Tuesday, 28 August 2012

New beginnings

8 weeks ago I embarked on a journey.  I set a goal to run 5km in 8 weeks.  I want to be very clear - at that point I was not a runner in any way shape or form.

I weighed 98.8kg, ate poorly, slept poorly and my exercise was usually bike rides and walking.

On that day, I decided a lifestyle change was in order.

I began with small steps.  I downloaded two apps that I have found extremely helpful in my fitness and weight loss journey.  The first - My Fitness Pal - is a calorie tracker and fitness diary.  I record all of my food intake and exercise output each day.  I don't cheat.  If I have a bad day, that's in there.  I really am committed to being honest with myself.

The second application was Couch to 5k - an exercise regime that coaxes you out of your comfy lounge chair and out onto the road.  It starts out as an interval running program and progresses in gradual steps until you are running for 35 min uninterrupted - around the 5k mark.

Tonight I ran my first 5km ever and I'm feeling pretty chuffed with myself.  So what have I learned in that 8 weeks of running training?

  1. I like running.  Because the program is a gradual build up of stamina, I found it easy to stay motivated and continue pushing myself.  Running clears my head after a long day.  It makes me tired, but I've never regretted any of my nights spent running.
  2. Self-belief is a big part of success.  At the beginning of each run I would think through how I would tackle the run ahead. And at the end of each run I would congratulate myself on getting through the task.  
  3. Equipment is important - the right shoes, a good bra (ok, that's for the ladies in most cases) and comfy clothes can make or break a run.
  4. I can push through the pain threshold.  When it starts to hurt, I can push through that pain and continue running.  That has been a weakness on previous running regimes, but this time I was determined to push through.
  5. It's important to allow the body time to rest, recover and rebuild.  I only run every other day, and mix it up with cycling, walking and Zumba.  Last time I pushed it too fast and too soon, resulting in leg pain, foot pain, back pain and, you guessed it, I didn't finish the program.
So where to from here?  I have my first 5km twilight run on Saturday 22nd September.  At the end of that run, I'll evaluate next steps.  At this point I'm thinking 10k is my next goal.  The one after that is isn't set in stone either, but I can see something in the distance - just not sure what it is just yet.  

So if you, like me, are ready for some change in life, find yourself something you like to do and get out there and do it.  Surround yourself with positive people who want to see you succeed and who will help you achieve that success.  Talk about it, be accountable, and most importantly enjoy what you do - it's easier to stay motivated when you're doing something you like and ultimately love!

Good luck!