I have never been overly athletic. I’ve always been active, but never the star of the team. I played womens soccer for years, and let’s just say that I didn’t take the penalty shots, or spear head any great comeback. I worked hard, but don’t have a lot of natural talent. And so, I learned early on that the talent I lack can be made up for by working hard. So I did that.
I married a very athletic man. Vince played rugby for 30+ years, he is a very good mountain biker, he runs Ultra marathons, and he has always been great at any sport he tries. Annoying? Kind of. When we hike, I’m always at the back. He’s always waiting for me on trail, and I laugh it off – but come on. Just one time I’d like to give him the “you’re doing great” speech.
Recently I started my coaching practice, and I am encouraging my clients to push themselves. Try something new. Don’t hold back. But the thing is, then I have to look in the mirror and ask myself if I’m doing the same. Walking the walk, as they say.
I listened to a podcast that asked the question, “is your mind in control of your body? Or is your body in control of your mind?” That question hit home for me, because I like to think my mind is strong, and it is in control. Except, when I am honest, I have quit quite a few things in the past few years that have gotten hard. Or uncomfortable. And so, maybe my body is controlling more than I realize.
As I said above, I have never considered myself an athlete at all. I did run a half marathon back in 2002, almost died. Iced my knees for 5 days afterwards. It hurt. And I had no aspirations of ever doing it again. I’m older now and much wiser.
So, I decided to start running. I mean it’s only putting one foot in front of the other. Consistently. For as long as you can. (Mind over body and all).
I’ve learned a few things about life, and so I have now completed my second run. But with a few adjustments in how I approach this new phase of life.
Here is what I’ve done differently.
- Hire a coach. I didn’t even hesitate with this one. My coach, Sarah, lays out my entire week of training in a program that I follow. I leave my ego at home, and run what she tells me to run. I wouldn’t even consider doing this without a coach. In the past, I would not have thought of a coach – because I’m not an athlete, remember. Turns out, not only the superstars need coaches. We all do. This time, Coach Sarah for the win.
- Get good gear. This one comes with time. I understand that not everyone can afford a $200 running vest, but you can source items on FB marketplace, and thelasthunt.ca. Ask around and find out if someone is upgrading or just looking to get rid of extra gear. The running community is pretty close, and so I have found that they are always looking to be supportive of each other. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
- Track your stats. This one requires some sort of Apple Watch, or FitBit solution. But it is quite fun to watch your stats. Even if they just stay the same, it’s proof that you are out there doing what you can. I am on Strava, and so my run is recorded there as well as Apple Health. I love updating my stats, and keeping track. I also track my food. But that goes back to a coach, most coaches will tell you to try to eat as good as you can while you are exercising. Which brings me to my next point.
- Eat like you love yourself. This is something that I need to work on. Consistently. I need to eat more protein, and watch what I eat. Mostly I watch it go into my mouth, but if I could do anything better – this would be it. You can hire a dietician and get some ideas, which I did. It helped with understanding what I need. I need 1500 calories a day to blink and breathe. Then add running, or weight training and that number goes up. There are a lot of food tracking apps and platforms out there for free, just remember that it doesn’t have to be fancy.
- Leave the ego at home. This one ties into coaching for me. My coach says to run 1 minute, walk 1 minute. That’s what I do. Even if, at the moment, I feel like I can do more. I follow the plan, and the ego is gone. That might come with age, but I think it comes more with experience. And on days when I am tired, or just not feeling it, I can feel the ego start to rise up. So I take 3 deep breaths, and leave it at home. I tell myself that the ego has no place on my run.
I am going to explore running more and more. If anything, it’s 45 minutes by myself.
And with myself.
Even if it becomes nothing more than that. And that might be enough. I invite you to continue on this journey with me. No running required.