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14 Nov 2015

#wellness


Prepare yourselves. There is a hint of “wellness” in what I am about to tell you. Don’t worry though. I’m not here to chat about flat tummy tea, the miracle of spiralizers or the wonders of chia pudding – I’m here to talk about running and how it has helped me say goodbye to poundage, toenails and good hair days.

 If I haven’t been blogging in the last 5 months then I’ve probably been running. During that time I have chalked up over 480km. I can hardly believe it. I picked this up as a way of losing some kilos that have crept on over the last couple of years and now it’s become a full-on hobby/obsession. Something has just clicked.

Although I consistently bunked off PE in school, I’ve always been “in” to running. I was that person hogging the treadmill in the gym for much of my early twenties and then, when I moved to Dubai, I picked it up again, using the amazing Get running app to navigate my way round my neighbourhood. I enjoyed it but work got busy and I got lazy and when its 30+ degrees outside it’s easy to make excuses. So I sacked it off and drank wine instead.

I tried other exercise:

  • Barre classes – so chic, so effective and so expensive.
  • Bikram yoga – sorry, I can’t get on board if I think that the founder is highly likely to be a w*nker who has misappropriated yoga practices and exploited them for commercial gain. Also factor in my drowned rat physical appearance after each class.
  • The gym – the thought of even stepping foot inside it numbs my brain.
  • At home videos – consistently started with great intentions that quickly disappear like a fart in the wind.

Fair enough I thought, they aren’t “my thing” or this isn’t “my time”. But as anyone who is in their thirties or above will tell you, it’s hard to keep your sh*t together as you age – you cannot rely on a strict diet alone and expect to look good naked.

So one night in July, when it was impossibly hot and humid, I decided to go for a quick “jog”.  The use of that word was important – psychologically jogging sounded a lot less intimidating and intensive than running. That night I did a fairly slow 3k and repeated the same the following evening, and then the next and the next. At this point it wasn’t about speed or performance – it was just about doing “something”. That kind of low expectation was key because there was no pressure or goal other than to get out there.  Since then my approach has changed but in order to establish the routine it was important to be kind to myself. I didn’t have to run fast or for a long distance – I just had to make some semblance of effort.

5 months later and I have still stuck to it. Yes I have lost weight, which has been a major motivation, but there have been other residual benefits as well:

  • Zoning out – running is a bloody monotonous activity and for some people it is too boring to comprehend. For me that monotony is key because it allows me to focus something other than work. I find it a massive stress reliever, especially when undertaken at the end of the day.
  • Sleeping soundly – I have no problems going to sleep but I am much better about waking up. I used to feel so groggy in the morning and although I still have the personality of a plain bagel first thing, getting out of bed is at least easier. 

Now of course the challenge is maintaining the energy and commitment. It’s all very well starting with enthusiasm but keeping it going is where I traditionally crash and burn.

For that there is one thing that I would recommend. Hold on tight now because this is going to sound very, very sponsored when it isn’t at all:

Download the Nike Running App. Download it right away.

You will find that it’s a good way of tracking your runs but where it really excels is in the Coaching tab.

I randomly found this feature and it’s really helped me stay motivated so far. I am almost psychotic in my devotion to it and I refuse to miss a day of training – even if it means running at 12am slightly drunk.

Here you will find programmes that will help you achieve 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon runs. I completed the 10k a few weeks ago – it’s an 8-week commitment – and it really works. When I started 10k seemed like a big deal but now it’s not actually very far at all.  That’s just how much of a difference it makes.

I’m now onto the half marathon scheme, which is majorly intense but I’m working towards an actual half marathon in February and I know/hope this will get me there.

