7 secrets to start and not stop PLUS enjoy running, and moving the body moves the mind.

bareaccess_fushI’ve entered the Auckland 1/2 Marathon.

Race day is next weekend – Sunday 31 October 2016 – to be precise.

I’m running for the Mental Health Foundation, although pardon me, but i don’t know how to sign up (yet) so people can sponsor me /donate to this cause. Stay tuned.

It’s pretty much a decade ago i engaged with the reality i could run 21.1 kms – out of choice.

I’ll tell you my story in a bit BUT before that YOU can run. Here’s my tips i share with my Mum, my Dad, my friends and foes…

7 Secrets to start and not stop PLUS enjoy Running

Before you start the physical act of running or moving your body through space, take the opportunity to remind yourself:
a) why do i want to run?
b) stay light-hearted and good-humoured
c) keep with a curiosity toward the process and the physical and emotional feelings which arise before, during and after running.
d) keep calm, encouraging and carry on
e) treat yourself as you would your best friend

The physical act:
1) Start running on the flat. And in fact before you start running on the flat, start walking on the flat i.e. leave hills for later on down the track, further into your running ‘career’.

2) Choose pretty paths/places. Get in your car/on the bus and transport yourself to an attractive place to run. This will help with motivating you and keeping you keen. Soak up your surroundings. Get ‘mindful’ on it, and literally observe/notice nature e.g. i can see a huge oak tree with new leaves, i can hear a tui, i can feel the sun hot on my face or the rain running down my cheeks etc. You may prefer to do trail runs (through the bush or on gravel paths) as opposed to road/pavements.

3) Buy some new fresh shoes you feel happy in. I used to run in Asics 180 (i don’t know what number they’re up to now). But husband has researched a lot into natural running/barefoot running so i’m now running in a Merrell low-profile shoe. I used to go to Smiths Sports Shoes for my Asics and buy them on sale, but this time round i found they didn’t have an adequate range of low-profile/minimalistic shoe. But this is probably way too technical for the beginner runner. I’ll do a wee segue later on about barefoot running.

4) Choose socks which suit you. Some like running in a thicker, sponge-i-er sock (gives more cushioning). Some like a thin sock (cos they don’t like getting hot feet etc). Some like a woollen sock, some a synthetic. My advice is to buy one thick, one thin and try them out i.e. don’t go for a two pack of one type.

5) Get an outfit (or two) you feel ‘sexy’ in. Bahahaha. Just kidding. But sort of not kidding. Choose an outfit which you feel comfortable in and feel mildly to wildly attractive in (depending on how you like to roll). I like to go for a cotton lycra cycle short, so i don’t chafe and i like the feeling of my thighs being ‘supported’ slash ‘held together’ rather than wobbling. But that’s me. I’ve seen plenty of man and woman folk, wearing the classic polyester short short, well. I like a snug light cotton t.shirt. I like a cap (it keeps the sun from destroying my dehydrated-can’t-spot-a-drinking-fountain-thanks-tauranga-city-council-state-of-being). NB: with the cycle pant you can get ones with little pockets for a key or jellybean or ipod. EXTRA NB: If you have an old-school car you can tie your metal key onto your shoelace, i haven’t attempted this with the square black plastic fancy ones of the now. EXTRA EXTRA NB: In winter i like to run with 1) long leggings (with some reflector strips on them and the aforementione pockets) 2) 2 x ice-breaker thin merino tops (with the zipped high neck) 3) normal black gold topped woolmix socks i’d wear if i wasn’t running 4) neck warmer  people often wear when skiing 5) headband which goes over ears people often wear skiing 6) Ice breaker merino thin gloves. I don’t bother with a raincoat unless it’s REALLY pissing down, or ice-chilling-ly windy. 7) You could top it off with a headlamp. P.S. I keep all my running gear in a cube shaped large-ish box (i found at k mart), then i don’t have to get de-motivated cos i ‘can’t find anything to wear for my run’.

6) Experiment with listening to music in earphones. Create a playlist with up-beat tunes that help you to feel ECSTATIC.

7) After you’ve done zero to several months of walking, slowly at first, and then briskly at last, enrol in a running event. A 10km? A 21.1km? I use cool running to search for an event. I can key in when/where/distance/road or trail…Once you’ve chosen a race, look on their website for a training programme (there’s definitely a beginners 1/2/ marathon programme on the Auckland Marathon site) and then follow it to a tee. Run, rain, (maybe not hail) but shine. You may like to join a runners group e.g. Mount Joggers OR you may prefer to run alone. You may be like me and LOVE running with your mate. It’s a hot date. Getting sweaty, competitive and beating your hearts together. Back to signing up for an event: I say enrol in a event and i’ll add TELL people you have. Having a programme to follow with a timeline with a date to strive for, helps keep a focus, maintain momentum and even if you don’t end up running the race, makes you train. Do you want to enter a road race or a off-road/trail race? NB: Many programmes include cross training i.e. walking, pilates, yoga. Husband read the other day the stronger one’s core is, the easier it is to run, as the body can give energy and focus to the act of running rather than working to keep the core strong.

Added extra RUNNING TECHNIQUES: If you enjoy being a geek you could look into chi running, natural running or forefoot running. Here are some links i find intriguing:

1) Chi Running http://www.chirunning.com/blog/entry/10-components-of-good-running-form

2) Natural Running http://naturalrunningcenter.com/

3) Forefoot Running http://www.livestrong.com/article/548657-benefits-of-front-foot-running/

There are courses one can do in these different running techniques. There are also physiotherapists who specialise in coaching you in these and other styles. The idea is to explore a way of running which avoids injury or unnecessary strain on the body.

