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March 31, 2017
How long is a marathon? When I started this journey, I had no idea how long an actual marathon was. Oh sure, I technically knew how long a marathon was. It’s 42 kilometres.
But I never really understood how long it actually was, when you’re trying to cover that distance with your jaunty-trotting feet. I was just all up in my airy-fairy head, thinking “oh, running a marathon sounds like a good goal, it’s pretty far, it will be quite hard, I should set myself a challenge and go ahead and do that.”
My head is a nice place to live sometimes, because I am INSANELY naive.
A marathon is huge. It’s not just huge – it’s fair to say that running a marathon is DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. When I started, I could barely run three kilometres without wanting to die, then dig up my own corpse and kill myself for trying to run in the first place. But everyone reassured me, if I trained properly, if I kept it up and I built up slowly, then I could do it.
I understand now why the people that I spoke to about it that weren’t fitness nuts just looked at me like I’m crazy.
Because it’s hard.
And I understand why the fit people were all serious and encouraging about it.
Because it IS serious and you need SERIOUS ENCOURAGEMENT.
It’s been a rough month…
This month was very grim starting out. I had a few minor niggles that prevented me from running for very long – an old ankle flare-up, and a weird hip problem that I get from lugging my hefty two-year-old daughter around.
So I could only train in fits and starts, and I wasn’t running any more than 6 kilometres at a time. And then, because I obviously wasn’t working hard enough anyway, I decided to take a holiday to visit my family in New Zealand.
Or, what I thought would be a holiday, maybe punctuated by a couple of short runs, just to keep my legs in condition. Little did I know I was about to fall into the clutches of an exercise sadist.
My sister Verity knew about the marathon training and, trying to be helpful, she entered me into a 6.7 kilometre fun-run, which was due to start about half an hour after I landed in New Zealand.
That’s right, I was supposed to run a race, after two airports and four hours on a plane with a couple of toddlers who used me as a climbing frame the whole time.
As it turns out, it was quite nice. I fronted up to the start line expecting to die, but the terrible circumstances of the day actually worked out in my favour.
Until that moment, I’d spent the whole day sitting on my bum, so to be on my feet and pounding forward felt amazing. I’d had hours of toddler-wrangling and barely had a moment without a tiny body crushing my own, so to run free, unimpeded, was heaven. I’d spent the best part of the day answering ‘why’ questions and singing nursery rhymes, so to listen to Beyonce loudly extorting me to Get In Formation was just exhilarating.
I enjoyed it, I ran the whole way and I felt like I could have easily kept on going.
And the fitness just keeps coming
Because of the whole marathon-training thing, my sadist sister was under the impression that I am a Very Fit And Active Person, so she roped me in to doing her latest fitness craze with her, which is climbing enormous mountains.
Fast. Actually running up them.
I guess you could describe it as trail running, but it was practically trail climbing. It was Cardio City. And I HATE cardio.
The last one we did was 5.6km up 800 metre elevation, and it was tough. Luckily for me, after a few days of forcing me to do climb after climb, Verity fell off her roof while trying to clear the gutters during a storm and got pretty banged up, so I got a couple of days break.
But I guess I got something out of it, because once I got home and started to train again, something weird happened.
The Lazy Girl finds her sweet spot
I don’t hate running anymore.
It could be all the cardio that the exercise sadist made me do.
It could also be because I’ve found the perfect time of the day for me to run. Before, I was trying to drag myself out of bed at 6am to do it, which was horrendous. I’m not an early morning person. I can get up if I have to, but the idea of going for a big run in the morning, then doing a big full day of toddler-wrangling was like signing up for a full day of torture.
The thrill of being able to run out the door as soon as I’m done being a child-servant is addicting.
And I love running at night. The twilight is as beautiful to me as the sunrise is to all those mental fitness-nut earlybirds. The dark of night is exciting and otherworldly. And yes, I stick to the tourist spots around the beach where there’s tons of people around, so I’m not worried about my safety.
I’ve found my sweet spot, and I had no trouble doing my first 10 kilometre training run last Saturday. It wasn’t that hard. It can only get better from here.
Next issue: Who Wants To See a Photo of my Thigh Chafe?
March 20, 2017
Finding motivation can often be far easier than staying motivated, especially when life starts to get in the way. Battling a hectic schedule, juggling work life balance, changes in weather and competing priorities can so easily unravel us on the journey to achieving a goal. So arm yourself with the next 7 tips to stay motivated.
Ever heard of attitude is everything? The way you see the world, including your goal or task has the ability to make or break you. When hitting a motivational slump, try viewing the pursuit of your goal as a privilege. Think about it – it really is a privilege to embark on a journey of personal growth. There are people out there in the world who would give anything to be in your position. Remind yourself this is a choice, but you’re lucky enough to even have this choice in the first place.
