So I may have broken my little toe.
It’s not particularly painful, but it could mean I won’t be running for a few weeks. This did get me thinking about just how little exercise I have done over the past decade, and what I am doing about it.
There was a time when, to quote my doctor, I was an “icon of health and fitness”. I’m not sure how literal he was being, but until my early 20’s I played a lot of sport throughout the week and visited the gym most days after work.
Then I got lazy.
The sport stopped due to a medial ligament tear and other knee complications which still cause me problems today. I don’t have an excuse for giving up the gym, or slowly stopping to exercise at all.
It wasn’t until March last year (2016) that I realised just how unfit I was and how I needed to do something about it. This was around the time my friends convinced me to take part in a charity 5k race for Sports Relief. I hadn’t run for a number of years, but it was only 5k.
I finished the race, but not without walking for large parts and feeling like I’d run back-to-back marathons. It turns out nearly a decade of little exercise has quite an effect on the body.
I started with my local Park Run. For those unfamiliar with Park Run, these are free weekly organised 5k runs around the UK (and possibly elsewhere). Fortunately a number of friends ran Park Run, so the motivation to get up at 8am and attempt to run 5k was easier to come by.
My first goal was just to finish, whether running, jogging or walking. A few weeks later I was running the entire distance. I beat my PB each time over the next six weeks, I was running once a week and the sky seemed to be my limit. Suddenly, my times stopped improving.
I was still running every week but getting no better (what is better). This felt a little frustrating, nonetheless I planned to run a 10k race once a month so I assumed my fitness levels should naturally improve.
Fast forward a year and I have run five 10k races now. I still run Park Run most Saturdays, but my PB still remains from the end of that six week period. Motivation can still be hard to fine and I haven’t run as much as I would have liked.
There is still a long way to go, but I’m getting there.