I am looking forward to taking part in my first Scottish Kilomathon this weekend. They call 13.1K the perfect running distance. With the Edinburgh half marathon fast approaching next month, it is bang on time in my training plan.
I always find the training for an event way harder than the actual day itself. I think back to this time last year when I would be setting off to do 20 mile long training runs around Edinburgh and East Lothian. Sometimes it got lonely and it took a crazy amount of mental strength to push through when my body felt drained.
An organised running event is so much easier in my opinion. Water stations are provided, a route is all set out. I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful city with such scenic running routes all around us.
On Sunday I won’t have to worry about crazy dogs running at me or traffic bringing me to a swift hault. There will be loads of us running together and crowds of people cheering. What’s not to love? It’s going to be extra special as it’s a full on family affair.
My brother Iain and I ran the Scottish Half together last year and now our older brother David, who lives in Spain, is coming over to do the kilomathon with us. David and I will start this together in the green pen, with Iain a little in front of us in the red zone (he’s competitive that lad). I am already looking forward to a glass of cold fizz at the end of it. With an 8.30am kick off, I think a post kilomathon champagne breakfast is on the cards.
This will be the 7th running medal I pick up. I have been running for just over 2 years now and there are still days that I need to drag myself off the sofa and lace up the shoes. I love to be lazy but I know that running is always going to be a part of my life. I know that I will never regret getting out there. The feeling of getting fitter as I cover more miles on the road is fantastic. It feels great to be able to run without my chest feeling tight. Running for the bus isn’t something I fear these days.
I had a training run this week around Arthur’s seat. During the first half of the run, the wind was against me big style. I compare this to my mind. Some days my mind is so against me going for a run. It tells me things like ‘just chill out at home, it’s too much effort’ or ‘you should have a break today, have some chocolate and a cup of tea and put your feet up’.
Taking even 30 minutes out of my day to exercise is really not that big a deal. My job requires me to be sat at a desk for hours. I need to prioritise time to be moving. The statistics in the press this week remind me of this. The heart breaker of 2017 is physical inactivity – costing the NHS 1.2 billion each year. That is insane but I get it. I understand. I understand how easy it is to put on weight. I understand that the mind can often naturally want us to be lazy. I also understand that slim doesn’t always mean strong. My goal is to be strong and healthy.
I love chatting to my inspirational Personal Trainer, Graeme Starkey at David Lloyd. He has clearly found his passion. Some have called it an obsession with exercise but in my eyes (and his) it is focus and determination. He gets results because he works extremely hard and he takes time to understand the science of nutrition and movement. For me, I need to surround myself with positive people. I’m not always strong enough on my own.
Graeme is teaching me to train smarter not harder. He had me pressing 80 kilos with my legs this week. I didn’t even know that was possible but those muscles exist and so they should after all the training I have been doing. He pushes me out of my comfort zone and that feels amazing.
Exercise is not only the most underused anti depressant – it feels fantastic. It gives me a natural, happy buzz. I am getting way less colds and bugs. I feel strong. I feel more confident as my body shape slowly continues to get leaner. I still love a party but overall I am drinking less alcohol because I don’t crave it as much.
I have friends who have used exercise to overcome powerful addictions such as smoking, food and gambling. Exercise has helped them to find their balance. Let’s not be intimidated by people who love fitness. Let’s not pigeonhole them as obsessed either. Let’s be inspired. Let’s be inspired by those who drag themselves away from their desks and off the sofa to get active. This doesn’t always mean going to the gym or for a run either.
I had a good old spring clean at the weekend. Cleaning is a great way to keep fit. Behind the scenes and for a bit of lighthearted banter, I have been sharing with my Instagram followers a snapshot of some of the movement I do at home. I now dance around the kitchen a lot more to music. It forces me to get away from the laptop for a bit and recharge. Music always has an impact on my mood and I cherish getting lost in it at home, with friends and when I run. On that note, I am off to make a playlist for the weekend.
Good luck to everyone taking part in the Kilomathon on Sunday. Give me a high five if you see me there. Run free and if you feel a bit of pain remember, that’s your body getting stronger. Push the pain away.