“I do, therefore I am”


I’m a runner. I’m not very fast, I’m not very good, but for the last seven years I’ve been a runner. It helps de-stress me, it feels good to get fresh air and it just feels good to be moving. So when you can’t do something you enjoy, it really sucks. After a year of injury – which included a torn muscle in my thigh and achilles so tight that I couldn’t touch them after a run (or actually really walk properly), along with that add sore knees into the equation – I was told by the physio I wasn’t allowed to run. Gutted.

I’ve suffered with dodgy knees since I was a teenager and as weird as it sounds, running makes them better. But after continuing to run through injury last year the pain got too bad. At the start of February, after two months of going to the physio I got told that I still had to wait six to twelve weeks before I could run, I chose to ignore that…
I didn’t listen to the advice and started running again in February*. I know my own body and for me running again was the only answer. The key is to ease yourself back into it and set realistic goals. Here are my top tips to get back into it.
Run on a treadmill. Normally I’m not a fan of the treadmill. I find it boring, you’re either staring at a wall or at other gym users. But they do have their benefits. For beginners or those getting back into running after some time out a treadmill is a great way to pace yourself and you don’t get caught out by sneaky secret hills that don’t seem to exist when you’re walking but suddenly appear when you up your speed!
Mix walking and running. It can be frustrating being back a few steps but after time out it’s not realistic to think that you will be able to hop on the treadmill and run at the same level as before. Start slowly. When I started back I did five minutes walking, ten minutes running. Build this up by adding a couple of minutes to the run and taking some time off the walking.
Set realistic goals. Like the above, don’t think your first run after a while you be will be able to run for thirty minutes, or do 5k at the same pace you were running before. Set goals you can achieve and work gradually back up to that 5k or thirty minutes running. It’s amazing how quickly your fitness will come back and you will be able to start upping the distance.
Celebrate the small victories. I’m not going to lie, when I managed to run twenty minutes non-stop it felt like a nice wee victory! I also set myself the goal to get back to a Parkrun by the end of March, which I managed on the last Saturday of the month. I really missed my Saturday morning Parkrun with Mark so it felt good to be back. I ran at my own pace, and for the full time, and my time was only two minutes slower than my PB! A time I would have been unhappy with five months ago, but I’m ok with now. I always like to have a bit of competition with myself so it’s something to work towards.

So there you have it, my top tips to get back into running.*I do not advise everyone to follow this route. You really should listen to medical professionals, they actually went to uni to be able to give the proper advice to people! I chose to ignore this advice at my own risk.

Photograph taken by me and created using Canva

January, the month when gyms are at their busiest and everyone is full of good intentions with thoughts of a killer bikini body in their mind.

The shops are full of workout equipment, and by this stage in January most people have given up. Now, I know that sounds very negative, but statistically people ditch their new years resolutions after 3 weeks. So if that resolution was to get fit and stick to the gym it is probably out the window already.

When it comes to fitness I think most people give up due to lack of knowledge and not seeing results quickly enough. I fall into this category, I want results, like yesterday and if I work hard on my abs I can’t understand why I don’t have a six pack already! Many people fall into the trap of going to the gym and following the same routine and not seeing any changes. And when it comes to gym instructors I generally don’t have much time for them, I don’t think they listen to what you want and for women anyway seem to follow the same cardio based routine.

Last year I decided to bite the bullet and use personal trainer. Despite dropping over two stone through Slimming World I still didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be so thought that maybe this could help. I decided to go with Matt Wilson, a PT that worked in the same building as me and trained out of the gym next to our work.

I was nervous. Nervous about having my weight and measurements taken. I was also nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do all the exercises or be really unfit and embarrass myself.

My first session with Matt was really a consultation. He asked me to keep a food diary for three days before which he looked over and we talked about my goals, then came the weigh in and measurements. I didn’t feel as embarrassed as I thought I would, mainly because I was there for a reason and Matt’s friendly personality puts you at ease. I was given my programme which consisted of two workouts, meaning I would workout two times a week by myself and have one PT session.

The first programme I was got was strength training and I admit I was a bit nervous that I would ‘bulk up’ but (thankfully) I didn’t and there was also a nice benefit to my running that I hadn’t anticipated. Last year I signed up for two 10k runs and a 5k run, despite not being able to train as much as I would have liked due to injury I still managed to run them in roughly the same time as I would have after following a twelve week training plan. I also shaved about five minutes off my 5k time last year.

I had three blocks of sessions with Matt last year. Each time I lost inches and I reduced my body fat percentage. The third lot of sessions I lost 3kg in weight (about 8lbs) after saying I wanted to focus on weight loss.

Getting a PT was a great idea. It has changed the way I now plan my workouts and it gave me the kick up the butt I felt I needed. If you’re based in or around Edinburgh and are looking for a personal trainer then you should definitely check out Relentless Fitness. Matt provides a friendly, relaxed environment and he has a genuine desire to see his clients succeed. He will work you hard, but the results are worth it. You’ll thank yourself.

For the month of January Matt has an offer for 20% off and there are still a few days to take advantage of this.

You can also check out Matt’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Image taken from Relentless Fitness Facebook page