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Not All Change Is Physical

Author: Amy Cooper

Hi, I’m Amy and I joined the Rock My Wedding Team at the start of the year. With Lisa on maternity leave you’ll be hearing more from the wider RMLtd team over the next few months.

On January 9th, this year I started running. For me to start rather than to just talk about it was already a triumph.

As a complete beginner and life long loather of long distance running I knew I wanted/had to use an app. Having heard many success stories from friends that had started running using such 0 – 5k apps I felt confident in them, not so much myself. After a browse in the app store I decided to go with the 5k app by Fitness 22.

I was not alone in this crazy plan to ditch my couch potato status to regular runner in all its lycra glory. I had begun this journey with two friends. Mums from school, fellow novice runners that happen to be neighbours – perfect. We all work part time so scheduled running in the evening on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a sneaky run on a Sunday morning. Pre-arranging our days early on really helped with forming some structure for our week and committed us further to the program.

This little app assured us that after 8 weeks, with three runs a week, we would be able to run for 35 minutes flat and would run a distance of 5k. Oh how we laughed. As much as we wanted to do it, it didn’t truly feel like a possibility.

Run 1 was hard. I was unfit, carrying an extra layer of Christmas that I may well have jingled as I moved but I was happy, really happy.

The app works in a way to build up your running times. At the beginning the runs are 1 minute, which felt like an hour, followed by walking for a minute, over and over. The runs got longer and the first milestone came when we ran for 5 whole minutes! We were exhausted and elated. Then came 7 minutes, 10 minutes gently increasing and blending in with the walking breaks.

We ran in snow, ice, rain and wind. Not once did we slack off or catch a dose of excuse’itis. Perhaps a little TMI but not even periods stopped us, a clear sign we were hooked.

I was really surprised at how much I looked forward to run nights and how fast the weeks flew. I had been re-gifted the motivation that I have lacked for a long time.

Reaching the last run on that app was monumental and to honour our first 5k we also ran it as a virtual race. I’m not sure if it was sweat or it was the pride physically bursting out. We were empowered and we were runners!

For me, I feel running has been of huge benefit to my mental wellbeing. It has afforded myself time for me and creating some much needed head space. As a mother to three ‘me time’ has historically meant that I have successfully visited the toilet alone. Running with friends has been especially lovely.

Recently I read a quote that hit the nail on the head ‘not all change is physical.’ What a completely accurate statement. I haven’t lost any weight running. One of the girls has lost a stone. We both feel equally pleased and proud of our accomplishment.

I am still running as often and am taking part in OutrunMay raising money for Macmillan.

What apps have you used to get yourself exercising? Anyone else made new friends whilst getting fitter?

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Author: Amy Cooper
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24 thoughts on “Not All Change Is Physical

  1. Hi Amy, couldn’t agree with you more about running ‘not just being physical’. Forget all the new baby equipment recommendations I would say running my no. 1 recommendation after having a baby, especially after no. 2 comes along! It has honestly saved my sanity 😂 x

    1. Absolutely, I wish I had started sooner but it’s never too late. I’m all for that sanity saving x

  2. This is perfectly timed for me – I was just looking into 5k app’s yesterday. I’ve never really liked running, but desperately need some “time out” after having my second baby at Christmas. This does seem like a really sensible way of starting, and you’ve given me a push to definitely start! Thank you!!

  3. Hello Amy! Well done you, that’s awesome. So glad you’re loving your runs- I heard running described as moving meditation and that’s true for me: it’s this glorious space that’s just me and my body and the landscape. I started running in January 2013 in similar post Christmas circumstances and it has changed my life- I’ve done 3 10k races and a sprint triathlon, things I never thought I could do. I’m 4 weeks on from baby 2, and I cannot wait for the next 2 weeks to pass so I can put toddler in bed, shove baby at my husband and get that first horrible run out the way. Target a 10k in September. Let’s go!

    1. Ah thanks so much and well done you! How perfect is that ‘moving meditation’ so true. There seems to be a real comradery between runners too which is just lovely. Good luck with your 10k xx

  4. This is a great achievement, well done. For years I’ve had a hate hate relationship with running. I could go an hour on the cross trainer with ease but running? No chance.
    At the start of the year I started running. And this time I slowed down. All this time I had been running too quickly and burning myself out within 5 minutes. Now I can run for 30 minutes and feel so proud of myself. Just by going at a slower pace, I’ve been able to built up and even add some inclines into the mix. I’m enjoying myself too and it’s great to clear my mind at the end of the day.
    It’s interesting you say about not losing any weight. I’ve heard that people often put on muscle from running, which is no bad thing. It’s certainly toned my legs and bum.
    Well done you and to all the novice runners out there, keep going if you’re enjoying it.

