Lockdown has got me doing some crazy things, one of those being running a half marathon last week. Yep, a half bloomin marathon. It is hard to believe that happened if you know me, as I’ve always claimed “I’m just not a runner” and moaned every time I had to run a 5km (or any distance to be honest) for the past 10 years.
I have never stuck with a consistent running routine as I thought it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t built to run and I was never going to enjoy it. Well, low and behold that has all changed. When the government said we could only go outdoors to exercise during lockdown, I decided I was going to pick up running and use it to explore my local area. What started off two months ago as a few 5km jogs has lead to me running a half marathon on a Tuesday and a new 5km PR on a Thursday. Who even am I?!
It has been a whirlwind two-month journey and despite still being a novice I have definitely learned a few lessons along the way, and I hope by sharing them I can encourage you to lace up your trainers and get out for a run!
Your Perception is Everything.
I always thought I wasn’t “a runner”. I told myself excuses – that I was too tall, too lanky and that it didn’t come naturally to me. The truth is that I was just a beginner and that we can all become runners. When you start doing any new physical activity it is going to be uncomfortable and challenging, but with persistence I promise you will hate it less and perhaps even like it – you just need to stick with it.
Consistency is Key.
Following on from the previous point, consistency was the game changer for me. For years I had thrown a run into my fitness routine here and there when I couldn’t get to the gym, maybe once a week or every couple of weeks. Running never really became easier and I never improved my pace. However, as soon as lockdown hit and I started running a few times a week that all changed. Within a month my pace went from 5.45-6 minutes per km to around 5-5.30 minutes. That gave me a fire under my ass to keep progressing. I started pushing myself to run a little faster and a little further, which was extremely uncomfortable but it worked. Now two months in I can comfortably run long distances (10,15 and even 20km) and my pace has increased to 4.45-5.15 minutes per km. All it took was consistency and the drive to push me out of my comfort zone.
It Is Fun To Be A Newbie.
I have been in the fitness industry for 7 years. I feel like I have hit a point with my usual workouts where my progress is more slow and steady. However, with running my progress is coming thick and fast – I am making so called “newbie gains”. And damn, it is nice to make progress again. It is motivating to push my pace, to increase my distance and to analyse my splits. I feel like I have a whole new set of goals that I never had access to before and they’re making me excited to get out and run. I haven’t been this buzzing about exercise in a long time, and it is refreshing to feel this way!
Fitness Is Transferable.
I definitely believe that my leg strength workouts, core training and HIIT conditioning has helped me to progress with my running. They are all complimentary elements of fitness. My core is stable and engaged, my leg muscles and joints are strong from lifting weights and can better handle the impact of running, and my HIIT training supports my lung capacity and heart health. I genuinely don’t believe I would have progressed so quickly with my running without these other forms of training.
Affirmations Are A Game Changer.
I already used affirmations when I did intense gym classes, but incorporating them when running changes the game. By affirmations I mean saying positive statements to yourself such as “I am strong, I am capable. I am powerful. I can do hard things. My body can do this. This is easy for me.” In the moment when your body wants to give up and your mind is begging you to stop but you know you can keep going. Using these can give you the boost you need to keep going. I know it sounds cheesy but trust me when I say they really do work!
I am only two months into consistently running but I’ve definitely caught the bug, I hope to keep it in my training regime into the future. Let’s see what lessons I learn as this journey continues!