So what else is there….well here are some other things that I think are important to know:

  • I’m a night owl – everything I read seems to extoll the virtues of exercise in the morning. I fully understand the notion of starting the day “right” by getting a run completed before breakfast but at the same time I despise morning’s and the only activity I can accept at that time is drinking coffee in silence with a glum look on my face.  For me exercise needs to be undertaken at night. I like the fact that fewer people are around, the air is cooler and nobody can see my face turn purple. That’s my time and I’m sticking to it.
  • I enjoy rest days – I’m paranoid about injury so I do not run every day. The Nike app refers to cross-training days where you’re meant to do some kind of other activity. LOL. Hello? I’m running 50k a week! So I pretend to the app that I have done that and spend the day doing naff all.  I will at some point integrate strength training but not yet.
  • I can’t run without music – I like to block out the sound of my heavy breathing as much as possible so Soundcloud is my best friend. I listen to trending music or my own playlist that I have created with the sole aim of getting my arse in gear.
  • I have to run outside – I am of the opinion that treadmill running sort of doesn’t count. Having said that if I lived in the UK that would be my only option as I wouldn’t feel safe enough to run outside at night.
  • I do watch what I eat – I’m having less of a party with food. Takeaways have been stopped and indulgences have been limited to a couple of times a week. I still eat dairy, gluten, carbs and I’m not especially concerned about being “clean” but it’s on the healthy side of life. Protein shakes (frozen mixed berries/banana/coconut milk/protein powder = divine), tuna salad, eggs on toast, Quorn anything, salmon with greens and Lindt chocolate are where it’s at.

To finish this post I want to say that I am not The First Runner in the World Like Ever.  I know that many of you are more experienced and proficient than me so if you do have any tips or advice do leave them below.

Thanks for reading! I’ll shut up about it now.

48 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Yaaaaas! I started running a couple of years ago and like you said, something just "clicked." I didn't really exercise prior to that. My current challenge is figuring out how I am going to run in the sub-zero (Fahrenheit) winters we have here in Minnesota.

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  2. I've been running for 5 years or so but totally agree with your tips - you have to make it fit your life and work for you. Good luck with training for the half marathon! x
    LilyLipstick

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    1. 5 years! Tell me your secrets :) x

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  3. Thank you for sharing your amazing tips!! Xx

    http://yumiandyuji.blogspot.kr/

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  4. Well done you Laura! It's so easy to start an exercise regime, but the hard bit is sticking at it. Good luck with your half marathon training!
    Hugs Adele xoxo

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  5. Thanks for sharing your tips! Here's one silly question though - what do you do with your phone while running, just hold it in your hand? I find my giant iPhone 6 Plus quite unhandy for that lol x

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    1. ah yes, it is rather big! I did run with it in my hand for weeks. Not sure how I did that! Thankfully I bought an armband and I put it in that. It works well!

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  6. Congratulations! That is such a fantastic achievement! I love the sound of this app, I really like how you can see your total distance over a long period of time, really motivational. Keep up the great work and good luck for Feb xx

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  7. Great tips Laura. Congratulations on your first 10k. I had been running up until last year, even managed to complete half marathon and not die but injury had knocked me off track and the subsequent 1.5 stones gain are driving me nuts. Back on healthy eating buzz and you've inspired me to download the Nike app and get moving/jogging again. Thank you.

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    1. Well done on the half marathon! Injury is a nightmare so I really hope you are able to recover. Best of luck!

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  8. I want to take up running again after I had my second child, and I will need all the motivation I can get, so I am for sure downloading this app. Before I had my daughter I enjoyed running, but in between pregnancies I never got back into it, so I am pretty much starting from scratch again.


    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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    1. Good luck! Try the Nike app and also Get running - that's a great one for getting back into things!

