I’ve never been much of a fitness person. In school, I used to find reasons to skip PE lessons, and I’ve always sat back when with friends when they’re talking about what they got up to in the gym that morning.
I won’t lie to you though; I do occasionally go swimming and enjoy it but can never seem to get myself motivated enough to do it for more than 2 weeks, which leads me to stop going for months until I remember I enjoy it.
In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about health and fitness and ‘getting into shape’ for my summer holidays, but I’ve still found excuses for not signing up to the gym or joining a friend for a jog.
When Boris Johnson announced that the UK was going into lockdown, I, along with many others, panicked about what I’d do with all this extra time. I won’t be seeing friends or my boyfriend, and sure I could sit and do work all day, but no one wants to do that, right? So what could I do to while away the time?
Running. That’s what I’d do. And that’s what I’ve been doing.
I downloaded an app called Strava, which records your runs; taking note for you how far you’ve gone and how long it took, etc, and then I went and ran.
5 minutes later I was sat back on the sofa, out of breath realising I had no clue what I was doing. “I’ll try again tomorrow,” I thought.
Tomorrow came, and my run loomed. I hesitantly thought “Today I’ll pace myself, run a bit slower and hopefully I can run longer”, as I put my trainers on. 5 minutes later, the same thing happened again; I was sat on the sofa, out of breath, telling myself I’ll try again tomorrow as I downed as much water as I could.
When the third day of this running mayhem came, I was very discouraged. I couldn’t carry on just running and hoping for the best, I needed something to keep me going, to keep me motivated. I just didn’t know what. I asked around and eventually, someone suggested Couch to 5K. I was quite happy to get off my own couch during these tough times.
I downloaded this app and to my surprise, saw it encouraged people to get out and improve their running abilities. I set up the app and the next day set off on the first run, with the delight of Jo Wiley telling me that I can do it.
This time I managed a 17-minute run, covering 1.5 miles. Proud doesn’t cover it.
The weird thing was, I enjoyed it. Yes, I was exhausted afterwards, but being able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air along with the fields and beautiful scenery surrounding my home made it worth it.
I’ve just started the second week on the app now, with 7 left to go and I’ve been enjoying it so much I even dug out an old bicycle today to start cycling too.
After this run, I found myself questioning my previous decisions to avoid exercise unless necessary, and I think I’ll definitely carry on with running now. How good I’ve been feeling afterwards is something I want to feel more often. Whether I become a ‘fitness freak’ or not is another story, but I’m keen to see where this leads me.