Panic sets in.

Happy new year everyone!


Like many people I like to do a bit of reflection at this time of year on the year past and my hopes for the year to come.

I haven’t really formed a plan for next year yet, but I have some thoughts about running and fitness.

What worked for me in 2015?

Taking the stairs! Having acquired a fit bit one mid year, I became aware of how many steps I did (didn’t!) take in a day, and how many flights of stairs I climbed. I decided to meet my target by taking the stairs to my office on the 5th floor at least once per day. Of course it was difficult at first but now I can get to my floor without stopping, so it’s been good for fitness, but did you know that stair climbing uses your gluteal muscles? If like me your daily activity involves a lot of driving or sitting at a desk, your ‘ glutes’ don’t get a lot of action and can become quite weak, but they are essential for good running form. If they are weak then you use your hamstrings more and this can affect your pelvis and lower back. I don’t think that it is just coincidence that since I started to take the stairs my back pain has improved and my running too.


Counting my steps when I run. If you aren’t a natural born runner it can be difficult just to keep going when you are out for a run. For me it’s like I have a pacemaker in my body that is set to ‘walk’ and the minute my mind wanders I find that I have in fact slowed to a walk no matter how healthy my legs or lungs feel. So I started to make every step count, by counting them! Groups of 8 steps,  10, 12 or 20 sets depending how I’m feeling, one set for every finger, once or twice around the hands. It just helped to keep me going and after a few weeks I think that I did manage to rest my ‘pacemaker’ such that I can manage to jog along a bit better now.

Wearing flat shoes. I started this because I thought that it would help my back pain, and also that it would be easier to take the stairs. Whether it’s the stairs or the shoes, something has worked because I used to wake up every day with a stiff back, bad enough to have to roll out of bed sideways and bend my knees to stand up! That has improved so much over Autumn.

No added sugar. At the beginning of November I gave up sugar in coffee and anything that obviously had added refined sugar, so cakes, sweets, biscuits and chocolate. I allowed myself to eat anything else. Miraculously I lost 4lb in a month without feeling hungry and apparently without effort. I felt good on it too, my running seemed to go well in November!  I had a break from this over Christmas and have gained 1-2lb so I’m keen to get back to sugar free for the new year.


Panic stations!

Returning to running after my ‘break’ from my healthy lifestyle hasn’t been easy – my legs seem to have lost that ‘spring’ I had noticed at the end of November. My brain seems to have lost its focus. It took me 90 minutes to do 6.5 miles and it was a struggle – do I really believe that I can do a marathon in May?

Because I have been struggling I’ve done pretty much what you shouldn’t – running every day over the weekend to try to ‘catch up’.

Now that I’m back on the sofa the marathon doesn’t seem so bad or so unlikely, I still have 5 months to go and the worst of the dark days are past, and hopefully the weather too. ( I’m lying about the weather, Jan and Feb are usually really cold and wet!)  However I think it’s my head that is letting me down not my legs or lungs. There were a lot of negative thoughts slowing me down.

To be honest I feel a bit apprehensive about the long runs. I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that my first break from the plan coincided with the first 8 miler (and a trip to the US), then after building back up again I still feel a sense of trepidation of doing 6 or 8 miles as a regular training run. Why? When I have done them they have been great😀

The problem may be that I’m looking for ‘perfect’conditions for me to get out.

The main condition is   open ended time. I know that I will need nearly 2 hours to complete an 8 mile run, and I would like an hour after that to bathe, eat/drink, stretch. If I’m worrying about getting back in time for something else then I procrastinate, trying to decide if I’ve got time, then of course I’ve left it too late and I haven’t got time! I’m already worrying about how long it’s going to take me to do 12, 16, or 20 miles.  I’ve been re thinking my training routes, identifying where is lit and reasonably populated for running in the dark. I’m Thinking more about out and back, so that I can get the mileage  or the time correct. That way I won’t need to worry about not getting back in time.

There is something to look forwards to in 2016 however, my baby sister is taking up running, so I may soon have a running buddy!  She told me at Christmas that she has signed up for a local couch to 5k group. I’m hoping that we can do park run together before long.😊

I hope that you have something to look forwards to in 2016 too!


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.
This entry was posted in back pain, balance, fitness, fun, healthy diet, marathon, middle aged women, novice, Nutrition, parkrun, positive mental attitude, running, slow run, time management, training plan, weight loss, work life balence, working mum. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Panic sets in.

