Something monumental has happened in the last few weeks, but I think I need to whisper it for fear of bursting the bubble……come closer……. I think I might have rediscovered my running mojo!
Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while may remember me talking about my, errrrm, complicated relationship with running in the past (feel free to check out the posts here and here) but I’ve been attempting to up my exercise game recently, mainly because I haven’t been feeling as though I’m the best version of me at the moment, and I am ready for change!
I’ve been relying on my daily walking as my only source of exercise and I’ve realised that it just isn’t enough any more. I’ve dabbled with some Barre3 (which is actually really great, and boy, can you feel it working your muscles) and a little bit of kettle bell action, but I never really felt fired up enough to turn either of them into a regular, committed practice.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly started feeling really anxious. While “putting myself out there” with the blog is ridiculously exciting, it can also leave me feeling a bit vulnerable, and last week I allowed the demons to get in and take over. You know all of that “ditch the inner bitch” stuff I bang on about? Well, I’m usually pretty good at it, but last week must have been my regular skinny bitch’s week off, because it wasn’t her tormenting me about the size of my bingo wings. Oh no, no no!! It was a new kid on the block who sounded exactly like the most heinous type of school bully. You know the one…..”you’re so stupid”, “you aren’t cool enough”, “you can’t be in our gang – you’ll ruin our cred!” Try as I might, I was finding it unbelievably difficult to bounce back from the internal insults, and I knew that I was going to have to try something different to pull myself out of the hole.
So I asked myself what advice I might give to a friend or client going through a similar experience. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the first pearl of wisdom that sprung to mind was EXERCISE. Now in the past I’ve been guilty of procrastinating my way out of exercise, so I decided to act immediately. As soon as the thought popped into my head, on went the trainers and I headed out to my office in the garden where my dreadmill treadmill sits. I didn’t have any plan, aim or goal, I just knew that I needed to work up a bit of a sweat. I also decided that rather than listening to my default loud music (as I usually do when I exercise), I would instead listen to something I could get more absorbed in. I checked my podcast list and found that I had an un-listened to episode of Laura Thomas’ Don’t Salt My Game, where she was talking to Chloe Brotheridge about her best selling book The Anxiety Solution. Now if that wasn’t the universe sending me a sign, I’m not sure what it was!
After doing a bit of brisk walking for 5 minutes, something really odd thing happened……..I suddenly decided to crank up the speed and have a go at jogging. And do you know what? It felt REALLY BLOODY GOOD! When I’ve jogged in the past, even when I was doing 5k regularly, the physical effort of it was so intense that I actually despised every step. But not last week! Even though I could feel that my body was working hard, I felt as though it was flowing far more naturally than any of my other attempts have done. It was nothing short of a revelation!
But the best bit? I couldn’t quite believe the amazing affect that it had on my mood. I know that the scientific research behind endorphins and physical exercise is well reported, and my best friend swears that exercise is the best anti-depressant, but from a personal point of view, I was very aware of how the act of pushing my body managed to get me out of my head for a while. Instead of continuing to get myself lost under a pile of negative thoughts, jogging made me really focus on the brilliant work my body can do. It also made me realise that I am actually a lot fitter than I give myself credit for (HAES anyone?!) and that in itself gave me a bit of a buzz for the rest of the day. In fact, the buzz was so good, that I decided to make it a regular part of my routine and since that day I have made time to hit the treadmill (and even to follow it with a cheeky bit of yoga) 3 times a week.
One of the things I‘ve realised is that my number one concern is no longer about losing weight, or running a particular distance in a certain amount of time. Instead my aim now is to make myself feel good. I’ve realised that connecting back to my body is a really important thing for me to do and that I definitely need periods of time where I am able to get out of my head and into my body.
So am I going to keep it up? Well, all I’ll say at the minute, is that I am actually looking forward to my next session….. in fact, I might even go so far as to say that I’m excited about it.
Now who’d ever have thought that was a possibility?!