Coach yourself

(A little aside before I launch into this post) I have been most confused.   My latest blog post on my summer hit parade of sewing makes has not been showing but I’d been getting comments on it.  And when I looked on more than just my PC & encountered the same conundrum I really was puzzled.  However, for those of you on WordPress I think this is what has happened.  I started to draft it at the end of August, & WordPress has therefore published it in the midst of other posts I was writing at that time.  People who commented have been seeing it as a new subscription.  There you go.  That’s one to remember!  Anyway where was I?

Ok peeps!  Hold tight!  I’m going running in this post!  Every now again I splash a dash of the stern stuff into the fabric swaddled cocktail that is this blog.  It usually comes after a period of self doubt, lack of morale & a fair amount of self loathing for being in a running rut.  “My running” is my companion.  Sometimes we are friends & it lives beside me as my gazelle-like vision, frequently it is like a pack on my back filled with rocks.  Every now & then I have epiphanies that invariably lead to a period of motivation & the gazelle is unleashed.

Click on picture for source

During these moments of madness I’m interested in sharing the running love, if I can tempt anyone else out there to kick start their motivation, then writing a bit about my latest formula for combatting my psychology is worth it.  And what never fails to surprise me is when I write the odd running post, there a number of comments by sewers who run, or who are like me & want to run…but….so here goes.

Be your own running coach

For me it helps to understand why I want to run, why is it important to me?  What kind of goal do I need to motivate me?  During my day job we come across coaching models & I always apply them to “me & my running”.   This has really helped me to get to the bottom of why I keep persevering at something I never did as a child, am not particularly good at & somehow perversely want to succeed at.  By asking myself “why is running important to me” & writing my first gut responses onto pieces of paper I started to uncover the inner secret.  You need to persist & get at least 10 things down.  No particular order at first.  But once you have them you then look at the list & do some serious prioritisation until you end up with a ranked list of 10 reasons running is important to you with at the top, the holy grail, the truth.  Now this is as it is now, & could change as circumstances change.  But looking at my list are you interested to know that at the top is “Being outside” with “Fit & healthy” second?  Near the bottom is “races are fun” (well we all know that’s a lie, don’t we….but the idea of them is fun!)  From this I can see that I don’t enter races to motivate me, but now at the forefront of my mind is that getting out running is my way to get outside when I have a sedentary office job & sewing as an obsession.   I now know how important it is to me when actually it was ticking away in my subconscious in a place that I hadn’t accessed.  You could try this for yourself & see what you come up with, but I tell you, once you know, it makes you enjoy your run more when you do get out there.

But how do you get out there?

Top tip for “just getting out there”

Know the minimum you would need to run to be satisfied that you have “been for a run”, whether it’s time or distance.  Find a route that starts from your front door (or from your place of work if that’s when you plan to run) that satisfies this criteria.  For me it is a 3 mile loop with hills, but in the past it has been a lap of the playing field.  This is your non negotiable default run.  No thinking required, just put on your gear, get out there & do it.  You can expand it, do it twice or three times if you want to, but be clear that once is enough.  This is what I run in my lunch time when working at home.  I don’t dither, it gets done, I get outside.  I always feel good at the end of it!

Things can happen for a reason

To fuel this feel good week of running, serendipity struck (that feels like an oxymoron).  That same day, when I dug deep & looked at “my running” a work newsletter announced a work’s team being formed to train together for next March’s Half marathon (for which I already entered).  The joy & excitement that brought me (despite “running with others” being in the bottom half of my 10) was pretty cool!  Not only could I start to train for the Half way in advance of my usual post Christmas grin-&-bear it, I mean this will be nearly 6 month’s worth of training….might I actually enjoy it more?  Might I actually be stronger, fitter & find that “races are fun”?!  Also might it mean that I am less anonymous & could I even set myself a time target?  Hmmmm.  Interesting that one.  How competitive will I be? And with the snowball effect, in that spirit of knowing how much I want to be outdoors I also did something incredibly fool hardy.  I signed up for a series of 10k trail runs.  Insanity really has taken me over, never having done any trail running these are run over the winter, one a month & you can only begin to imagine the mud, the slips, the slopes, the rain, the wind, the tree roots & ups & downs, the mud.  Hey, I think  I’m revisiting some misspent youth when getting dirty wasn’t allowed!  I promise to get REALLY dirty & take pictures.

