Do you need a challenge to get you fit?
I recently ran the Reading Half Marathon. This is as a challenge I set myself last year, I am sure that it has something to do with my impending 40th birthday! I realised that I have never really pushed myself to achieve anything physically.
When I was younger fitness was about feeling good and looking my best. When the kids were born fitness was about getting back to that and loosing the extra pounds I was carrying. It’s never been about challenging myself, I’m no adrenaline junkie, in fact I have always done the minimum needed to be as fit as possible which is why I am such a big fan of high intensity training!
I wanted to see what I could do, what I could achieve and if I had what it takes to challenge myself physically.
I started out with no expectations. I used to watch my husband go out the door to run, as he trained for half marathons, marathons and even when he just went out for a short run to clear his head. As he left two things used to cross my mind; one was oh my goodness he is crazy, I can’t imagine wanting to go for a run! The other was I am so jealous I wish there was a way I could escape and clear my head like that!
My running journey hasn't been smooth, there have been several times that I have tried to catch the running bug and failed, long distance running has never appealed and so for a long time I stuck to 5k. I am very fit and do a lot of high intensity training which means that for short distances I can run quite fast but I hated the idea of having to slow down or walk. Whenever I got to the point that I needed to slow down my legs would take me home so I could do some weights instead!
So this was a challenge, could I overcome my head telling me that ‘I am not a runner’? Could I get past the point where at around 30 minutes I get bored and want to go home and do something more interesting?
Over the course of my training I have learnt two very important things about setting myself a challenge. 1) I have to have support if I am going to make it through the hard parts and 2) it is all in the mind, my mindset can be the difference between success and failure.
What I learnt
The first thing I did was get some professional advice. I joined a running group with the fabulous Karen Burles at Elite Conditioning and off I went.
When you set yourself a big challenge you need to know what you are doing. For some of my clients just getting fit and moving more often is a big challenge and they look to me to help them get started and keep on track. I realised early on that my knowledge of writing a training plan for running a half marathon was limited so I needed help.
I also realised as I tried on my own to up my distance that if I was going run for longer than 30 minutes I needed company — someone to tell me to keep going.
It’s the same with any long term fitness plan; those that have the support of a group, a friend or personal trainer are far more likely to succeed than those that try to go it alone.
Ok, so I have to admit throughout my training I was feeling pretty negative, I found the training exhausting and frustrating. Little niggles of pain began to appear and at times it felt too hard.
By the time the half marathon was only a few weeks away I had run the distance, I knew I could do it but any runner will tell you that when you are running your brain will tell you to stop when it gets hard. So if you listen to your brain you may well give up quite early! Overcoming this was my biggest challenge.
I am a huge believer that you can programme your brain to believe anything. I have seen some amazing results from clients who have changed their mindset and gone from being someone who never exercises to someone who believes they can and do. They set themselves the challenge of overcoming their exercise barriers. This challenge for me was the same.
At the start line I felt good, we had to wait for a long time to get going and in the time I was waiting I had time to assess how I was feeling:
Iinjuries? No pain — check
Legs? Feeling fresh — check
Head? Feeling positive — check!
I made a decision on that start line, I decided to give it everything I had, tomorrow I can rest, today, I decided “I AM A RUNNER!”
Affirmations can be so powerful and for me never more so in the following 2 hours and 12 minutes, take one mile at a time was my mantra. Every step I repeated this in my head and every mile I re-assessed, if I felt good I carried on at the same pace, if not I backed off. (I didn't need to back off until mile 10!)
My other mantra raised a few eyebrows. It helped to say it out loud, my fellow runners may have thought I was a bit strange but seriously “hills are easy, I love hills!!!”.
So I succeeded in completing my challenge and now on to the next, I have learnt that a challenge helps me focus, I have also learnt to ask for help when I need it. Most of all I have learnt that I can do anything I put my mind to.
What could you learn from a challenge?
Our aim at Fit In Minutes is to provide you with daily exercise solutions, to coach you towards individual success whatever that looks like to you so that you can feel fitter, healthier and know you have a way of fitting exercise into your life.
To book your free consultation and fitness test click here, call us now on 07973 751190 or email Kirsty@fitinminutes.co.uk. We look forward to helping you be the healthiest and strongest woman you can be!
Fit in mind
Fit in body
Fit in your life