Sunday, 14 August 2016

Let's Talk | My Fitness Journey

The last thing I ever imagined that would get my juices going and inspired to write my first blog post in a while, is fitness. If you know me well enough, you’ll know exercise and I are not (or should I say were not) friends. I was always the girl sloping to the PE changing rooms, hoping for rain so heavy it would surely be cancelled, but today I seem to have found a new lease of life. I blame my best friend, well blame's a little harsh - my best friend has been on an incredible journey over the past 18 months, from weight loss to fitness, to discovering a new passion for competing and even a new career, and I guess watching her soar to such great heights, rubbed off on me, woke up a competitive side I never knew I had and inspired me to take up my own challenge. 

I'd always liked the idea of running, it's a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, it's free and accessible to do and it doesn't take that much out of your day to complete. Earlier this year I had been training for a 14-mile sponsored walk in aid of The Royal Marsden and it got me thinking how much quicker it would be if I could run - ok maybe not 14 miles, but any sort of distance, say a 5K. But how was I going to do this? I'd never run before, unless you count those 'attempts' during athletics week at school, and after trying on the treadmill one evening and struggling after a minute it baffled me as to how I would ever get up to 30 minutes of straight running. I needed something to motivate me and keep me focussed and so I took the plunge and booked myself a 5K race, giving me 3 months to train and get there. My goal was simple; I wanted to run it without stopping, no matter how long that took. 

I'd heard of the 'Couch to 5K' app through the grapevine, but it wasn't available on the app store when I went to download, instead I went for '5K Runner', which is an app that has a programme of 8 weeks, building up distance and time over three runs per week. It began fairly light, with a 5 minute warm up walk, followed by 6x 1 minute runs with 1.5 minute walk intervals in between. I began my training in the gym on the treadmill, but by week 5 when I was getting into 8-10 minute runs, I was getting bored and felt like time was dragging as I was constantly clock watching. I took my running outside and it completely changed everything, I felt more engaged and inspired with what I was doing and it made going for a run that little bit easier. 

I finally hit 5k without stopping around a week before my race and I felt great - don't get me wrong, the mental struggle was real. I can't tell you the battles I had with myself inside my head, and still do. I found rewarding myself with something a good way to get through - at the moment i'm addicted to Gilmore Girls so it would be "just 10 more minutes and you can binge watch on Netflix". Unfortunately my race never happened, I had booked it on the Ride London day, without realising at the time and the trains were all messed up, so even though I was up at 6am and ready to go, it didn't happen. I was extremely disappointed, even devastated and that's when I realised I actually quite like running. Shocker, I know. I still went out that Sunday and ran 5.5k in just over 31 minutes - a new PB. It felt great and I felt proud - it was a challenge I set out and I achieved it. Me being me and with a new found competitiveness, I have been keeping up running, trying to get out 2-3 times a week and I push myself every time. I have a new race booked on 3rd September, because that medal is still calling and I'm hoping to do it in 28 minutes - my last run was 28.56, so I hope I can achieve this!

It's funny what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. 

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