Yesterday was the first anniversary of my blog – a whole year since I made the decision to start running with the C25K program.
In some ways it’s hard to believe that it has been a whole year already since I started running; yet in other ways it feels like I’ve been running forever. Running has become a big part of my life and has taught me a lot about myself. So, in order to celebrate my bloggy birthday, I thought it would be good to reflect on some of the things that running has taught me over the last twelve months:
1. Listen To Your Body
This is one of the first big lessons that I learned (the hard way) and it is a lesson that I have to remind myself of frequently. No matter what the training programs say, we are all different and some of us need more rest and recovery than others. It’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean that those of us who need more recovery time won’t make progress; it just means that in order to make progress and avoid injury, we need more non-running days. I mean, I know I’m much fitter than I was a year ago, but at the age of 40, I’m not going to beat myself up if I need more recovery time than a 20 or 30 year old!
2. Do It
Even When Especially When You Don’t Feel Like It
Sometimes, it’s not our bodies that are telling us not to run, but our minds. On days like this, the best thing to do is go out and get a run in. It doesn’t have to be the run you planned. In fact, I find the best way to deal with days like this is to just get out there and see what happens. Run a couple of kilometres to let yourself get back into it and then see how you feel. No pressure, no goals, just run and enjoy it. It’s amazing how many times I’ve done this and found that, after a couple of kilometres, I suddenly feel like doing more. Of course, there are days when I just do a couple and then stop. But it always feels good to know that I’ve done it.
3. Take It One Step At A Time
This one has really changed my outlook, not just on running but on life in general. The C25K program taught me to be patient. Follow the steps and put trust in the process. It’s frustrating at times when the progress feels slow, but if you take it one step at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will get there. Ironically, since I started running, I have become much more patient, methodical and relaxed about life in general. Running is definitely good for the soul!
4. You Are Capable Than More Than You Think You Are
When I first started running, my only goal was to be able to run for a sustained period of time. 5K seemed like a lot, and it was, but since then I’ve built up my distance to 10K and even managed to run a half-marathon distance with only a couple of walk breaks. My biggest achievement over the last twelve months though, was to walk/jog 100K from London to Brighton, finishing in just over 26 hours. It wasn’t a particularly fast time, but I did it. Who would have thought that was possible a year ago?
5. Your Body Adapts
The human body is an amazing thing. From Day 2 of C25K, I started noticing the difference. It wasn’t a big difference, but throughout the program and in the months that followed, I was continually surprised by just how well the body adapts to exercise. Every week, I ran further, or faster and or kept going for longer. It was a gradual process, but I felt it in almost every run. Yes, some runs are better than others, but the body learns quickly; the trick is to keep the mind on track!
So, that’s it. My first bloggy birthday. Lots of lessons learned and plenty more to come, but it all started with that simple decision to put on my trainers and go for a run – best decision I ever made!
How has running changed your outlook on life? What lessons have you learned along the way? Please share your thoughts in the comments.