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  9. Amazing progress Laura, very inspiring and realistic view on exercise! I'll go download the app and realize I'll look like a sweating aubergine tonight during and after my run :(

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    1. You and me both! I'm pretty sure I look my least attractive ever when I run haha :)

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  10. This is fantastic Laura! You've inspired me to want to start running! I have no idea where to start as I've never run in my life! I try to go to the gym but I find I a real struggle. I've downloaded the Nike run app so I'll give it ago and start off slow. Thank you for sharing :) xoxo

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    1. Also look at Get running - that's a great app and much gentler if you have never run before/haven't run for a long time. Try them both out and see what you think.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm going to be referring back to this as my "get your arse up and out for a run" motivation xx

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    1. Thanks Vicky! Happy to enable :)

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  12. which protein powder u r using ,n u look stuuning

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  13. Your post makes me want to run more again. I just loved been in to something that kept me in shape and having a passion I'd go out of my way for. I'm not sure if you saw my instagram comment but highly recommend let's talk about running by Murakami. It's weird but once I started running, the runs became about other things over the physical act. It was getting that time to myself, the views and realising I'm capable of committing to something.Woooo on the 10k and good luck with the half! : ) oh and don't forget the jelly babies!!!

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  14. Massive well done on the 10K and sticking to this for so long! I was training for a half marathon last year and really getting into running but got injured and haven't run since. Hoping to get back to it but probably not till the weather warms up in England a bit. Can't face the dark nights and gale force winds haha

    www.kerryniamh.blogspot.com

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  15. Love this post - miss your regular blogging though!!

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  16. Fair play you look bloody great - I'm so intimidated by running cause I'm lazy / maybe I need that app!
    Siobhan xx

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  17. Very inspirational and that's an imressive log!!! I'd love to see your playlist ;).

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  18. Will you share your running playlist?!

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  19. Congrats on finding an excise that you love .. that's half the battle really :-)

    Monica

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  20. This post made me want to go out for a run (something I haven't done since the days grew shorter and the night's became longer). I don't know how you find the motivation but well done on getting as far as you have and good luck for the half marathon.

    Raise The Waves

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  21. I started running back in 2009 and my first 10k was also an achievement. Since then I've run several half marathons and 10M runs, because for me it works best if I'm working towards an event. Especially when there's an audience cheering you on. I must admit, I have had a few fallbacks, but I just don't like not feeling fit, so I always pick it up again.
    Btw, a lot of people run at night in London, many parks are very safe to run, and you could also run through the streets, where there's people around. I also hate that they always think running should be done in the mornings and I pretty much always run at night, after work. On weekends, I sometimes run in the morning. By morning, I mean around 11am and onwards...

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  22. I prefer Runkeeper to the Nike app though, because it has a lot more options for details to be added. However, the best way to run for me is without any technology. No phone, no music. So good!

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  23. Great post Laura, thank you so much for writing it. I'm a loyal reader from Brazil and get sooo bored when I'm running, my mind is just done after 5 min. I'l give it one more try now.

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  24. Loved this, especially the "drinking coffee in silence with a glum look on my face" line!!! Hilarious as usual....and at the risk of sounding cheesy......quite inspirational! xxx Ciara xxx

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  25. I love this post! Now you know what post you need to write about next, favourite fitness gear of course!! ;) xx

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  26. I love running for the same 'zoning out' reason as you. I find it really hard to tune out the constant thoughts that are always buzzing through my head, but running does it - I just focus on my breathing and the passing scenery.

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  27. The comment on the home videos...I laughed so hard I cried. It is so true.

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  28. Hi Laura, I've really enjoyed running as a primary form of exercise but I find I get shin splints :( Have you experienced any issues with your shins/knees/or feet?? Thanks

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  29. Wow. I just read your post. I started doing the same thing with rowing. I live in Connecticut and I also prefer the evening to work out ( after 9 pm). I have a rowing machine and I binge on Netflix. I used it as a way to chill out, watch my show and "do something" . No pressure. Just moving. Now, I love it. I will say I see a huge difference in you. Keep it up. I hope soon I will see a difference in me.

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  30. Water. There really isn't enough if you run a lot. And it is VERY possible to out eat your exercise efforts. Don't do that. And salt pills. yes. They work.

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