Updated: Jan 11
I'm trying to think back to when I first thought that I wanted to make running part of my life and I think it's always been there. I would have loved to have been a fast runner at school.
Being independent, strong and physically able has always been important to me; think it comes from my upbringing. I’ve always loved the outdoors. Walks are great but living in the barely rolling Essex countryside it’s not exactly a workout. There aren't many hills near me and I don't have time to walk for hours everyday. So this is what has brought me to running. I've tried before but have never managed to keep it up or to run far. I did train for a 10k 10 years ago with a friend using the ‘sofa to 10k’ training program which worked but I stopped as soon as the event was over.
Motivation and how to get it.
I’ve been running now most days for the last 4 ½ months. There were 3 things that got me started. Firstly, it began with me buying a gift for a friend. One of my favourite authors , Haruki Murakami, wrote a book “what I talk about when I talk about running”. I’ve bought it for a couple of friends who run and was about to do the same again when I realised it’s me that wants to read it so I bought it for myself. It’s an interesting read but what I got from it most was that running was an important constant in Murakami’s life, something he was committed to doing every day. Consistency isn’t one of my strengths, I often start things and then let them wain as other things take over. I felt consistency was a good thing for me to aim for and having it in one thing might help other aspects of my life.
Secondly to support this, I’ve heard a number of sports people say you have to make going for, a run, a swim or going to the gym a habit, time table it into your life so you don’t ‘think’ about whether or not you’re going to do it, you just do. I find that thinking about things often takes up precious time so that there’s not enough time to actually do it. I'm a procrastinator.
Thirdly, my inspiration for how far I was going to run each day came from a Facebook post about a school that introduced a mile a day run for the whole school everyday. It would happen at a different time everyday, a bell would ring and off the whole school would go! The school found improved pupil focus, fitness and less obesity three of the positive outcomes and the children loved it. I thought if all those kids and teachers could do it, so could I.
So my plan was to run a mile a day every day and to be happy about it. To start with I would stop and walk when I got out of breath or tired until I recovered my breathing and then continue. After three weeks of doing this I became very disheartened as I was still having to stop to walk as I was still getting out of breath. Luckily I kept going and in the 4th week my breathing just stayed steady throughout the mile run. This really motivated me to keep going. I didn’t realised at the time what a turning point this was. In the 5th week I tried running 2 miles and did it without a problem.
For the last 3 ½ months running I've been running 2 miles a day. I have had a couple of holidays when I didn’t run and some days it’s not possible or I’ve chosen a long walk instead. As I said consistency isn’t a strength of mine. But I still have it in my mind that I run two miles a day every day which means I’ll do it at least 5 or 6 days a week and I’m very happy with that.
If running is something you'd like to do but it seems to allude you as it did me, don't give up on it. From my experience making it a daily occurrence, something you plan into your day as much as eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth, then you'll have a better chance of keeping it going. Also have manageable expectations of yourself, start small, be realistic and very patient with yourself in your ability to develop, there's no rush.
A big thank you to Malcolm Balk for suggesting I write my running journey up as a blog post, I never would have thought about it. I have attended two of his one day running workshops as part of my Alexander Technique teacher training, again secretly wishing to start running. The workshops really helped my confidence knowing that I had a good foundation to start with. For more info on Malcolm Balk, the running coach, go to: http://theartofrunning.com