Taking a breather

One of our funny English phrases. It means to stop what you are doing, have a rest from it.

To runners it’s quite literal, you stop running because you are  gasping for breath and you need to reduce your body’s oxygen demands so that you can pay the oxygen debt that is there.

To yogis it’s central to their practice, paying attention to the breath to focus the mind and take attention away from any distractions enabling us to see things as they truly are. Even in western stress management practices we are encouraged to take a deep breath and count to ten!

This weekend I feel that finally I can ‘ take a breather’ after a few weeks on the hamster wheel. I’m not complaining about the hamster wheel, sometimes it can be exhilarating- I mean look at hamsters they look like they love it! However, it is lovely to spend some time, sitting here reading blogs and writing, pottering around the house, cooking something nice for the family and today going for a run or a yoga class – or both!

Sitting back for a review or round up of the last month it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. We started July with an ‘activity’ holiday, which was good. I went for a couple of runs by the sea, did some cycling along the coast, went kayaking, attempted some dinghy sailing ( I managed to capsize 3 times with before getting more than 50m from shore!) and lots of swimming in the pleasantly cool pool.

The cool pool!

The cool pool!

When I got home I thought that I would continue the good work with a running streak, just 2 miles per day, so 20-30 minutes every morning. I lasted 3 days!

See how early I was out running, look at the length of this shadow! I'm only 5'2!

See how early I was out running, look at the length of this shadow! I’m only 5’2!

I don’t know if anyone else experiences this, but after a 2 week holiday , things at work haven’t stopped and you need to catch up with all the things that you would have done if you’d been there. Soon I found myself getting up at 5:30 not to run but to work!

After 3 weeks I feel like I’m catching up now.

So time to take a deep breath, re focus and move forwards.

I hate the fact that I struggle with consistency. A 3 week break from running, along with all the other breaks means that I do lose fitness. Map my run sends me these little snapshots – ‘2 years ago today you did an 8 mile run’. I sigh wistfully. But you can’t turn the clock back.

Moving forwards I will be prepping my breakfast smoothies (putting them in little bags in the freezer), thanks to Cee -Jay for reminding me how great they are! No more annual leave for me now until October, so hopefully I can plan my work to be more consistent and my exercise too.

How do you manage consistency?

I like projects that I can start, throw my all into and finish.  It works for work and study and exams.

What is your attitude to running?

What mental paradigm shift do I need to make to make it a necessity rather that a luxury treat that I can’t afford to spend time on?

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About mawil1

Hi my name is julie and I took up running at the age of 46! Hence 'mawil' Middle Aged Woman In Lycra. I did it at first because someone asked me to do a charity run with them. I couldn't run at all, but pride wouldn't let me be seen to be unable to run so I started a walk run programme. I stuck with it and to my surprise I found that I liked it- after a couple of weeks of progress I was hooked! My blog is about my progress in running and how I fit it in with the rest of my life.
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8 Responses to Taking a breather

  1. Big questions. I’m terribly routined I think that’s how I manage to maintain my regular running. But I don’t have any children at home anymore so that makes things so much simpler. Having an event to train for helps. It sounds to me like you’re doing the very best given the time you have.

    • mawil1 says:

      I know what you mean about training for an event. It can work both ways though, it can add pressure and then a sense of failure if you don’t achieve. However, needing to do it for someone else can help to justify it, so if it’s not just for me then I think that helped with the half marathon. My son is growing up so quickly now, whereas 3 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving him in the house alone, now I would feel fine about going for a run if my husband was out so that’s a help. It would be better if I could get him to come with me though!! I suspect that despite appearances I’m actually quite spontaneous and don’t do well with plans.. I’m thinking that I might enlist the help of the hubster (and son). If I do as you do, stick my training plan on the fridge and get them to hold me accountable, I’m sure that they would help me to find the time. If you want something different you have to do something different! Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it!😊

  2. pwhent says:

    Hi Julie, I have been really neglectful writing and reading blogs for the last 4-5 months – I have had a bit of a disaster of a season so far – but I am delighted to see that you are still at it. Well done!
    I am like you, in the absence of some motivating influence I will pick and chose when I run, swim or ride and often I will come home after a day a work and just not feel like it. I think occasionally that is OK. we do this for fun and if being a slave to it stops it being fun then a rethink is needed. I inject the motivation into the mix by entering events. The harder the event the more motivated I am. Enter something that is outside your comfort zone – I find that keeps me very focused on not missing sessions!!!

    • mawil1 says:

      Hi peter, sorry that your season isn’t going so well. I know what you mean about having a big goal, the problem is that you can’t have a big goal all the time- I know that you said how much support you needed from your family to do the iron man, it wouldn’t be fair on the family to do one every year! But I’m thinking that may be the way forward for me this year, to ask my family for support and let them give it! In between times, so long as you can tick over with some exercise for fun, it has to be better than nothing. Keep up the good work! There’s always next year and I keep seeing some very old marathon runners in the press!

  3. shazruns says:

    For me I have to have something to train for. Enter something, sine thing that appeals, maybe something new, something challenging. X

  4. CeeJayKay says:

    I run just cos i can… A year ago today i think i had logged my first ever 5 or so runs… so for me, just to be there, doing with a positive mind set is HUGE. I dont like racing, but that is personal. I get realy anxious and it takes all the love and joy away from it for me… I love to be able to just decide “lets go” and go for it, go for as long or how far as i like… and that keeps me happy… but we are all different… i guess you have to find what works for you and keep doing that as long it it keeps you happy and motivated.
    My motivation comes from all you guys who either follow my blog, or those blogs that i follow… and… i wont lie… i am motivated by the sheer and utter elation at being ABLE to run, being ABLE to be fit and ‘healthy’ enough to get out even if it is just for a walk. I try not to pressure myself into anything at this point… hey it could all change.. i could decided to tackle a ‘big’ race.. but at the mo… i am just enjoying it for what it is 🙂

    • mawil1 says:

      Knowing what makes you happy is a real gift! I think with races, like you say it puts pressure on and is stressful, and if you don’t run it because you aren’t ready you feel so rubbish ( that’s me!). But then when you do it does feel like such an achievement and it can be quite emotional to be part of a big event. I do enjoy running but I think I need an excuse to make it a priority! Just remembering that there was a time when I couldn’t jog for 2minutes is amazing, but that memory has faded now😊

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