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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.
February 16, 2017
So, I’m going to use the dreaded ‘M’ word… we’ll say it together on the count of three, 1… 2… 3… Motivation!
To achieve anything in life, we need to have a goal. And to achieve that goal, we need to have a little something on our side called motivation. Ahh motivation – that elusive intention that seems to come and go as quickly as Christmas.
One minute you’re feeling like you can conquer the world. It feels like nothing can stand in your way…and the next, even the thought of doing something productive makes you want to roll over and take a big ol’ nap. Sound familiar?
Why does this happen? And why do we stray from our goals? Even if it’s something we so desperately want to achieve, why can’t we get motivated and why do we sabotage our efforts?
At one time or another, we have all experienced fear of failure. We set ourselves an important goal or task where the stakes are so high, the thought of failing is inconceivable. So to avoid failure, it’s easy to just not do it at all right?
We may have also chosen a goal that is mentally or physically challenging. It’s important to remind yourself that any challenging goal is obviously worth doing and means something to us – otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. But we tend to lose motivation if we believe we can’t get there. It’s tough being in the driver’s seat when you’re the only one pushing yourself along – so first and foremost, it’s important to connect with people who support you, encourage you and make you feel energised.
Here are 7 tips that may help you get on board the motivation train! Toot toot!
Tip 1: Routine!
The most important part of your goal is just starting. If the enormity of it is overwhelming, find a simple and achievable activity you can do to actually start your task. For example, if your goal is to write a book, perhaps your routine could begin with boiling the kettle and pouring yourself a tea or coffee. Or, if your goal is to run a marathon, start a generic warm up that you can repeat easily each time you’re about to embark on a run. Once you start going through the motions of the routine, you can take it from there.
Tip 2: Get Educated!
Learn everything about your chosen task or goal. More interest in the subject may actually excite you and spark some motivation to get started. Educating yourself may also help you avoid simple mistakes that could unravel you down the track.
Tip 3 Break It Down!
A great way to stay motivated is to break your big goal down into bite sized chunks that you can achieve. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon in 3 month’s time, break down how many km’s you need to run each week or even each day. That way, you stay focused on what’s directly in front of you and you only need to worry about achieving the mini-goal for the day or week. When you’re in a constant pattern of achieving, it will boost your belief system and make you want to keep forging ahead.
Tip 4: Start Small!
Small behaviours reinforce good habits. If you set a goal and completely turn your life 180 degrees to get there, you may not be able to sustain such drastic changes. But if you start making small, habitual changes, you’ll find it easier to stay on track.
The opposite of this is also true. Have you noticed it’s often the small, innocent things that lead to a motivational slump? Like skipping a workout to hang out with friends can suddenly start a pattern of always skipping workouts. When you give yourself the option of an out, it’s very easy to do – and even easier to keep doing it. Pretty soon you will be rationalising why you don’t need to do it at all.
Tip 5: Follow a Plan!
To achieve any goal, you need a ‘road map’ of how you are going to get yourself there. If you want to run a marathon, you need a running program. And you need to stick to it! Trust the process. Even if it feels like it’s not working, even if it feels hard, trust that by sticking to the program, you will get there. A great tip is to find a template or even someone who has done what you want to do and follow exactly what they did. Model their behaviour – that’s what successful people do. Find a mentor or someone who has achieved the goal you’ve set for yourself, reach out to them and learn their habits and tricks of the trade.
Tip 6: Track your progress!
This is paramount. Keep a progress log – for example, get some ‘before’ photos or look at fitness test results from when you started out so you can truly prove that you ARE making progress and giving up now would undo all the work up to this point. Tracking progress is also really handy for learning where you need to improve.
Tip 7: Accountability!
Tell people what you are doing so they can not only encourage you along the way and support your needs, but also keep you accountable and prevent you giving up when times get tough.
Keep your eyes peeled for 7 more tips to stay motivated once you’ve mastered finding that initial motivation.
February 6, 2017
The Start Line
Hi, I’m Lauretta. I’m Jimmy’s better half, the office manager and receptionist here at Fluid Health, mother of two small children. I’m usually as busy as a fact-checker at snopes.com. And for some insane reason, this year I’ve decided to run the Melbourne Marathon.