So since this I have looked at “my running” with new eyes.  I’ve a rough plan for when I go running: Tuesdays (evenings with a ladies group), Thursdays lunch run (or which ever day I work from home) and Sundays at the moment.    Once the work training launches next month I will reappraise my plan.

So, how’s your running going?  Do you know why it’s important to you?  If you try this approach I’d love to know whether it helps you get out of a running rut.  I’m starting another page here [Run Badger Run] to collect my running thoughts on, races I’m committing to and also including my running music.  No idea why anyone should be interested, but if you’re anything like me, much thought goes into discovering music to run to.  Getting the order right so that your faves get most air time with some pick me ups placed for moments of flagging might spread some new ideas.  We could share!

(Why all the pics of beaches?  My favorite places to run ….)

45 thoughts on “Coach yourself

  1. Joanne

    Even though I don’t run for obvious reasons at the moment, and have never been a big runner, I found this very motivational. Can you re-publish in six months time?! Oh I know – I’ll set a reminder in google calendar with the link!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      If you are able to bring exercise into your life in six months with baby, I shall be looking to you for inspiration Joanne!! It is possible though and if this can help, then I’d be really pleased :-)

      Reply
  2. shivani

    This is so motivational Winnie. I am dead keen to start running – though I’m my own worst enemy and have been talking myself out of it. This post is exactly what I needed. I’m going to work on my list of ten this evening! x

    Reply
  3. MariaDenmark

    I run. Not because I enjoy it (I really don’t, most of the time), but because I need to move my body, and this works for me. I run for those few minutes every once in a while when I actually forget that I’m struggling and just enjoy being out there. Running works for me because I don’t have to go somewhere else to do it and it’s only 40 minutes 3 times a week. (If I were to go to the gym, it would be much more complicated, I tried and failed.)
    Races motivate me to go running even if I don’t “feel like it” and the weather sucks.
    Actually. This post just hit me at the right moment, I am sitting here at the computer and need to get out there before sundown. I’ll get up right now! Thanks:-)

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      You’re welcome Maria! And for a long time I was like you, not really enjoying it, but still questioning why I was making myself do it. I knew it was convenient, lesser of any of the other exercising evils….but struggled so. At least you know why you do it. And so do I now. I’m glad to say I’m enjoying it more now too…big relief to me when you hear how other people *enjoy* running, and feel sub human for not being the same!

      Reply
  4. LinB

    Oh, so inspiring! I confess that I am a schlumpf when it comes to exercise. Need to do it, don’t like to do it, need to do it. I may drag my tennies out of the closet, check to be sure no spiders have built nests in the toe boxes, and take myself for a walk. A gentle jog may erupt as I come back down the hill. Am torn between wanting to get out in the daylight so I can see where I am going, and wanting to wait until dark so the neighbors won’t point and laugh. Nighttime walking is fraught with perils, though: People have tripped over opossums “playing dead” in the road; also opossums actually dead in the road, which is less pleasant. On the plus side, here’s an excuse to sew up some new garments!

    Reply
    1. didyoumakethat

      The BIG myth is that people in the street stare at you when running. In fact, I feel much more invisible pounding the streets than pounding a running machine. At a gym, we’re all there to exercise and we’re all comparing ourselves. When you run outside, anyone you meet is so caught up in their own world, they barely notice you. They’re rushing for the bus, or composing a shopping list in their head, or… You know, they have better things to think about!

      Reply
      1. LinB

        Hahaha! You’re right, mostly. In the main, people do worry more about what other people think of them, than pay attention to those other people. Except, in my neighborhood, walkers and runners are fair game for teasing — to their face, mostly. The two most frequent walkers, two elderly heart patients, we’ve dubbed Stick Man and the Mayor of Rolling Hills. There’s also Rag Man, so called because of the red rag he carries to wipe his very sweaty face. We don’t get much traffic out our way, and amusement is taken where we can find it. Dear Husband won’t let me jump rope in the back yard because he’s afraid the neighbors will laugh. But when he’s out of town on business, he has no idea what all I get up to, lol.