  1. Lots to look forward to in 2016! Happy New Year!! 😀

  2. And I think I forgot to tell you… I tried your counting method, but I wasn’t coordinated enough to keep it going. It was actually quite hard, hehe! Hard for me anyway, because I think I like to let my mind go off to never-never land and that required a great effort of concentration, lol! 🙂

    • mawil1 says:

      Interesting! I wondered if, for those who like words more than numbers running to a poem would help. Maybe it’s a mad ting that only works for me!! But it does work for me and I’m glad I found it😀

  3. So... says:

    The best part is starting over again and again. In the bargain, I never realized I actually started getting a little better. Wish you a good year ahead and waiting to see you finish that finish line.

  4. bitzy-ku says:

    It can come to us all, a bit of a break due to holidays or illness and getting back seems the hardest uphill struggle – that affects how we feel how we perform and can easily go any way. Take it easy on too much pressure and remember where you were last year and how far you’ve come. If I get a rough few days I think back to when I started and how I’d even make it, whatever progress you make, take it – it’s all good. Congrats on using the stairs and these fitness trackers are great at showing us what we do and don’t do. I have a Fitbit charge and if I don’t hit my steps goal it at least makes me go out for an extra walk to get them 🙂 I wish you a happy and healthy 2016 x

    • mawil1 says:

      Happy new year! I hope that you have a good one😀 There are so many great fitness trackers and apps these days -so useful for people like me whounderstand numbers and charts more than exercise for its own sake! You are right about pressure. Many people enter races to give themselves a goal whereas I have found in the past that it is just added pressure. But as time goes on and I keep at it, I am very slowly getting fitter! So I hope that I will make my marathon goal😆

  5. tamsynsmith says:

    Apparently Paula Radcliffe used to count up to 100 when running. It was something that I used to do a lot when I first started running and was always on my own. I’d try to guess how many steps it would take me to get to a certain marker such as a lamppost or a bush!

    I’m also very keen on flat shoes. I cycle to work every day, so I need practical footwear, but even before that I decided to sacrifice fashion for comfort. Skechers Go Walk are my favourite shoes for work now.

    Have you got any tips on giving up sugar? I’ve a terrible sweet tooth and know I need to crack that addiction.

    • mawil1 says:

      re giving up sugar I suppose the first thing is to decide how far you want to go, maybe make a list? Drinks, biscuits, chocolates, cakes, jams and marmalade, breakfast cereal, fruity/flavoured yoghurt, ready meals and sauces. Decide what will stay and what will go then remove things one at a time at your own pace. Looking at the habit is really important I think. I had a really bad ‘sugar in coffee’ habit at work, it kept me buzzing through the working day, so I gave it up on holiday. When I got back to work the addiction/craving was gone so I just had to deal with the habit – I swapped the coffee for a drink I wouldn’t normally have sugar in. The biscuits/ cakes/ sweets I gave up as a job lot soon after, but I have replacements to nibble on if I’m hungry or need a ‘sweet treat’. So I’ll have a date or 2 after dinner if I feel like I need sweet, or if I’m hungry eat more pasta etc! It does mean that I have to eat properly during the day. Currently I’m a big fan of ready made sushi from tesco’s for lunch and Nairn’s cheesy oatcakes for a snack, or naked bars if you really want something that feels like a cake/biscuit type treat with a cup of tea. Eventually though you stop feeling the need for a snack – you’re either hungry and eat something proper, or you aren’t! No craving for that particular something. The hardest thing for me has been marmalade. I still can’t decide whether it should be in or out – so I have porridge instead of toast!!

  6. Lots of reflections for 2015. Fitting in marathon training is tough. I completely understand where you are coming from with finding it difficult to plan for. But it is doable. Take it one week at a time and celebrate each week done. That’s how I tackled it anyway, it was too scary to look at it with a big picture view. Interesting on the stairs and changing your shoes. And as for sugar I wish I could give it up all together! All the best for 2016 and lovely that your sister is taking up running.

    • mawil1 says:

      My sister doesn’t know yet that I’ve got plans for her!! I’m waiting to see if she gets the bug ( of course she will!)😊😊 I’ve set my alarm for 7 am tomorrow, hoping to get the 8.5 done before we go onfamily day out. I think you are right, one day at a time, 1 run at a time!

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