When I was 19/20, I was so in shape it was ridiculous. I was like a racehorse, and could easily run 8-10 miles three times a week like it was nothing. Running came as naturally to me as breathing, and when I wasn’t running I was swapping in HIIT workouts and long stints on my exercise bike.
I got into running when I 17 and decided to do something about my unhappiness with my body. At first, my main form of exercise was cycling on an exercise bike but eventually I realised running came more naturally. When I first moved away to uni, I lived on the top floor of a student accommodation block and so I couldn’t do as many cycling/HIIT workouts without seriously pissing off the people living below. This meant I would go running up to four times a week, and without realising it I was running up to 6, 7, and eventually 10 miles… even after I’d been out the night before!
After I ran my first half marathon, my running routine slowly dwindled and I started running less. When I no longer had a ‘goal’ or event that I was training for, motivation started to dip, and running slowly fell out of my habits. I started my final year of uni, and with the stress of a dissertation and a part time job, I started exercising when I had time rather than making time for it as I did before. The break from running wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if anything it made me realise how obsessive I had become with my running routine, and I was beginning to use it as a way to overcome the guilt I associated with eating.
Exercise is something I think everyone dips in and out of. It’s very easy to start exercising in the cooler months when you have time, and just as easy to quickly drop it in the summer when pub gardens and BBQ’s are more appealing that pulling on a sticky pair of leggings and battling with a sports bra. The trick is to find an exercise you like, even if your fav part of that exercise routine is when it’s over!
I found that I really like HIIT DVD workouts because they are normally less than 30 minutes, and once you find one you like it’s easy to progress and stick to it. I tend to use Josie Gibson’s 30 Second Slim , Josie Gibson’s 21 Day Fat Burn or Charlotte Crosby’s 3 Minute Belly Blitz . I tend to run three times a week, and then switch in these fitness DVD’s as well as cycling and hula hooping.
Somehow, four pairs of running shoes and five years later, I’m still running. I recently switched jobs which means more time of my own, and I’ve gradually started to rebuild my fitness.
I’m not quite back to my 8-mile runs, but I’m definitely fitter than I was 6 months ago. Even during our recent heatwave in the UK, I’ve tried to get up early and run at least 4 miles before the sun catches up with me, and I’m slowly but surely learning (again) that running doesn’t have to be a punishment for eating bad food, and is actually something I enjoy!
I’ve found that exercising in the morning has really helped me get back into it. Whereas when I was 17/18 and still at school, I didn’t really have a choice but to exercise in the evenings, and somehow that used to work for me. But now that I’m older and working and not as sprightly as I once was, if I get out and go in the mornings, then I’m not letting myself dread working out when I get home, and I’ve got much more energy for the day ahead. So I think my advice is just go before your body has registered it’s sleepy.
As much as we punish ourselves for breaks in exercise routines, and especially those evenings where you think ‘Yeanoooooooo’, you just have to be kind to yourself and remember there is always time to get back into healthy habits.
Running leggings – La Redoute
Top – Sports Direct