The fact there is a 7am might be the first thing on many people’s lists of “9 life lessons learned power walking at 7am” but not for me. I have always been an early riser, not so much for any need to see the sunrise or to get the most out of the day but because I just like getting up early. I don’t enjoy lying in bed because as soon as I wake up I need a wee and to brush my teeth so that done I just can’t get back into bed. I also believe that the more routine you have in your life the better you sleep, so I set the alarm for 6.15 every morning, and tend to go bed around 10pm.
7am then is an old friend and when I decided I was going to start pounding pavements this year it seemed to be the perfect time, which leads me to the first thing I have learned:
Every journey starts with a single step.
Yes, that is a cliche, but it is true. It doesn’t matter if you are doing ten minutes or 10K, you have to do that first step. Equally if you set out to do half an hour or half a marathon and have to stop short you still did what you did that day. 20 minutes or 12 miles is still to be celebrated.
Routines make a difference.
A good friend of mine recently said “control your controllables” and it struck a chord for me. Knowing you are in control of certain aspects of your day If you want to get out regularly for a walk, a jog, a 10km run, schedule it for a specific time that works for you. For me that is immediately after I get up in the morning because I can get it done, then shower and do the rest of my day.
Having the right kit makes a difference.
It really helps to have specific clothes for power walking, running or jogging. And whilst I live in leggings and a tunic I felt it was important to get some just for this because it helps to get you in the zone and to get your head in the right place. I guess like people putting a uniform on for work.
Music always helps, whatever the situation.
Make a playlist but make it a really long one so you don’t have to repeat it too often. Mine is 7 hours long, and I am only out for a fraction of that time. But whilst I thought having Eye of the Tiger at the start was a great idea, three days in I was sick of it. Having a 7 hour play list now means I don’t have to repeat it, I can leave it where it ends when I get home and start it up again the following day, with no repeats. Apart from One Day Like This by Elbow, that can be on a loop.
Your biggest critic is in your head.
My reasons for not exercising publicly stem from school but that was 35 years ago. Why should those voices be louder than my own that says “yay I did that today”?
Comparison is the thief of joy
Always. So when you see people older or bigger than you sprinting past you DO NOT COMPARE yourself to them. They are doing their thing and you are doing yours. And you are doing yours brilliantly.
Do you know this phrase? It relates to doing the toughest task first. There’s one at the end of our road (let’s be honest it is no Scarfell Pike, it’s a slight incline) and knowing I have done it and dont have to when I am tired feels like a win ten minutes in.
Water is essential to life
We need to drink more of it. We need to feel it on our skin falling out of the sky. Staring at it boosts our mental health. If you run near a river, canal or lake take time
Breaks don’t mean you are broken
This is a game changer and I think when you believe this, it feels like a real switch. Having started moving I then had a couple of days off and initially I beat myself up, telling myself I had failed. I hadn’t of course, and as the great Ross Geller once put it “we were on a break”.