In January, it seems like the whole world is trying to get fit. Diet adverts shine down on us from every angle, from TV to the tube demanding that we shed the festive weight.

If you’re like me, you probably over-indulged at Christmas. That’s what it’s all about, right? Though I don’t believe that every calorie I consumed in December needs to be sweated out of me in January. It’s going to be a challenge to get back into my pre-Christmas routine, but I’m confident that with a bit of motivation I can get back into my normal eating habits and exercise routine before the month is out.

A bit of shared motivation is all we need to make it, right?

Just over a year ago, I found the motivation to start running. Mostly, it was the pair of discount running trainers that I’d bought in Florida staring at my accusatorily from the cupboard that made me finally lace them up. I downloaded a Couch to 5km app and headed out. The voice in the app helped me along by telling me when to start running and when to switch back into a walking pace. If you could call it running. It was more of a light jog and then being unable to breathe while stumbling along.

They always say that the first step is the hardest, and they were definitely right in my case.

As I lay on the sofa after that first run, sweating and trying to catch my breath, I felt it. A huge sense of accomplishment washed over me. I had done it. I had run, even if it was only for 45 seconds at a time, and had completed the first workout of a proper running program. I felt alive. I felt proud. And I felt like I could do it again – once I’d cooled off.

The next eight weeks involved me slowly getting better at running, following all of the commands on the app. Some weeks I had to repeat the training as I couldn’t face another week harder routines. Before long I was telling everyone that would listen that I ran for eight minutes straight. Eight whole minutes. Without even stopping! It was a revelation.

I was so surprised because I always thought that I was never designed to be a runner. I was one of those people who simply couldn’t do it, or so I told myself. Probably because lots of bits wobbled when I tried to go at a faster speed and I didn’t like the feeling of having a red and puffy face when I was out of breath.

I didn’t mind that face so much when it got me over the finish line of a half marathon. From 45 seconds of running to 2 hours and 27 minutes, completing my first half marathon around a year and a half later. I would never have believed it if you’d told me back then, but now I have the medal to prove it.

What does this all mean?

If I can do it, then you definitely can. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, after all, and that first one outside your front door is definitely the hardest. I thought that people would stop and stare at me. Now I tell myself that they’re staring because they wish they had the motivation to run as well.

My foray into the world of running has made me healthier than ever. It gives me mental balance and means that the only person I’m ever competing against is myself. And there’s no-one I enjoy beating more.

If you’re thinking of giving running a go, or already enjoy it, then I thought you might like to get some inspiration from my running playlist. I know every song on here inside out and it always pushes me to keep running for those extra few minutes.

 

How do you like to stay fit? Will you be doing anything new this January?

lisamae signoff

The end of the year always gets me thinking. How did it all go? How does 2016 compare to the years that proceeded it? It was a year of mountainous highs and bottom-of-the-ocean lows. Like most people, I find it a lot easier to remember the negative. But the year that brought us the horrors of Brexit, also gave me a lot to smile about.

To spread a bit of 2016-positivity, I thought I’d share some of my top moments of the year. When I think about it, this year was actually a cracker.

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It’s official. The I’s have been dotted and the T’s have been crossed, and I’m set to move to the other side of the city next week. It’s time to say goodbye to my rubbish house share and move back in with my housemate of three years from uni, who is coincidentally also my best friend. It’s going to be pretty amazing, despite the longer commute and higher rent. You can’t have everything, right?

I’ve also been getting back into the swing of work after being away for a week. It’s such a culture shock to return back to the sights and sounds of the city after spending a week in a small town. I think I relaxed into my time off a little too much because going back to work was tough, but I made it through.

Also this week, one of my dreams came true. I’ve wanted to see this musical ever since the Lion King roared onto the London stage in 1999 and on Wednesday I got to live my dream. Plus, we did it in style, celebrating Holly’s birthday with fabulous Circle seats and a champagne celebration package. Stay tuned for a special review post coming later this week.

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This week has felt like running a marathon. I may not know what that feels like in real life, but I have now officially run a 10k, at least. Typically, the morning of the 7th May dawned as the hottest day of 2016 so far. Running in 25 degree heat was very tough and most of my training went out of the window, but I still managed to get around in a decent time and claim my medal at the end.

In other news, I went on a pretty bizarre outing with my pals on Tuesday. Thanks to Tom’s Parliament connections, he managed to get us all into the Houses of Parliament for dinner and drinks. I did feel a bit like I was being smuggled in, but I promise it was all legit. Apart from the only photo I took. I promise I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed until after I’d taken it!

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