I’m not a runner. I used to be, when I was a perky adolescent in New Zealand. My forte was the cross-country, four kilometres barefoot through hilly farmland, dodging cow patties, bumblebees and electric fencing. I used to love it. I remember the adrenalin rush that I got from the pace, the rush from the country air, the rush from aggressive Friesian bulls. But it was a long time ago now. I get the feeling that schools these days don’t force nine year olds to stumble through silage ponds or wrestle with barbed wire for the sake of getting a tick on a school report. But they should. It was fun.
And I remember the feeling afterwards. It’s such a beautiful, golden sense of wellbeing. Running makes you feel good, and I wanted to feel it again.
I haven’t exactly let myself go since my teenage fitness heydays. I’m a semi-regular at the gym, but I tend to favour more gentle forms of exercise like yoga and pilates, or weights sessions if I feel like I need a bit of a tune-up. My favourite class at the moment is Yin yoga – it’s not really exercise, it’s just about getting into a deep stretch and holding it for four minutes. There’s no cardio required, its gentle, peaceful, and I feel about four inches taller when I walk out of the studio. It’s glorious. And again, no cardio required.
This is important because at some point in my life I’ve started hating cardio with a passion. Anything that requires any form of extreme exertion I will avoid like the plague. I’m glad my kids only have little legs, because they run away from me a lot and I’m always sprinting after them. Sprinting is fine, but if I had to hold that pace for an extended period of time, well, that’s a big nope from me. I’m not a sloth, but I am lazy. I cut corners, I never take the hard road, I’m a ‘work smarter not harder’ kind of girl. The idea of going for a long run sounds great in my head, but in reality it’s excruciating torture.
So of course, I’m just going to go ahead and run a marathon.
Running a marathon has always been on my bucket list. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to say that I’ve done. Not actually do it, but I’ve always wanted to have done it. And let’s face it, I’m in the best place in my life to do it right now. I work in exactly the right place – a soft-tissue injury clinic, with remedial massage therapists, myotherapists, functional movement experts and personal trainers all around me. I have full access to our Sports Recovery Centre, the ice baths, far infra-red sauna, recovery pump boots, even the hyperbaric chamber. I’ve even got access to running coaches, who I’ll be hitting up for advice very soon. I have no excuse!
I’m conscious of the fact that I’m getting on the downhill slide to 40, and training for a marathon is only going to get harder, so this year I’m going to do it. I am. I AM!
And I’ve made sure that I’m going to do it by telling EVERYONE. I can’t back out now, I’ve told everyone that it’s my one goal in 2017, it’s my last chance to do it and do it properly before I get too old and my knees don’t work and my ticker gets too dodgy. I’ve told all the clients at work, I’ve told all my friends and family, I’ve told four strangers in the street so far and everyone has been super-encouraging. Apart from one of the strangers in the street, who was just a bit puzzled. I probably should have just bought his copy of The Big Issue and walked away without speaking.
So I’ve made myself accountable. Next step, the training. I’ve started out easy, three kilometres on the treadmill first, which was gruesome but I got there. The next week was four, and last week was five, and this week I’m up to six.
And I’m still hating it.
God, it’s awful! Does anyone actually enjoy this? After five kilometres I’m a bright-red sweat-bag, I can taste blood in my mouth, my heart feels like it’s going to jump out of my chest and I can’t think about anything except for stopping, and never doing exercise ever again. And that’s only after six kilometres! How the hell am I ever going to do 42?
I poured my heart out to our local Pro Triathlete, Vanessa Murray. She told me that my problem is that I’m training on a treadmill, and that it’s too boring. “Get out, go along the beach, go around the lake a few times,” she said. “You’ll be more motivated in the fresh air with new visuals around you.” At this point, she got a bit misty-eyed and started waxing lyrical about early morning runs with the sun coming up on the horizon, and how beautiful it all was and how great it makes you feel. I admit that I got swept up in her enthusiasm, before she mentioned that she ran 90 kilometres over the last week.
She’s obviously insane, and I can’t take anything she says seriously.
But she’s given me hope that I can do this. She’s human (allegedly), and I’m human. I just need to keep it up, keep training and keep my eyes on the goal.
Which is 42.2 kilometres.