Gardening Magazine

How Jogging Became a Habit

By Sophiecussen

If you’ve ever thought about taking up jogging, as a form of exercise – I say do it!

This time last year if someone, or anyone, had said to me:

Sophie you’re going  to jog a 10k

I’d have laughed at them.  In fact more than that I’d have laughed and moved away quickly because I just thought that jogging was only for the skinny, fit types who eat salads and run marathons at weekends and that was about as far removed from me as possible so I ignored the possibility.

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BOOM!

12 months later and I have jogged the 10k distance in a fairly respectable, if not quick, time of 78 minutes along Southend Seafront.

So how did I go from never having jogged, to training 3 times per week, every week for the past year?

Every one can jog, forget the ideal body types

For a start all sizes and shapes of people jog but even the skinny, lettuce eating types are pretty hard to ignore.  People that do jog are doing it because they love it and it keeps them very, very fit.

It kept nagging me, so many people I knew were jogging, there must be something in it.

So I started to train. Building my muscles and stamina up, increase my distance in manageable segments and allowing for plenty of rest periods.  That I could do.  

The really hard bit was training my mind to believe that I could jog distances. Brick wall, after brick wall I have mentally scaled throughout the year.  Any training plan should get you jogging in 6-8 weeks but my mind continued to put down the gauntlet for me to battle against and 8 weeks turned into a full yr. Problems like:

  • Why couldn’t I keep running without stopping every minute?
  • Why did my breathing go awol the minute I paid attention to my pace?
  • Why did I speed up so much on the pavements and not be able to keep a steady pace?
  • How could I be so distracted by passing cars out while I jogged on the pavements?
  • How could I get over this horrendous stomach pain first thing in the morning, and why did it only happen in the morning?
  • Why couldn’t I switch my brain off full stop!  Isn’t jogging supposed to be a form of meditating?
  • Why was it taking me so long to get to a 5k?
  • Why wasn’t I ever enjoying it?

I may well have saved myself a ton of problems if I’d just have been more sociable about jogging and joined a local jogging club or got together with friends and colleagues more (who were very encorouging)

But of course apart from feeling quite inferior to any other jogger and thinking I could never keep up with them, there was also the slight matter of not wanting to be sociable about this because it was a hard battle, and one that seemed easier to fight alone and with brute self-determination.

In fact all that mental building and breaking showed me even more about myself, what I can achieve, what anyone can achieve when you put your mind to it.

Habit setting is the key

I didn’t set out on my jogging challenge knowing it would become a good habit but it did and by creating the habit it then made it easier to train.

As I went along four important points began to emerge:

  1. Have a reason for doing it.  I needed to loose weight and diet alone was not going to get my fitness levels up.  Not once throughout the yr did I ever wonder why I was putting myself through all this.  To loose weight and get fit is a huge investment but one of the best you can ever make both physically and mentally to your body.
  2. Not to give up.  I ran through snow, hail, wind and rain and when I’d had enough of the weather I was very fortunate enough to find that my friends were selling their treadmill.  I had no excuse to ever not jog.  The only time I stopped jogging was for two weeks in July when I ended up with a throat infection.  That break allowed me to re-evaluate my training and I was soon back on track.
  3. To keep pushing my limits.  The first three months of training all I wanted to do was complete the Coach to 5k training plan, then I spent the next 3 months after that concentrating on jogging for longer time periods, then when I realised I could just jog and jog and jog, and reached a comfortable plateau,  I then took on the 10k training plan.  Making sure at all times I was aiming for distance not speed.  Now of course I’ve achieved a time in both the 5 and 10K routes, I’ve got a new challenge to beat my times.  There is always something new to aim for.
  4. Stick to a plan.  I stuck every plan I tried religiously, 3 days a week without fail.  It became an important appointment to attend.  I’d always make sure that whatever else happened on those days I’d still make time for my jog.  Eventually I didn’t even have to think about it.  It was as easy as remembering to go to work or do my washing.  It just became part of my life without it being a big deal.

I still don’t find jogging easy, but then anything good in life rarely is…

My 10k jog seemed an awful long distance and those final 2k’s my legs felt achy but as I jogged along it no longer became this huge issue.  My mind just took the distance in and said – okay, another 2k, just keep going… …and I did!

Now its over I’ve achieved an awful lot more than just a healthier body.  I’ve learnt to appreciate jogging, it’s now become part of my life and while I don’t feel any urgent need to go further distances I can apply what I’ve learnt to new challenges along the way :-)

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Cover photo courtesy of Rosmary


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