Added extra extra MEASURING YOUR ROUTE: Map my run is a great site. It has suggested routes defined by kilometre. Once you’ve been for a run you can ‘map out’ how many kilometres it was.

How running helps me:
* I get a sore lower back. When i run regularly, the ache (especially after sleeping) is non-existent. I’ve tried walking (briskly and regularly) but it doesn’t have the same effect, in fact my lower back gets more sore.

* I am a Mum with a busy home-life, where little people ask me to do…running gives me some space out of the home, away from the requests and needs of others. I love that i’m outside in nature. I love that i can wrap my feet in some shoes and run out the front door. I can squeeze in a 30 minute run before husband goes to work, or when he gets home before dinner.

* I think it’s because i’m getting endorphins from running, rather than from food, but when i’m in training i have less ‘neediness’ to eat for the sake of eating. I prefer eating when i’m hungry rather than out of needing to fill my ‘life’ up, or gain control, or feel like i’m giving myself a ‘treat’. Running becomes a ‘treat’. I have heard eating less is a physical instinct as the body recognises it’s easier to run, when one is lighter…Curious. I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

* I get processing time. I get to mull over the day, the current learning. I get some space from a difficult situation. I may find a solution to a problem. I get to watch my thinking, view my mind. On a special day i have a eureka moment.

* I’ve reflected close family have used running to ward off ‘the blues’, to help ‘lift them out of a rut’. I’ve often mused that after a car journey i feel like a transported/transformed person. I feel different. Could it be that mere movement of the body moves the mind? Can a physical shift inspire a ‘mind’ / ’emotional’ shift? Moving stale air out of the body, inhaling fresh air (fresh perspective). Inhalation is synonymous with Inspiration. Then how many metaphors of meaning occur around the heart. Get to the ‘heart of the matter’, ‘at the heart of it’. The therapy of allowing our heart to beat strongly. That sunny feeling of working through the difficulty to triumph. All of this is GOLD, or our treasure.

* I feel happy. It’s a challenge for most, of each, run. It feels uncomfortable. I feel like from the outside ‘it looks hard’. I can feel self-conscious of my running style. I catch myself making up what a passerby may be saying/thinking about me. But i love that quote,

“What other people think of me is none of my business – Wayne Dyer.”

My story – how i started running:
I was living in France in my 20s. I was in love with the millefeuille and had designed a personal quest to find the best of this custardy-kind in this sumptuous country. The way to award this first placing, was of course to taste-test whenever and wherever i boarded a train for a new town slash patisseries. My girth started to resemble this thousand papered tart, with her glorious wobble. PS. I still wobble, wobble is humane! I dimple too – just for the record. A friend Natalie came to visit. She had started to run. She could run (non stop) for an hour. I was in awe. We talked, late night, over affordable and good red wine from Bordeaux. Was it possible? For me? Probable even?

I found a human-made lake with a pretty and a flat circular track around it. I biked to the track. I walked the track. A few times a week. A month or so later i began a walk / jog relationship with this little lake and path where men played petanque on the outskirts of my French home-town Marmande.

In 2005 i flew home to Aotearoa, wanting to go back eventually, to France. I love that land. The temperature. The language. The fruit and vegetables. The light. How i feel there – i still yearn for at times.

To ease me back into a new / old way of living and to help the sadness fade i decided to enrol in the Auckland 1/2 marathon that saw me run across the Auckland Harbour Bridge. I printed out the (then 10 week, now 12 week) beginners programme. I blue-tacked it to the wall. I visited Smiths Sports Shoes. I ran exactly as the programme suggested. There were wet days. There was unbearable stop me in my tracks ‘stitch’. There were new parts and pathways of beautiful Auckland to discover e.g. the harbour kissing walkway around Te Atatu Peninsula. There were new mental barriers to meet and as ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ professes, you have to go through it.

I’d like to say at this point, my road to becoming more fit probably took a little over 6 months (as i had started those picturesque walks french Springtime (April), and then ran the 1/2 marathon in kiwi Springtime (October). I encourage any of you, whether you’d like to alleviate body pain, change your body shape, model healthy choices to your children, try something new, help yourself out of ‘a hole’ to START, and to be patient with yourself. Think of it like the slow food movement. The slow fit movement. The slow movement movement. Your fitness journey may take 1 year? 2 years? Stay loving. Keep the faith. AND i’d love to hear your stories…

I thank Natalie Hawthorne for running, for sharing her enthusiasm for it with me and assuring me, i too, could enjoy the beast of moving my body through space in the form of a run.

Back in 2005 i ran to find happiness again in my new/old land. I didn’t sign up for that 1/2 marathon to do a particular time. I ran for ME.

This time round i’m a slower runner than 11 years ago. My body has given birth. I have a strong but full mind. I’m running to run. I may have to run for longer than i ever have done before, longer than 2 hours 5 minutes (my time in 2005). As my little bro says, i can run until i can but walk. And as i say, i can stop, get picked up on the side of the road, if my legs or mind can’t carry me to the 21.1 km defined finish line.

In the past i’ve dedicated kilometres to special people, some no longer physically with us. Some kilometres i’ve dedicated to the bodies who can’t run (at present). This run i’m going to run like i did in 2005 for ME, and for all the other MEs out there.

May we all love and accept and encourage and allow ourselves and all people to BE.

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