        Reply
      2. scruffybadgertime Post author

        That’s so true…what kind of zoos are gyms anyway (well, that’s how they make me feel, I know they suit loads of people)? Like the tube we also try sometimes to avoid eye contact as others get extremely red in the face and sweat loads. At least in the street our contact and smelly heaving impact on others is momentary !!

        Reply
    2. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Oh Lin, thank you for your take on things. I love your perspective! And the view you bring of night time round your neighbourhood with opossums littering the streets. Truly a different experience than the one we have here where dark pavements can be fraught with food waste and recycling bins, cunningly coloured not to stand out in the dark but to loom suddenly from the pavement as you almost career right into them. Someone I ran with also got attacked by a lamp post that knocked her flat….exercise can bring its own perils if after dark, you’re right!

      Reply
  5. didyoumakethat

    I read this post and composed a list of reasons why I run – it ran to 12 and I wasn’t prepared to cut any of them. I think the number one reason I settled on was ‘to engage with myself’. One reason was ‘because I feel guilty if I don’t’! I thought my big motivating factor was ‘to control my weight’ but actually that reason didn’t come high in the ranking – it’s not actually very motivating, is it? After that, I went out and did a 3.5 mile run – my first exercise in a while. On returning home, I decided that whilst I was hot and sweaty, I might as well attack my over-run garden before showering. Then I cooked myself an evening meal for the first time in two weeks. So, Winnie, I think your motivational post worked! Thank you so much. I know you know how much I needed to read this.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Yay!!! I was so thrilled to read this Karen!! Sounds like it got you started and rekindled all sorts of mojo. I see 12 reasons as perfectly valid too…or 15 or 20, although it might take longer to prioritise! I think the importance is doing at least 10 so that the weird ones come out too, as they are sometimes more important than we realise but aren’t accessed so readily. I’ve witnessed this done a few times on other subjects, and it is enlightening to see how things move up or down as priorities from what we originally think. So glad it helped :-)

      Reply
  6. Janet

    Running is my breathing space – the thing that keeps me sane and a nicer person to live with. I can leave the house for a run as a grumpy wench, and return full of the joys of spring.
    I am gradually getting back into my running after a three month break (longest in about 8 years, aside from stopping for having babies) forced by a bad back. It is so nice to be running again – albeit for short distances at the moment. Before I hurt my back, I entered the Robin Hood Half (this coming weekend). The race pack has just come through, including the nice t shirt I paid extra for. Gutted. Clearly will never be able to wear it, as won’t have raced. Daft, I know. Still, must be patient, and just focus on getting strong again – would be so gutted if I couldn’t run again.
    Good luck for the Bath Half training. I’ll be following your progress on your blog!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      That’s such a downer that you’ve had a bad back Janet. But good that you’re able now to get out, even if it is for shorter than your normal runs. Also such a pain that you’ve entered the half marathon and aren’t able to do it….maybe next time? And shame about the tee shirt…I know what you mean, could you really wear it not having taken part? I’m not sure I would, but would maybe use it for training inside out.

      Reply
  7. Kbenco

    As I was drinking a cup of tea and distracting myself with sewing blogs instead of leaving for my run, your post is a nicely timed kick in the pants (in the nicest possible way). I am very bad at running, but do it quite a bit. It is interesting to read that someone who looks so fit has the same intermittent rocks on the back issue with running. I will try your writing down plan – once I get back from actually doing the run ;).

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I could say the same thing of you! that you’ve taken the trouble to even make your own fab running and training gear gives a super committed impression…but thinking about it, if it was me, I’d find sewing for running easier to motivate myself than actually running (until now that is!). I am the queen of excuses that fall in favour of sewing and against going out for a run. I don’t get that impression from you!

