Over the past 2 months I have been running a lot more frequently. I know try to run at least 5 times a week. I generally run 1 to 2 miles each time. Not far I know and to be honest I am painfully slow. I run mostly in the evenings during the week and in the morning at weekends. Sometimes I will mix it up and go to the gym where I will go on the treadmill and have a go at some weights.
As I said I have been doing this for a few months, in fact you may remember my previous blog posts on the subject. Naively I thought my body shape would change I would be all slim and lithe like by now. No chance I’m still a porker! I have discovered that you have to adjust you diet if you want to get slimmer, which is a shame, I am quite partial to a bag of crisps and the odd chocolate bar. Oh I will just have to be that fat bloke in sports gear.
Anyway I digress, the main reason for this blog is to describe how I now feel after running regularly for the past few months. I have mentioned before the mindfulness I experience when I run. Well now that has spilled over into everyday life. When I feel myself getting stressed out by events or thoughts I can now in most cases switch on this mindful state when I run. Even though I don’t run for long, so therefore I am only mindful for short periods everyday, that regular practice of mindfulness everyday allows me to employ the technique when I need to.
I will try to explain how it works for me. When I am running in generally hurts, mainly because I am in my mid forties and overweight, so my joints object quite strongly to moving this lump around at a greater speed. I also find that for the first couple of minutes my breathing is all over the place. So that is where I start I listen to my breathing. I don’t try to regulate it or slow it down, I just listen to it. I allow myself to be breathless for the first 2 minutes. I am then able to relax and work with my body rather than fighting it. After about 2 minutes my breathing settles down and gets into a regular rhythm. I can then use that breathing as a reference point along with the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. These are places I can bring myself back to say when my knees and ankles start hurting or when my thoughts wonder to unhelpful areas. I will also take in my surroundings, I notice the trees, the colour of the sky, cars passing by, the feel of the wind, rain or sunshine on my face. My mind quickly relaxes and allows me to experience what is happening to me now, rather than what has already happened or what might happen in the future. However if positive memories or positive plans of the future enter my head I do allow them to linger for a while, but I will always come back to the hear and now to help me through the run. (Remember I am only running for a few minutes so it does not take up big chunks of my day. Can you give up at most an hour 5 times a week).
Now I use that technique 5 times a week I find it so easy to bring myself into the moment when it all gets to much. As a result Foggy now has a much reduced impact on my life.
So if you are struggling with your mood, think about taking part in some exercise and employing mindfulness.
Don’t forget I am still offering free coaching sessions providing you contact be before 5pm on 1st August 2017
As you know for the past few months I have been trying to improve my fitness and recently set myself a goal to reduce my weight and increase my fitness. You may also remember that initially I used a couch to 10k app on my phone that started me off walking for a minute and running for a minute. If like me you are no stranger to the chippie, and are carrying a few more pounds than you should this is the perfect way to start. It gradually builds your stamina and confidence in running. Trust me I was nearly 19 stone when I started running, so if I can run so can you. Using that app I got to a point where I could run 5km.
My aim initially was to go out running 2-3 times a week. This is where the problem lay. Running 5km took me around 40 minutes. Now I enjoyed my 40 minutes of escape from the world, when I got out there. The problem was getting out there, nearly an hour out of my day 3 times a week was proving to be difficult. Running just was not as important in my life as I wanted it to be, so if others things cropped up they would take priority. Most weeks I would only manage to go out for a run once a week and that simply was just not enough to make any difference. I was starting to feel disheartened, and was on the verge of giving up altogether.
A chance conversation about running in general changed everything. We were talking about running and how it can change your mental and physical health for the better. We also discussed the difficulty in investing the time needed to go running regularly. Then they said that they had been advised to run a mile everyday, as it can have quite an impact on your fitness levels. Now they said that they found it more difficult to commit time everyday. All the way home after our conversation I kept thinking about this mile a day. I thought it would be easier to commit as running a mile had to be less time-consuming than 5k and was not as hard. Effectively I would be chunking a 10k+ over a week.
So I gave it a go. My first mile took me about 11 minutes plus 2-3 minutes warm down walk. I was out of the house for about 20 minutes. That was 3 weeks ago and so far I have run 18 miles. I don’t run 7 days a week, I always give myself a day off. On the weekend I go for a run in the morning and during the week I run in the evening. As with anything some days are better than others, but if I am not feeling it and struggling it doesn’t matter, because I am only running a mile, most days that is 3 songs on my 30s-40s mix tape. My time is getting gradually faster not down to 10 minutes and 25 seconds, my weight loss has started to increase again and I feel so much better. On top of that I have about 15 minutes to myself which I use as part of my hour of happiness. All that for very minimal effort, and I am now invested in the run, it has become a vital part of my day and is not given up for anything not even a night out or the resulting hangover.
If you feel inspired and want to kick-start your goals get in touch and we can sort out a plan that will suit you.
Last week I attended a coaching masterclass through work run by Andy Gilbert a coach of high repute. It was a truly inspiring day, and has given me so many ideas to take into my own coaching.
Not only did it give me inspiration to coach others but also to coach myslelf. During the day I set myself a new goal and looked at some of the goals I have already set for myself, just to check in with my commitment to achieve them.
So I have set a goal of writing a novel over the next year, as well as to continue to work towards being fitter and healthier both mentally and physically. I have set very specific goals with timescales. For instance I will have a finished manuscript in my hand on the 4th May 2018, to achieve this I have set myself a series of performance goals along the way. So I have started putting together a story drawing on the work I did writing my story of my life, and brainstorming some other ideas. Next is to develop an outline of the story. That is to come over the coming weeks.
With regards being fitter and healthier I have revisited my level of commitment to running. Over the past couple of weeks I have questioned why I wanted to continue running. I have pushed myself to get out there and run. I use an app that gradually increases the amount of time running, I am now up to 28 minutes, and the last 2 runs I have started to enjoy, during the run itself. This is quite remarkable as I hated the discomfort I felt in my back and legs and never enjoyed the running. What kept me going was the feeling of elation and achievement after the run. But now I have managed to get to a place in my head that makes me feel calm and contented. I have tried mindfulness exercises in the past with some success, but this time it feels so effortless and natural during my runs. My runs have turned into something I want to do to relax and de-stress. Running now gives me something worthwhile rather than just sore legs.
However the problem I have is my food intake, my level of commitment to weight loss is some what suspect and I do need to re-examine why I want to lose weight. It has to be a reason that is more compelling than chocolate. Wish me luck.
This week has been a positive, optimistic week, I have coached a lot, been running and started to enjoy. City got relagated but that has been the only blot on the week and I finished it off this evening cooking a barbecue in the sunshine. Tomorrow brings a new week of opportunity.