I am back on track with my goal, of running the Hull 10k in June.
Being on the cuddly side of large, having confidence is a considerable factor when it comes to running.
The confidence is 2 fold. There is the confidence of being out in public in sports wear, looking like you are about to collapse in a pool of sweat gasping for air. Then there is the confidence in my fitness and ability to run any kind of distance.
Now back in November I was running 5km 3 times a week. So I can do it, I can have the confidence to run a good distance in public in shorts. After all not 18 months ago myself and Lisa stumbled round the Great North Run in front of thousands of people. The problem with confidence is though that it can leave you. When you stop doing something, or when something happens, that changes your mood.
Because I had a break from running for December and now most of January my fitness level dropped, and my mood dropped. Then I felt guilty that I wasn’t keeping fit and running like I said I would. Then I tried to start back up, without much planning and thought. So when I did go for a run a few weeks ago it was hard work and that took me by surprise as it was harder than I thought it would be. That knocked my confidence and dropped my mood further.
So what is different this time? Well I have planned for the run to hurt and for me to feel like s fat blob running in treacle. You know both the run on Sunday and today were hard but not as bad as I expected. I did feel self conscious but not as bad as I thought, I also made sure I ran when there was less people. I have also set myself a slow conservative regime slowly building the distance I run, but with the permission to run further sooner if I feel confident enough. So yes it hurt yes I feel a twit in my running gear, but in my mind I have the image of me in June running 10k and feeling so proud of my achievement. In fact I am feeling all emotional writing it.
I know I will falter again, each time I will re-examine my goal and my plan and keep doing that until I achieve my goal.
How are you doing with your goals?
Since completing the 50km challenge in Movember I have done very little exercise.
I have noticed that this has had a detrimental effect on my mental health. My resilience had been much reduced. Foggy has become a regular companion on my commute to work and he has hung about filling my heads with negative thoughts.
Now couple that with the self imposed need to appear positive and happy to everyone. This had been exacerbated during December with starting a new role and it being Christmas. To me that meant that I must be positive at all costs and not show any frailty. Trying to be unerringly optimistic when you actually think you are a useless piece of shit is quite exhausting. I had a couple brief runs but never really sustained it.
Trying to break the viscous cycle is not always easy, and it is all too easy to find reasons why you can’t break that cycle of self pity and feeling so low. The thing is when you find the right excuse, you start to feel guilty which confirms your self-loathing.
This weekend I decided to give it a go again. I went for a short 1 mile run on Saturday. The feeling it produced was quite profound. As I started to plan how I was going to return to running up to 5km again. I could now see that the feelings I was experiencing are transient. I went for another 1 mile run today with a plan to run a further 5 miles over the next week, then slowly increase the distance I run in one go. I started giving myself the opportunity to succeed rather than fail. I feel so much more positive.
Now during the runs I felt like my lungs were going to explode, and Christmas really had taken its toll. But very soon after the runs I felt incredible. The feelings exercise evoke are quite amazing. I feel so much more positive, the anxiety in the pit of my stomach is going and so is the tension in my jaw. I feel happy again.
If you are feeling blue, or useless, or cannot see anything positive in your life, then consider exercise, it is remarkable. I know that all I have to do to pick up my mood is go for a run. It makes me feel safe again.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, music plays an important part in my life and how I motivate myself.
This is all the more important when I am running. I am not exactly a natural runner, my default position is most definitely seated therefore it is always a challenge, and as someone once said running is always a series of arguments between my joints that want to stop and my mind that wants to carry on. So I need music to be playing to give me a soundtrack and help me get into a positive mindset to ensure my mind wins the argument.
I have recently started listening to new music. That is songs that have just been released and not necessarily what I would choose if I made a conscious choice of picking it out. I let apple music choose a playlist of the latest alternative releases. So every time I go for a run there is always at least 1 or 2 new exciting surprises. Putting on my music before my run has become integral to the whole routine of running and actually I now look forward to my run to hear something new and exciting as well as some songs that have become familiar. Below is a list of some of my favourite songs currently on the playlist. These are the songs that instantly take away the pain and add another spring to my step. If you get chance give them a listen. We can all to often get stuck in a rut and not try anything new. Just think listening to something new might just inspire you to do something amazing.
My Positive Playlist:
Dear Life – Beck
Nothing to Find – LCD Soundsystem
Domesticated Animals – Queens Of The Stone Age
Plimsoll Punks – Alvvays
War is Coming – Car Seat Headrest
New York – St Vincent
Burn it Down – Daughter
Desire – Everything Everything
Countdown – King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
Can’t Play It Cool – Sheer Mag
It Came to Me – The Barr Brothers
Vampire Again – Marlon Williams
Violet – Districts
Thomas County Law – Iron and Wine
Just Like That – Girl Ray
People and Their Dogs – Willie J Healey
Guilty Party – The National
Evil Has Landed – Queens of The Stone Age
Enjoy, and feel free to share your own.
Well that title sort of sums up my week really. Not exactly miserable, but not motivated enough really to do anything.
From a health and fitness point of view nothing seems to be working fast enough for me this week. I am not really losing any weight and I don’t feel any fitter really. As a consequence this has knocked my confidence and motivation. I have really had to drag myself out for a run this week, and when out I have given up quicker than I should. I would like to say my diet has suffered too, but in all honesty I my diet remains as shit as it was before I started trying to get fit again.
Essentially I have felt sorry for myself all week, not really achieving much. The thing is self pity can spiral if left unchecked. By the middle of the week I was starting to feel bad about not really doing much, and I started to be over critical of myself, so I didn’t go for a run on Thursday and again yesterday, with ‘what’s the point, it’s not working….’ ringing in my ears.
Yesterday was the critical point, this was potentially a point where I could just give up. If I continued to punish myself for being unmotivated I would definitely given up. Last night it would have been so easy to give up telling myself that I can never finish anything and quietly go back to being a couch potato. Instead I let myself off feeling this way. I said to myself that it is ok to be in a cannot be arsed mood every now and then. I then asked myself, ‘what are you going to do about it then?’ So this morning I have a plan to continue what I was doing keep running regularly, and gradually increase the distance I am running. Something that I have been doing. Instantly I felt more positive and relaxed. I have to remember I am 46 and overweight, so I cannot expect to run 5km in under 30 minutes. But I know I can run 3km comfortably at the moment. The one thing I am going to address is my diet. This is something that I have not tackled and if I am honest I have probably neglected slightly thinking that just exercise would solve the problem (this was based purely on hopeful thinking not scientific evidence). This is my blind spot, so I am currently developing a list of possibilities of how I am going to achieve this. On the face of it, it is simple (reduce input and increase output). The issue is that my reason to do it so far does not outweigh the enjoyment of chocolate, crisps, chips, anything fatty and stodgy (bloody hell I feel hungry now). Watch this space I feel a working plan will be in place very soon.
Motivation will fluctuate when you are attempting to reach your goal. It is important that you relax and accept it as a natural part of the change process. Just ask yourself how you are going to overcome this. It is always good to re-examine your reason for making a change to your lifestyle as it may need revising.
If you wish to explore making a change to your lifestyle get in touch for a free consultation.
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.