If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you

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Week Five, Day One: 20 April

Following the last run I was on a high all day. It really felt like something had clicked and I was looking forward to week five. I will let you into a secret; as you know I wasn’t sure how far I would get with this challenge, and am still not at all certain that I will make it to the end, but I really didn’t want to quit before the half way mark. I thought not even getting that far would be a failure. Yes, I know, one of my aims at the beginning of this adventure was to change my attitude towards success and failure. But as I have said before it is not like flicking a switch, change isn’t that easy, it is something you have to work on until it becomes your new normal, your default position. So, I am not going to get myself into a tizzy about this. Typing this, an idea from Mindfulness came into my head ‘You don’t have to believe everything you think’. When I first came across this it really resonated with me. It’s easy to get stuck in certain ways of thinking which have developed over time and have been ingrained by your upbringing and environment. So what this says to me is not to think as you have always thought, but to continuously question your view point with regard to yourself and the world around you.

I looked at the schedule for the first run in week five the day before I was due to run it and thought Okay, that’s manageable, I can do that all week and that will get me over the half way mark. Yippee. Week five run breakdown, 5-minute warm up walk, 5-minute run, 3-minute walk, 5-minute run, 3-minute walk, 5-minute run. Although the number of longer runs has increased there are longer walks in between them, and it is only 15 minutes running in total, whereas in week 4 the runs added up to 16 minutes…A piece of cake.

When I woke up on the morning of the run I didn’t feel great. Nothing specific, but a bit tired and lethargic, and not in the mood. It was another glorious morning and Dog and I were up and out by 6.15am with Spacemen 3 on the soundtrack.

I started the app and the first thing that Sarah Millican says is that this is the first of three different runs in week five. Not feeling great to start with this news brought me even lower. I had been confident in my assumption that this week would continue in the same vein as before, with the three runs being identical. But this week they were all going to be different and presumably harder! This knocked my new-found confidence at first, but not for long as I decided to take my own advice and not worry about what was to come but to focus on the present. I also reasoned that the programme had got me this far and so I should trust in it to take me further.

These three 5-minute runs weren’t easy, especially the last one when the bridge nearly got the better of me, but I managed to complete them and keep up a brisk walk in between. I felt I had gone back a step, as today felt much more difficult than the previous one. Not just because the runs had changed but because I felt out of sorts, my limbs felt heavy, my feet felt clumsy and my breathing was more laboured. There were also people around – 2 dog joggers, 1 dog walker and 1 rambler. It looks like I am going to have to get up even earlier if I want the place to myself! As I have mentioned before I find it distracting when other people are about, and this makes it difficult to focus on my running. But there is something else; I just love the feeling of being the only person out there, it kind of feels more intimate, if that makes sense? I can completely lose myself in nature, and in my thoughts.

If you are thinking of doing something similar take care to stay safe.

To do this I am:

  • Keeping social distancing. I aim to get out by 6.30am (I am a lark not an owl), so there are very few people around, and if I do meet them I stay 2 meters away.
  • I have my phone with me, and someone knows where I am going and when I am due back.
  • And, of course, I have Dog with me.
Top tips to keep you safe and well during this strange time.
  • Keep to the self-isolating and social distancing rules.
  • Keep in contact with friends, family, and, of course, Restore.
  • Find a routine and stick to it (I can’t emphasize enough how important this is)
  • Every day do something for your physical and mental well-being. On the days I am not running I go out for a walk. I am also doing a 21-day meditation challenge with 2 friends. This benefits my well-being as well as keeping me connected every day. There are plenty of meditation apps out there, but if that isn’t your thing then find something that nurtures your soul. This can be as simple as listening to the birds sing or gazing up at the stars.
  • Set yourself a challenge. This could be big or small, it’s entirely up to you.

These are just a few ideas and there are plenty more out there. The Restore website has a directory of useful and trusted websites with information, tips and ideas, here.

The Reluctant Jogger and Dog