‘I have sore knees. I don’t run or jump. I have to be really careful.’ That was 15 months ago. We have now fast forwarded to ‘There is a Couch to 5k running group starting at lunchtimes and I thought that could maybe give it a go’. Can you feel my smile? Does that inspire you? What I want to show you is that you can do more than you think and it is not as hard as you imagine to get started.
Moving past the limits we place on ourselves
When you start training you will build strength, fitness and confidence which in turn enables you to see the possibilities opening up in front of you. We all have a picture in our heads of what we can and can’t do. We place limits on ourselves and for the most part don’t look beyond these. I love to see a client doing something that wouldn’t have been possible at the start. To see the shift is magic.
You can be the person that can run
Another client made my day by saying that I have shown her that she can be that person that does things that she would never have considered before. She saw others running but had never thought that she could do it too. That is the magic that comes with movement. You start to feel better, you take a step forwards and your perspective shifts a little. It is so much more than a physical change (although that is vital to the shift). Strength changes you physically and mentally and opens you up to new possibilities.
Running is simply you moving your body. We over complicate what it involves. We were built to run. We no longer run to hunt for food or to escape from a tiger but we have not changed fundamentally from the man that did! We have stopped doing it.
We all need to move more and running is a great way to do that. It is ever more inclusive with Parkruns having transformed a Saturday morning for thousands of people across the world. The Race for Life, Colour Dash and other charity events have inspired so many people to get involved and to have a go. You stand on that start line and feel part of something so much bigger. There are thousands of people doing exactly the same as you. The diversity of ages, sizes and abilities is heartwarming. No-one cares what you look like or how fast you will go. You all have a common purpose.
We all start somewhere
What tends to happen is that it starts with a beginners plan to run 5k and then builds from there. You run longer and then faster. It is one of the few things that you can do as an adult where you can see clear progress and feel the satisfaction from the effort that you have made. We won’t all run marathons or break records but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy running or love the way that it makes you feel.
It is good to set yourself a stretching goal
I find running harder than any other type of exercise (well other than anything involving hand to eye coordination). I have struggled to see myself as a runner but I do know that once I get on with it I quickly build back up and see progress. I challenge myself and tick the boxes as I work through the plan. I am not fast and I have to work hard but it makes me feel good. I feel strong and my body flows. I zone out and clear my head. My bones and muscles get stronger and my heart is pumping hard.
But I can’t run……
I hear so many ‘reasons’ as to why you can’t run. The excuses usually focus on sore joints, not wanting to feel or look stupid or an ancient injury. As with any exercise you will need to build up gradually and take the time to stretch and recover post run. I would also recommend some strength training as part of your plan to balance and support your body. There are running groups that you can join and plans you can download to guide you through. The NHS Couch to 5k is a great starter plan – you can listen to it as you run and it tells you when to walk and run in each session. If you are already a runner then you will need to keep mixing it up to see improvements. You can access my Run Series to give you some sessions to do this.
Set a date to focus your training
Nothing beats a date on the calendar to get you focused. I’m doing the Great North Run on the 9th September and I’ve already switched my focus to a combination of run and swim rather than the pure swim focus of the last few months. I will be running for Bloodwise (formerly the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society) and you can follow the link to support Anneliese and I in our run. It will be her first Half Marathon and I am so excited to be returning to the Great North Run. I ran it in 2011 as my first half marathon as I was terrified hardly looking up from the road in front of me. I am determined to enjoy it this time and to soak up the atmosphere!
I would love you to set yourself a goal. You need to take action to make change. The first step could be to run or walk a 5k or it could be to hill walk. Make a commitment, put a date on the calendar and get started. You won’t look back and who knows where it might lead!
More resources to get you started
I know that it can be daunting to start something new so here are some of my blogs that you might find useful as you get organised. It is really important to find the right footwear so here is my Quick Guide to buying the right training shoes for you.
I hope that you have found these resources useful and you can become part of the supportive fit4evermore community in 3 easy steps. I look forward to getting to know you better and to supporting your fitness journey.