      Reply
  8. Lynn

    Thanks for this post! I wrote out my list, and I run mostly as a stress-reliever! I feel strong, and I feel free from all the daily mind-clog. I’m dealing with hip issues now and seeing a chiropractor and physical therapist to get things straightened out, because I can’t see giving this up – It’s become too important to me. It’s only 2 or 3 jogs a week, but I look forward to them. I’ve never run through the winter though – I’ve stopped when the streets get icy, done some boring mileage on the treadmill at the gym, skipped to different cardio machines, and then started all over outside trying to learn to be a runner again in the spring. My goal is to try to keep running outside this winter (without hurting myself!)

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Wow, you are committed and I think it must be because you are clear about what it means to you. Good luck with the recovery, and I’m with you…really don’t want icy winters to stop the habit I just about form….too hard starting it again!

      Reply
  9. Lizzy

    I used to run. I started because I needed time to myself and to find myself again. It worked and when I realised my main motivation when running was about being competitive I stopped as it wasn’t fun anymore.
    Now I sew… A lot!
    Now I’m having visions of a scuttling scruffy badger doing laps of Bath in superman knickers!!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      That’s interesting, you weren’t happy then, being competitive, but it sounds like your drive and determination has been channelled into sewing! I can recognise the attraction of that!!

      Reply
  10. Ginger

    What a great post! I’ve taken up running recently after a hiatus of about 12 years, and your observations are so worthwhile and timely! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  11. Lene

    Thanks for a wonderful and motivating post. I am not young and my running reflects that – it is more like a slow trot than a run – but getting out there 2-3 times a week makes me feel great. Motivation! I still suffer from lack of that commodity, but one way that often helps is to tell myself how good I will feel afterwards. I will follow your posts with great interest.

    Reply
  12. Erin

    I love the random connection between sewers & runners! This post & Ginger’s about walruses reminded me how much I miss running. Unfortunately after standing all day at work the last thing I feel like doing is running & my schedule makes it very hard to know if I could do a race. That said I’m disappointed on missing out on several this year & have recently decided to run a full marathon next year. And music is so important! I spent so much time last November putting together my half marathon playlist. I’d love to see what others run to & look forward to checking both your pages now. Good luck to everyone on their training!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Oh my gosh, a marathon? Now that really is dedicated and committed, well done you. I can appreciate that not everyone’s job lends itself to beating the pavements *for fun*. The last thing Gary feels like after a day “on the building” is to exert himself any more than he has already for 8 hours…I admire your planning & commitment to a marathon, something I am really not ready to do myself

      Reply
  13. pennylibrarian

    I just thought that you ought to know – I found this post and the comments blooming inspirational!
    So, you’ll all have to excuse my appearance, I’ve just returned from my default run which I did backwards today just to spice things up a bit. Well, not running backwards physically because that reminds me of when I fell over in the Sports Hall and my teacher yelled at me in front of the entire year group. Boy she hated me. Mostly I think because I was (and am) clumsy, not very sporty and particularly bad at cross country runs.
    So strange that running is now pretty much my only exercise.
    Anyways, I did a ‘Why I Run’ list. There were things on there to do with both mental and physical health – they didn’t surprise me. There is much that I loathe about the actual act of running but I *always, always* feel better when I have been. What did surprise me is my number 1 reason: “because it makes me a better person”. Who knew that I found it such a holistic experience?
    I suppose I’ll have to give up the idea of trying to send my body for a run whilst my mind stays at home doing something else.
    Px

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi P, thank you for such a fun & interesting comment! I’m fascinated to see the variety of reasons why we all run – isn’t it just amazing – so personal. It’s also weird to want to run as a *grown adult* when we have a choice in the matter, after a childhood where we tried to avoid / take short cuts during cross country at school. Yes I too have never been a natural athlete!

