Being of sound mind at the age of 42 one would think that I’d have a CLUE when it comes to making decisions right? Well, apparently I have times when my sanity is in question. Case in point: this summer I was invited by Erica Ehm of Yummy Mummy Club (a fantastic online publication which you really should check out!) to be a part of a 100km relay to benefit kids cancer. This was during August, I’d begun jogging again and was up to 2 km so my logic told me getting up to 5 km within 3 weeks should be a cakewalk.
I was wrong.
Going from the proverbial couch to 5 km within 6 weeks (from when I’d started) was beyond a challenge for me. As soon as I sent my excited acceptance email I began researching and meeting with my jogging-loving friends who all expressed concern…I guffawed and reassured them that I’d be careful and off I went into training.
Training for me meant jogging 4 times a week, either on the roads or on the treadmill when the humidity was overwhelming. I had a fantastic plan on paper of how I’d increase my distance and reduce my time over the 3 weeks.
If you’re looking into learning to jog, I have one tip for you. Be prepared to battle your inner thoughts!
My biggest battle wasn’t shin splints, exhaustion or technique…it was my self-defeating nature which screamed at me every time I remotely thought about training. From the “I’m too tired to jog tonight” to the “GAWD my feet HURT” with every footfall…my brain was my enemy.
Why don’t people tell you this? Does anyone in the world actually ENJOY jogging?
To me in the beginning it was like torture; the defeating thoughts kicked in within the first kilometer and I’d be mentally exhausted far too quickly. It was all so maddening!
After a week of training, I was becoming really worried that I was in trouble, I was trying to better my health and HAD to get up to my goal time/distance in time for the race!
In a panic, I reached out to a friend who loves running and laid it all out. She shocked me by telling me that she didn’t enjoy running when she began either. She also had the self-defeating chatter in her head and had to face it down.
After chatting with her, I set off with a new mindset. It’s amazing what you can deal with when you’re aware of it and feel equipped. Realizing I had to replace those thoughts, I replace them with a mantra which I consciously repeated when I recognized I was being negative. It was “move those feet, Pump those arms…you’re FIERCE”. Combine that with the music pumping through my headphones and I began to learn to trust my body.
I diverted my attention, learned to feel the rhythm of my body and very quickly jogging began to feel more “normal” and less like torture. In the end I did complete my leg of the relay, albeit slower than I would have liked.
The true victory wasn’t the distance, the time or a love of jogging but proof again that I CAN change self-destructive patterns in my life if I take it slowly and approach it with informed confidence.
Today I still don’t love the actual act of jogging….I’m far too sloth-like for that. I do however LOVE the feeling after I’m done jogging. My body feels alive, energized and a sense of pride fills me…I’m grateful that I am capable of exercise and encourage everyone to move just a little more each day.