get the children into bed and although I was tired it seemed to fit with our busy schedule. I really enjoyed it and afterwards a few of the participants went for a run around the green, a distance of 1 mile. I just pretended that I had to get home, but secretly I didn’t want to admit that I wouldn’t even get halfway before having to throw up. But I made it my target: I got up every morning at 6am before anyone else in the house was awake and I practiced. Just doing a little bit at a time, running for 1 minute, walking for 1 minute and I eventually started being able to run for longer. I seriously didn’t enjoy it at first but I was determined to run 1 mile, and I was encouraged by the fact that I could see improvement, so I kept going. Once I was able to do a mile I then joined in at Fit Club and although it wasn’t a race I was faster than everyone else…it turns out that all along I had been running too fast as I had no one to pace myself against! With this knowledge I slowed down my speed and quickly improved to be able to do 2 miles, and soon more. Eventually I was able to run 5km, something I had never even dreamed of. I started to enjoy running and I found someone as nutty as me, my lovely friend Vikki, who offered to join me in the mornings a couple of times a week. It’s great when you have a friend meeting you as you can’t press snooze, otherwise you would stand them up at 6 in the morning (which isn’t cool) and we always chatted and had a laugh, such a brilliant start to the day. We gave up over the winter months when it was icy and we still haven’t got back into a routine but we will be starting again! I’m no marathon runner and I wouldn’t say it was a passion, give me weight training any day. But I think it is important to mix up your training and add a bit of cardio for general fitness.
Another thing that shifted was my mindset. Instead of telling myself ‘I’m rubbish at running’, I started telling myself ‘Come on Lucy, it’s only a mile, people run ultra marathons, you can do a mile, your body is capable, come on!’. It was surprising how much this helped. It’s true when they say ‘whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right’ (Henry Ford). So tell yourself you can!
My main messages are:
- Set a specific target or goal that really means something to you and motivates you.
- Then make a plan and stick to it consistently. Doing a little bit each day that will get you closer to that goal and don’t give up.
- Change your mindset