I started running in November last year. I needed a form of exercise that fit my life.
That I could squeeze in around school runs and crazy times, and a husband who often works very long days.
One that didn't have set times, and didn't cost a fortune.
Running was the perfect fit.
The only problem was I was unfit and I had never been good at it. Ever.
I was the one who feigned sickness to get out of school sports carnivals, I came last in running races, I did not like running.
But the goal I set at 29 to be fit for thirty meant I had to do something, and with the help of a 'couch to 5k' running app I set out.
I started enjoying my runs. Not so much the out-of-breath-dying-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other state, but the tranquility; the boat ramp, the fresh air, the breather - the high five from the husband as I ran out the door as he got home. The thirty minute escape.
And the fitness.
I could see my fitness improving.
My goal was 5 kilometres.
I kept at it, slowly.
I actually felt like I would never get there.
Some days were terrible and I would get a stitch or I hated every second and gave up.
But I just kept going.
Whenever I could. Sometimes only once a week.
It took me 9 months - two weeks ago, I did it. I reached my 5km goal. I ran non stop for 32 minutes.
It didn't cost me anything - I wore sneakers that are seven years old, a daggy tshirt - except half an hour: one, two occasionally three times a week.
I earned myself a new pair of runners.
Yesterday I ran our 12k City to Surf and gave myself a time to beat for next year.
So. From this amateur runner to you who would like to start, some tips.
1. Begin. Just go. Even if it's a walk today, and a faster walk tomorrow, you have to start somewhere.
2. Set yourself tiny goals. I used the help of a Couch to 5k app to get started, and it increased my running times for me. I then ditched it and started setting myself goals.
"This run I will run non stop for 10 minutes" and then increase it.
3. Set yourself a bigger goal to work towards. A fun run, or a marathon, or a certain level of fitness, or a weight loss goal. You need tiny goals because they are achievable. And when you reach them it's all the motivation you need to reach the next one because it feels so good to get there. But you need a bigger one too. Keep your eye on that one, but...
4. Don't feel negative pressure. It's hard, and you're trying! Be kind to yourself. How important are the words we speak not only to others, but to ourselves, too!
5. Involve others. Other people who want to join you on your journey, or who can encourage you, or who are further along than you. My friends have turned into fitness freaks, and it keeps me motivated to keep running!
6. Just like The Little Engine that Could, as I run I am affirming that I can run.
If I quit in my mind my legs quit, too.
How true is that for almost everything in life?
My mind is so much stronger now. I can push past the extremely difficult and keep going because I tell myself that I can.
I think I can, I think I can.
I am super proud of myself.
I'm thirty next month and I'm fitter than I've been in a long time.