Embrace creativity. Live purposefully.
When I first started working out after my son was born, the treadmill was not my first choice of gym equipment. I was never a fan of running. Even in high school, where I played basketball from grade 8 to matric (where I co-captained the first team), I dreaded running. I used to look at the people who voluntarily signed up for the cross-country team with amazement. I was sure their parents were slipping something into their Rice Krispies – why else would they want to take part in a sport that only involved running?
Let’s just state the obvious here: I was lazy. Running requires stamina and endurance, but most importantly it requires positive motivation and the will to succeed. I played sports because I was competitive and because it was fun (and accessible). Running was just the price I had to pay. After school, when I attended a college that had no sports besides boozeball (a drunken version of life-size foosball where players were stationed in rows and tied to one another at the waist), staying active took a steep drop down my list of priorities.
I first joined a gym in 2011, 6 years after matriculating. I was fit and toned in high school (and for a little while after), but after 5 years of no exercise besides walking and then having my first child… Well, let’s just say exercise had moved up my priority list again.
So off to the local gym I went. I had a consultation with one of the trainers and he drew up an exercise schedule for me. When I got started I couldn’t even run for 2 minutes of the 10 I was supposed to and that upset me. It really made me angry. So I kept at it. Every week I would try and run a minute longer than the week before. I didn’t have any specific running goal (besides getting back in shape) but I just wanted to keep pushing.
When I could finally run for 20 minutes I experienced what is known as the ‘runner’s high’ and that’s when running became more than just a point to prove. It was like a sudden elation, like my body was doing exactly what it was meant to be doing, and doing it perfectly. I felt light and euphoric, like I could carry on running forever. I was hooked.
But then I got thrown a curveball. I found out I was pregnant and stopped running (I heard you could safely continue but I was paranoid). I knew 9 months would throw all my progress out of the window and it did.
When I recently got back to the gym I was back to square 1: 2 minutes. But this year I have a goal, so I’ve come prepared. Running a 10k is on my list of 100 things in 2014, so I’ve done some research on adequate training for beginners and I’ve found this amazing 10-week running program in The Complete Book Of Running For Women by Claire Kowalchik. I’m on week 2 and I have to say that this is way easier (with faster results) than my previous method. I also have to add that the woman who wrote this book had completed 9 marathons at the time of the book’s writing (in the 90’s). So she knows her stuff. See screenshot below (myself and Microsoft Excel had an argument).