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I went running... & I was blowing out my a$$

About 13 years ago, the consultant for my scoliosis told me I needed to ditch the running. I had major muscle spasms in my back, the repeated high impact was playing a role and I felt like if I had to pick between dance and running that dance would win. It was a shame, I’d got pretty quick (for me) but tbh I would have done anything I was told at that point to stop the incessant pain. 


I still jogged a bit, like in a class or whatever but just not the 15 or so miles a week I was doing before. Now there was probably nothing wrong with running for me… but I wasn’t doing any resistance training at that time and the rest of my body probably wasn’t strong enough to support the insane amount of cardio I was doing. So something had to give. 


Wind the clock on to now and I’m back running, under the watchful eye of my Sports Therapist, Luke Morgan and thanks to the resistance training I’ve been doing over the years. I have zero plans to go back to the 3 or 4 decent length runs a week I was doing and am instead limited to one lap of the lakes… that’s about 2.5-3km. 

The first time I went about 4 weeks ago it took me just over 23 minutes. Now bearing in mind I could have run a 5k in that time before, it was a bit of a shock. My feet felt like flippers, my ankles didn’t seem to know what to do and it all felt very clunky. But it got done. I felt proud. 


The 2nd time it took 19 minutes. The 3rd time, 16 minutes and the 4th time, 14 minutes. And now, I get to go twice a week for the same distance so I get the adaptations from doing it twice without having to add on any more distance, worsening technique and repetitive impact. (Luke’s advice because he’s a clever dude). 


Imagine if the first time, when I was blowing out of my backside, had put me off. I could have berated myself for being slower than I was a decade before. I could have had my confidence dented. I could have thought people were looking at me because I couldn’t seem to use my damn ankles. I could have decided it wasn’t worth doing. But I didn’t… and one of the reasons is because I am used to not being able to do something first time. It’s a daily occurrence with lifting weights. 


And this is the point I want to labour. EVERYTHING feels hard the first time we do it. And probably the second and third time. It can be really annoying, especially if it’s something we were good at when we were younger. Maybe we’ve had a break for a decade (like me), maybe we’ve had babies, maybe we’ve had an injury, there are a million reasons why we could have had time off from something fitness related. And there are a million reasons why we should try again, even if it’s with a slightly different goal in mind this time. 


I have zero plans to train for a race again or to enter any kind of fun run etc. I’m just doing it because I want to. For me. My ego left the building a long time ago and I no longer care if I’m faster than other people. I just want to be outside, feeling myself get better at something and letting my body have a workout that’s completely different from the more interval style workouts it has in dance fitness. 

If you are pondering starting something again but you are put off because you think you’ll be ‘worse at it’ than you were 10 years ago, know this. You will be worse at it the first time, accept that now before you even start. But that has zero bearing on where it can go after the first few times are done… or how many benefits it could bring you moving forward. 


As we get older, it can be easy to use our age as a reason for why we feel tired, achey, less able. But it doesn’t have to be. Some folk are not lucky enough to be able to move their body as they age, so for those of us that can, let’s count our blessings by continually looking to challenge ourselves, mentally and physically. 


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