Tip 8: Connect to your big WHY
Remind yourself why you are doing this. If it’s a weight loss goal, it might be to remind yourself that you’re losing weight for health, to feel confident in a bikini or to have more energy to play with your children. If you give up or sabotage your efforts, you won’t be any closer to the big reason you started. Find the deepest reason inside yourself as to why you want this. This is your driving force. This is what makes you do things on purpose. When you connect to this driving force, it provides you with a unique form of energy and inner motivation.
Tip 9: Cut yourself some slack
But not too much slack. Learn when to give yourself a break and learn when you need to give yourself some tough love (or concrete to harden the f**k up).
Tip 10: Squash limiting beliefs
Seriously – human beings have such phenomenal potential and yet, we continually hold ourselves back in life. If there’s a will, there’s a way!
Tip 11: We’re emotional
Emotions and feelings play a major role in our motivation and we can’t ignore this. But try and use them to your advantage. Recognize when a bad mood or negativity can bring on procrastination and plan for the worst.
Tip 12: Learn the art of patience
Our modern world has hard wired us to want results now, now, now! And when we don’t see instant results, we give up. You need to understand that for most goals in life, there is no instant gratification, even after significant output. Sure, it’s only fair to want a result after all the effort you are putting in. And it will come in due time. Patience is key.
Tip 13: Never underestimate the power of reward
Have you noticed when you feel good, life seems so much easier? Rewards make us feel good too. It motivation is an issue for you, perhaps reward yourself when you accomplish one of your mini goals along the way. Ran 10km’s today instead of 8km’s? You could reward yourself with a massage. Lost 5 of the 10 kilo’s you were wanting to lose? You could reward yourself with a brand new gym outfit.
Our minds have a nasty habit of focusing on all the things we do wrong… and never letting us forget. Would we berate our friends like that? No! So, why is it acceptable for us to speak to ourselves that way? You are a human being doing the best you can. Next time your mind wants to point out how poorly they think you’re doing, try and focus on some of the great things you do well. It’s easier said then done, but give it a go and see what happens.
February 24, 2017
So I’ve been training for this marathon for a month now, and it still sucks so much. I’m up to 8 kilometre runs now, it takes me just over forty minutes. And I hate every second of those forty minutes.
Running is still awful. I’m hating it. Sure, there are some upsides, but they aways come with the inevitable downsides.
Upside: I can run for longer before I taste blood in my mouth.
Downside: I can taste blood in my mouth.
Upside: I’m not feeling an aching burn in my hip flexors constantly anymore.
Downside: I’m feeling an aching burn in my wallet because I’ve already worn out my runners and I need new ones.
Upside: I’d lost 2 kilos.
Downside: Husband bought me 2 kilos of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Currently wearing chocolate around my upper thighs.
Upside: I’m following my dream.
Downside: My dream sucks.
My motivation is running at the lowest it’s ever been. I’ll literally use ANY excuse not to run. Even now, I’m using this blog as an excuse not to run. Well, it’s not going to write itself, is it?
I’m well aware that my technique is useless, my stride is atrocious and I’m burning too much energy. I run like a teenage girl in one of those 1950’s horror movies. But instead of running AWAY from the Revolting Blob, I guess I AM the Revolting Blob.
I need some help and for that reason, I’ve reached out to this guy:
The Master Of Technique
Nathan Fenton is a life-long runner and endurance athlete, and he’s created Enfer Running – Running Technique Coaching. When I made contact with Nathan, I had no idea what I was in for. I had strange fantasies of a man with giant quads shouting at me through a bullhorn while I ran on a treadmill. I couldn’t have been further from the truth, even though he still had some pretty impressive quads.
Nathan explained that he was going to teach me the POSE running technique, which is all about guiding you into the ultimate body position to get you moving efficiently and so the potential for injury is reduced, and speed and endurance are improved.
First, so my humiliation could be compete, he took a video of me running down the backstreet behind the clinic. Through the glare from my moon-tanned legs, I could clearly see what he was getting at. My stride was too long, my front leg struck the ground hard inhibiting my impetus, and my back leg flicked up jerkily. It was all unnecessary movement, putting too much stress on my joints and overworking my hip flexors.
The aim, Nathan explained, was to get the big muscles to bear most of the burden – the glutes and the hammies. To do this, I was going to have to re-learn how to run again.
You start with the pose: Feet together, knees slightly bent, glutes turned on, core activated, elbows bent, shoulders back, head neutral. He said it so many times that I’ll never forget it – feet together, knees slightly bent, glutes on, core activated, elbows bent, shoulders back, head neutral.
Then you prance like a pony.
I must admit I felt quite silly, trotting down the backstreets of Port Melbourne, but it all made complete sense to me. The movement was smaller, the stride was tiny and I was leaning forward enough that gravity was doing all the work in propelling me forward. If I can master this technique… well, I’m pretty confident that running won’t wreck me anymore.
The downside is that I have to re-learn how to run again. I’m only allowed to run 100 metres at a time, so I can analyse and re-adjust my technique, then I can build the kilometres back up again.
I’ve been thrown off my path, straight onto a new one. Here’s hoping I find this path a bit easier to run on.