I’ve never been an overly sporty person. I used to play basketball in school as a teenager, and really enjoyed it, but when the training schedule increased to clash with the drama club, acting immediately won. Since then the only forms of exercise that I have done are yoga and pilates. Both of these are amazing forms of exercise with such incredible benefits. Recently however, I felt that for my own health and well being, I should start doing some cardio to boost my overall fitness.
I used to look at people running and think that I would never and could never be a runner. It was only when my boyfriend began running, and loving it, that his enthusiasm and encouragement ignited a spark in me. I realised that there was nothing different between myself and those people who often sprint past me on my way to the bus stop every day. The idea that potentially I too could train my body to run a marathon really appealed to me. I wanted to transform my fitness.
I bought my first pair of running shoes, Nike free runs, which I have found really comfortable and great to run in, though admittedly I have never ran in anything else so maybe I just got sucked in by a marketing ploy! I began in June and since then I have ran 8 times, sometimes with several weeks in between as life and laziness got in the way.
I am therefore still astounded by my level of progress. This astonishing progress is nothing to do with any sort of talent as a runner, but just with my being unaware of how quickly you can train your body to become fitter. When I did my first run, I had to stop about every minute, as I had completely lost my breath and was almost getting a pain in my chest. 8 runs later, and I am improving more each time. Yesterday I managed 3.4km in twenty minutes before I felt that I had to stop. Before I started running I read that it is one of the best activities to see improvements in your fitness fast. Given my experience, I would definitely say that is true.
The other aspect I love about it is the fact that it requires not just physical stamina, but mental stamina, and perhaps the latter even more so. I am still working on that voice inside my head telling me to stop running when I’m feeling tired, and fascinated by the fact that once I decide to ignore it, I can go on another couple hundred metres no problem. Not only is it a challenge for my body, but a challenge for my mind, and something so beneficial for a person like me, who often struggles with anxiety. The endorphins, progress, challenge and satisfaction are doing wonders for my mental health, let alone my physical. (Though I have yet to experience anything like the endorphins achieved when lying in the final asana after an hour and half of Bikram yoga!)
With all this in mind, I have signed up to do a charity 5km run in 4 weeks! It is in aid of the Dublin Simon Community which is an Irish based charity which provides support services and emergency accommodation to help prevent homelessness in the country. I used to work in homeless emergency accommodation myself, so as an added bonus this is a cause which I am already passionate about. I don’t care how long it will take me to complete it, I am just hoping to be able to run (or even jog if necessary) the whole thing without stopping, although I will still be proud of myself if I need to pause a couple of times. I plan to run 4 times a week until then (with a 5 day break in Budapest in between, whooo!) in the hopes of getting closer to my 5km target. I am aware that the fast progress which I have seen to date may slow down over the weeks, but I am curious as to what improvement I will see by then!
If you enjoyed this post and are new to Natural Fuel, why not use the box on the top right of this page to receive update notifications by email, or follow Natural Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.