28 May 2016

Get it Together & GO RUN


New Balance sports bra, top, performance leggings & 711v2 Graphic trainers.

Photographs by Toni Tran.

There are a few things in life that cause me major internal conflict; one of those being exercise -  hence the post title. For the best part, I love exercise whilst I’m in it. However, the dialogue I have to have with myself, to get myself to do it most days, is comical. I know I’ll feel great after and yes, I know it’s good for me and helps me balance out any other annoyances that I’m facing but that doesn’t make it any easier to get out of bed an hour and a half earlier to do it though, does it?

So, for one week, I decided to remove the decision from myself. I would run every day for a week and that would be that. And what better way to test out some new New Balance kit. 

This seven days happened to coincide with my first week in Australia, which couldn’t have been more perfect: a few deadlines but no meetings mean my time in Australia is what I make of it and there was no excuse not to start every day off with a run.

I don’t think I’ve ever exercised seven days in a row before and I’ve certainly never run seven days straight. 

Day One

Day one of my seven days in unknown territory started as I intended to go on. A 6.30am alarm and the sun was rising over the hills of our Brisbane suburb. I’d woken more times then I cared to remember the night before (nice one jet lag) but I was geared up to get on with my seven day streak.

New Balance gear on, I started my timer and off I went. The beauty about running new territory is you’re making it up as you go along; you’ve no idea where you’re going and there’s something relatively freeing about that.

Of course I managed to chose the hardest route I’ve ever run. I reached the peak of one hill only to run down it and find myself at the bottom of another. 

It was the slowest 5K I had run in months. I felt disheartened. Even though my new kicks have a cushiony sole, my shins hurt. A treadmill might be able to prepare you for hill climbs but they can’t prepare you for such steep down hill runs and my shins hurt for it. 

I fell into a heap on our doorstep, obviously opening snapchat to share my absolute dismay. One day down and I was absolutely dreading the six that I had left.

Day Two

Another 6am rise but I felt weirdly positive and gave myself a bit of a pep talk. “It’s a hard run but over the seven days, it’ll get easier and you’ll get faster and at the end you’ll f-ing breeze it, YEAH” was a little something how it went. If you hadn’t realised it yet, yes I’m an absolute weirdo - hey, nice to meet you!

It was just as hard. I ran just as slow. It still bloody hurt my legs and I was just as much as a sweaty heap when I finished it as I had been the day before. 

Memo to my inner voice - you’re full of sh*t.

Day Three

My legs were like ten tonne boulders that I had to drag out of bed on my third day. 

My muscles felt sore and tight. I had a very, very long stretch. 

I’m still working out whether I believe the whole ‘mind over matter’ mantra’ that seems to be preached throughout pretty much every exercise class I attend. No matter how many times I played Bump n’ Grind whilst waking up and stretching, my body was still telling me no. Today was the day I put the mantra to the test. 

Never under estimate the importance of a good running soundtrack. The third day was the day to pull out the big guns - we’re talking the best of UK Garage playlist obviously. Nothing gets me going like 138 Trek.

I ran up the first hill without stopping, HALLELUJAH. My legs began to run on autopilot. When the downhills came, my feet adapted their landing as if they’d be running downhill for years.

It wasn’t that much easier still but I finished thirty seconds faster than the day before and that felt good.

Day Four 

Day four was much the same as the third day. There’s not much to report; I didn’t run any faster and I didn’t find the run any easier. I was, however, really bloody bored. 

Day Five

Day five was the day it went pear-shaped. I woke up with every intention of going. My body hurt. I had pains shooting up my shins and quite frankly, I just didn’t want to go. 

I don’t know about you but I have days when I’m just being notoriously lazy and then, there are days when I’m actually exhausted. Day five of my seven days was the latter.

Listening to your body is important. I’m hard on myself and find it difficult to work out whether or not I’m am just being lazy. Saying that, when you know, you know and I gave myself day five off because YOLO, life is too short to make yourself go running when you really don’t feel like it.

Day Six

I came. I saw. I still did not conquer. My competitive side was getting bored of being defeated time after time by the same old hills. You’d think I’d been running the same route for a year the way I’m writing about it but when you have as little patience as I do, it didn’t feel that far off of a similar period of time. 

Day Seven

Finally, day seven was here. If ever there’s a way to take the joy out of running, it’s to make yourself do it days and days in a row.

But it was over. The hills had got a bit easier. My time had improved a little. If I was to stick at the same route and run it two or three times a week for a few months, there’s no doubt I could improve my time further. Yet, there’s a huge part of me that’s relieved that won’t be the case.

Just in case you’re wondering, after the six days of running, my internal dilemma about exercise is still as strong as ever. 

Disclaimer: this post was written in partnership with New Balance. 

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