I don’t consider myself brave writing this post, but I do consider myself to be honest. Social media today is filled with pictures of people’s healthy meals, but they somehow neglect to post the pictures of the not so healthy food they consume in between. You will find pictures of people in their underwear… yes underwear, comparing their body shapes over time. Every day of the week seems to provide an alliterative excuse to display pictures of yourself and declaring how much better you look, how much you love yourself now. Call me old fashioned, but this is a trend that isn’t for me. Since when did we think posting partially naked pictures of ourselves was something our friends and family would want to see, never mind the rest of the world? People forget, once it is on the internet it is there forever!
Anyway I digress, the point of this is to highlight that when trying to achieve something, or trying something new, the road is not always smooth, as social media would lead you to believe. I think acknowledging this is just as important as telling everyone how great you are doing.
I set myself the challenge of running 5k on Valentine’s Day. For the fit and healthy amongst you, this is nothing I am sure. But for me it would be like running a marathon. Not because I am completely unfit, or that I am delusional to compare the two. It is the mental barrier I have to cross to do it. I have tried to take up running on and off for years, and always end up giving up. I never seem to have found that place that people talk of where they enjoy it, find it addictive and can keep pushing themselves to run faster or further or competitively.
So when I am on yet another run where I can’t find a breathing pattern, every muscle is tight and on the verge of cramping (or so I think) and I am having to set myself the tiniest of goals to get through it (get to that lamppost, run to the corner), eventually the temptation to give up takes over and my running programme I spent hours creating is tucked away out of sight.
This time I cannot find the will power to even go out for a run. I find excuses to put it off, convince myself a nice long walk with the dog is doing just as much good. In terms of my health and well being, the walks are having the desired effect as part of my eat less move more mantra. However the need to be able to achieve this running goal, I have now realised, is a mental one not physical.
Now that I have acknowledged that, and realised my goal might not be that realistic, I am prepared to admit I need to change things a bit. Better that than give up completely I hope. So I am going to give myself more time. Take things slower and build up in a way I can manage and aim to run 5k by the end of March 2017.
Yesterday I started with a jog with my dog. It was really nice. I always feel conflicted about whether I would like company on a run. Would it motivate me to keep going or will I feel pressured to keep up and then give up? It turns out the dog was the happy medium. He goes at my pace, since he is on a lead, and it feels like you are not alone.
So there you have it. Goals should be set to push us and help to us overcome things, and it is healthy to admit that this means it is not always easy. Its healthy for both body and mind to understand why it is hard and confront it. Small steps and trying new approaches to achieve your goal is great. Let’s start talking about that more to balance out the gratuitous self adoration on social media which can make others feel like failures. Remember social media is a facade. As we now have the power to filter our images on these platforms, essentially using photoshop style technology to improve our images, social media itself is a filter. It allows you to only showing what you want people to see. Skewing the image of what is real.
So I will build up my mental running stamina gradually, but I won’t be posting images of my sweaty face or a screen shot of the distance/ time/ calories I have burned. However I might still bore you with the incredible views I see while I am out and about!