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Embracing change through fitness

So today I completed 20 minutes running! I am delighted to have achieved this but I want to share my struggle to get there.


Monday this week I started the 2x 8 minute runs alone. I managed one run but felt I couldn't achieve the second 8 minutes. I felt like I had failed and at that stage and was somewhat disappointed in myself. However, I reflected on the fact I hadn't been doing the couch to 5K programme in the prescriptive way and perhaps I could do things differently. I reminded myself I am not a failure and instead reviewed my progress.


I repeated the two 8 minutes run on Wednesday with support from someone else which helped push me on but I hated it. The silence other than my breathing meant I focused too much on what I was struggling with. At that point I could not see myself achieving 20 minutes this week. I felt somewhat despairing, sick at the activity and lost my vision of achieving the 5K run completely! In the moment, I was somewhat anxious which increased my heart rate and breathing further, increased my negative thinking and resulted in me stopping. However, as I calmed down, I reflected that I had managed the anxiety with some encouragement. I completed the two runs and this was progress compared to Monday. I actually went on to run a further 5 minutes and felt great afterwards.


Today prior to going out, I focused on the facts - the couch to 5K programme is researched and the expectation is that the run is suitable for someone to develop into. I felt more motivated to give it a try and I planned a route which wasn't quite to hard. I was determined to succeed and I visualised myself completing the 20 minutes. I also put my music on again which helps distract me from hearing my breathing, keeps me to time and helps me think about my many achievements. I focused on feeling great and noticing the gorgeous, natural surroundings. I even saw a fox on the path and could see it was more fearful than me.


The point of sharing this is that I am using a range of techniques used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to work towards my goal. I know it is not easy to change thoughts, feelings and behaviours, but it is possible. Look out for some future posts about CBT and how it could help.


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