      Reply
  14. Debbie

    oh Winnie, what a great post. I want to start running. WWhy? i want to be fitter and I want to lose my post baby fat tummy. I have lost weight just without effort but have got to the point where I know I need to put in an effort to lose the rest and to fit into my trousers! What’s stopping me? Lack of sleep, lack of baby sitters and tp be honest my great embarassment at running when others might see me! I don’t know why but I am really shy about being seen running. But your post has egged me on and there is no reason why I can’t put RG in her three wheeler and take her with me (once i have mended the current puncture). And, I could run round our field thus avoiding being seen! So I am going to try and get in a run over the next week. Will report back. xx

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Go Debbie! I think there is an initial fear of being seen phase, but let me tell you, I’m sure you’ll get over it as it probably lives most in your own head. As Karen said no one can be bothered to look at you when you run – they are too wrapped up in their own world. However, I think you’ve got a great idea for braving it with pram & R.G. – when running with wheels you will look like a runner making the most of being outside/ getting fit, but any awkwardness can be attributed to pushing around a pram = perfect. yes, please let me know how you get on :-)

      Reply
  15. punkmik

    I have started to do a gym program last month, I got a bit overwhelmed though and had to cut down and like defining a route, said 2 days a week is enough. if i do more great otherwise i did well. :) So i am getting there. :) I also have mini goals one ach machine that i strive to achieve. :) it works. I thinka s long as we do things in moderation and move then it is good for us. no point putting too much pressure on yourself that u then get depressed and dont do it

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      You got it! I think it’s important that the goals we set ourselves are realistic and certainly in the beginning are easy to achieve – hey, we need to feel we’re doing something right & making progress when half the battle is getting out & doing it in the first place. Good for you & keep up the good work!!!

      Reply
  16. MacStabby

    I try to find things to motivate myself besides “nice legs,” and “feeling better.” I actually have fewer lower back problems when I run, so I try to keep that in mind. And I try to listen to something entertaining. I used to listen to a podcast called Pop Culture Happy Hour, but I used to start laughing whilst running, and almost tripped over my feet sometimes. I now have the Zombies, Run! App. It’s a bit expensive, $8 US, but it’s SO good. Doing the missions and having the story end at each one makes me want to get out there and see how the story progresses! SO MUCH FUN!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Sounds fun, I shall look it out, I have heard about the zombies run! Before, but not for running!! I’m really curious now, thanks for recommending it!!
      I have wondered about listening to podcasts as a change during running, but never quite got organised…

      Reply
  17. chrisf

    I started running in 2009 in a JogScotland group. It took 9 months to get from run 30 secs/walk 60 secs to running 8km: then I stopped. I feel guilty about giving up and losing motivation ever since. I know I like the idea of going for a run and I love having been for a run – but I loathe the run itself! How bizarre is that? Thanks for the post, I’ve never really thought about the ‘why’ question before, so perhaps if I can get that sorted I’ll be able to run, or not, without feeling guilty.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I can relate to that chris, and for such a long time found that I only truly enjoyed a small fraction of my runs. What changed? Well, it was important for me to feel stronger so I’ve been working in general strength and fitness and now running being that bit easier makes it so much more enjoyable, plus, having done this “why I run” has transformed how I look on it. It sounds like you had a great journey to get you to running 8km. I think it’ll be easier to pick it up now you’ve done that, it’s like your bones remember what you can do…good luck with it, or whatever you chose instead!

      Reply
  18. missjoiedevivre

    Regarding your blogging oddness, I follow you in Google Reader, and then click through to comment (as I haven’t figured out how to comment in Google Reader, or even if it is possible.) Your Top of the Pops showed up dated September 24 in between 1940s Minado Dress and this – but when I clicked through to it it was dated 2 September and somewhere completely different in the line-up. Oddness!

    I have never been and will never be a runner. I had a brief flirtation with it on the advice of a trainer but rapidly developed shin splints and was miserable the whole time. Dancing however, ahhh dancing – I could rock and roll for hours! (Although it only takes a few minutes at high speed before I’m done in!) Your motivation and determination is fantastic, good luck with your programme.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you for the luck and sorry to hear you suffered shin splints. I’ve not been so unfortunate, but I know of others who have and it’s not nice. Good that you’ve found something that makes you happy and fit at the same time….if I could bring more dance into my life I’d be happier, I’m sure!

      Reply

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