I thought I’d start a weekly regular in the background (these posts won’t show up on the homepage with the rest) to check in on my progress with exercise this year. Initially the main goal is to run three times a week, emphasis on regularity, really just whatever distance or length of time feels good. Today I’ll write a bit more to tell you about how I got off the couch last year too, but in the future these will be just quick run-reports with the times and maybe some chat on how it felt.
So, a bit of back-story first. 2015 was the year that I began making an effort to do more exercise for the first time in my life. The easiest way to start was to piggy-back my boyfriend’s habits. However painful, a 5:45 rise is the only way to get some gym time in for me, and if he didn’t get up every single day to go anyway, I probably never could. Luckily our gym is literally around the corner, so I can roll out of bed, into my kit and down the stairs on autopilot. By the time I’m out on the street, really, I’ve almost arrived and it’s a lot harder to duck out… I don’t really even have time to begin wandering what the hell I’m doing out of bed and I’m already there.
All I resolved to achieve last January was to go semi-regularly and do whatever I feel like, as long as I break a sweat. I didn’t put too much pressure onto myself ’cause I knew that would just scare me off exercise. Looking back now, I feel that this strategy worked out just great. A year later I cannot imagine going back now to the way I was before, a complete couch-potato. Getting out of bed will always be incredibly difficult (No-one loves sleeping more than I do! Fact.) but I definitely I achieved my 2015 goal to form the habit of exercising regularly.
In 2016 I want to turn this up a notch and go first from doing “just anything” three times a week to making that something running regularly; and then eventually to go from three gym days to five, by adding another two yoga or weights sessions to complement the runs.
So having shared my tall goals for this year, here’s my progress report for the first week back in the gym, and tying in with the plan of course, all of it running:
Monday – 4.71 km in 36:44 at 7’48” pace.
Amazed that it went even this well, of course I cheated and walked for about 1.5 km in the middle. Before this week I never achieved even a straight 3k run without stopping, so this was kind of normal.
Wednesday – 4.83 km in 39:17 at 8’07” pace
Don’t remember much about this run, I probably zonked out to BBC Breakfast and just ploughed through what I could in the 40 minutes I had to spend in the gym. Obviously quite a lot of walking ensued, the pace shows this too.
Friday – 5.23 km in 35:28 at 6’47” pace
This was the real surprise, instant improvement (at least in exercise terms – how often do you see measurable results in just three workouts?) as I didn’t stop once and quite comfortably kept the 6’47” pace throughout this 35 minute run. I felt great even! Breathing steady until about 20:00 and not too bad beyond either, I only really broke a sweat towards the last ten minutes. Even my pulse didn’t sky-rocket like it usually does. I felt really proud and great at the end. I never ran a 5k before, treadmill or not! It was even more incredible given the total pig-out the night before, a giant burger and drinks too… so all in all a real surprise.
Before this week I was off the gym for nearly a full month; before that I averaged a paltry 1/week in December, mostly doing running and sometimes yoga when I really cbf. (Excuse: life got too busy.)
Amazingly over this long break my stamina didn’t deteriorate nearly as much as I thought it would, and even Monday’s run felt alright. Out of the three Wednesday was probably the biggest struggle but Friday felt positively great.
For me, not stopping at all and keeping such a good steady pace is totally unheard of. I put this quick and spectacular improvement down to running every other day, and I’m curious to see how much further it will improve before I plateau again.
And now gotta be off to bed… got a run tomorrow!