    1. Fantastic! Well done you. It’s amazing how you can know and trust your own body. It’s definitely time to step off the scales, life is far too stressful to put that pressure on top x

  5. Well done Amy, your amazing!
    Being a fellow runner myself I couldn’t agree more with you, running gives me the head space I need! I was never a runner and never attempted any exercise since I left school, many years ago! The first time I ran I was bright red and totally out of breath thinking I am never doing that again…….I did! Each time it got easier and I started to enjoy it! I found me again, not a wife, not a mummy, me, my thoughts were my own, I could put the world to rights and in my mind achieve anything!! I’m now 3 years into running, I have ran 3 half marathons and I cry at the finish line every time, as I can’t believe I have achieved such a thing!!
    Anyone who is thinking of running, do it, do it for you, do it for us fellow mums, fellow runners, We can do it, and we have!!!!

    1. Ah Jo!!!! I couldn’t even imagine running a marathon but it’s all about those goals. You’re ace!!

  6. Well done! My husband took my daughter the other morning and I went for my first run in years! It was not pretty, and spectacularly slow with many walking breaks, but the sense of achievement when the sweat starts pouring is immense. So impressed with your achievement, those apps seem to be brilliant.

    1. How lovely is that! to go running with Dad is so nice. Well done for going. Starting is so hard isn’t it? Self doubt is so easy to give in to but the feeling when you actually do it is immeasurable, fantastic, keep going x

  7. Amy I couldn’t agree with the sentiment of this more!! I did couch to 5k a few years ago to start my journey to being more active, and whilst it turned out that running isn’t really for me in general, I returned to doing something active to help deal with a period of wedding / general life stress at the start of this year and it really helps so much with my mental health. It helps me clear my mind, get a fresh perspective, and sometimes where I need it, just get some aggression out!! My current activity tends to revolve around pilates, swimming and HIIT – I am hoping I can keep it up for my mind’s sake alone!! xx

    1. I am so glad, so it gave you motivation to do something else and it’s true isn’t it, the mind needs it as much as the body. You can’t see a before and after photo of that I guess xxxx

  8. Couldn’t agree with you more Amy – I started running with one of the 5K apps in February 2014 and haven’t looked back since, going on to complete 10K races and a half marathon. I was never into sport beforehand and taking up running has really been a positive move for me. Personally I don’t enjoy the racing so much but rather just heading out on my own and seeing where I end up and how far I can push myself. I now notice the difference if there is ever a time when I’m not able to go running and get super grumpy. Keep it up!

    1. Did you? That’s fantastic! They really are changing peoples lives, I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true. I definitely know what you mean about the grumps. I am still shocked that I actually still want to keep going, keep running. I genuinely thought I would quit. Go us xx

  9. Ahh love this, I never saw myself as a runner and hated it whenever I tried. My husband managed to talk me into a couch to 10k training plan, which lead to entering a race, then another and before I knew it I’d completed a 10 hour overnight marathon over a lot of mountains. A few years ago this would have been totally unthinkable!
    You are so right that it is isn’t just physical, we’ve used races to travel and see the world and my husband and I do all our best talking in the mountains. We make most of our life decisions whilst out running. Something about not having any electronic or life distractions seems to put us in the right mindset to really think.

    I found the book ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’ by Murakami on the influence running had on his life really motivating 🙂 Keep on running!
    Xx

    1. Wow Victoria, that sounds amazing! What wonderful memories you are making together too, I am completely jealous. I think the talking thing is great when running. My running buddies and I chat and set our little worlds to right and come home happy. We always burst out laughing at ourselves when we stop talking every now and again, saying we must have been ‘in the zone’ I don’t think we knew we even had zones before haha. And you, thanks for taking the time to write xx

  10. This is great Amy – I started a 6 week beginners running course last night to get me to 5k and I’m loving it already! I may be the only one sub 50 but we are all there for the same reason and it’s great to have others to run with.

  11. Totally agree! I started running 2 years ago and agree that running is a mental change, it has helped with the physical but only by changing the way I thought about food. I actually gained weight when I started running because I thought I could eat whatever I wanted. Not the case! I love the feeling of accomplishment afterwards and have made so many new friends since running. Let me know if you ever want a running buddy! Park Run is also a great free 5k every week on Saturday mornings all over the country xxx

    1. Becki you have been such an inspo for me to be honest. I love how you fell hook line for it. It is completely addictive and the sense of accomplishment is just awesome. I would love to run with you! I am probably too slow for you though xx

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