Once again, last year, I decided to enter for the London Marathon through the ballot system but I found out in December that I didn’t get a place. I wanted to make sure I didn’t loose the momentum of challenging myself every year whilst making each challenge more difficult so, just last week, I decided to enter the Adidas half Marathon at Silverstone on the 9th of March.
The half Marathon equates to 21km or 13miles approximately. That’s more than twice the distance I’ve ever run before! Last year I did the BUPA 10K run and I managed to finish that in 79 minutes but since then I had not kept up the running.
Yesterday I wanted to make sure that I began my program of running in preparation for the half Marathon so I decided to stretch myself early on and to see if I could run 5K even though I hadn’t done any running since last July. I’m quite happy to say that I managed to complete it very comfortably in 40 minutes and I felt like I could’ve easily have gone on to do 7 – 8K.
Now for those of you who are new to my blog you might think that’s nothing special. It’s true, it’s probably not but just so you’re aware, I’m 19 stone in weight or nearly 270lbs. 3 years ago I used to be 22stone and I could barely walk up one flight of stairs without being in incredible pain and out of breath! I even had trouble walking down stairs because my knees would hurt too much! 😆
After the run I had tons of energy and even though I was a bit achy, I wasn’t feeling tired; if anything I was more energised! I was a little surprised that I managed the 5K so easily and I wondered how I’d managed to maintain my fitness even though I hadn’t done any running. I do play badminton regularly (at least 3 times a week) but that’s not really a sport that increases stamina. Badminton is a great fat burner and helps you to accelerate your reaction times, especially if you play doubles, but other than that it doesn’t do much in terms of fitness.
I realised that one small lifestyle change I had made recently has been making a huge difference to my fitness overall. It’s something very small and very easy and something that anybody can do; it just requires a firm commitment to yourself. Last August I made a solid choice that I would stop using the lifts at work and that I would only use the stairs; unless I was carrying heavy equipment. Since then I can say that I’ve only used the lift 3 times, for transporting heavy equipment only, other than that, it’s been the stairs all the way. I only work on the second floor of my building but I usually enter from a back door which is in the basement to in reality I’m climbing 3 floors and I do that usually 3 – 4 times a day.
This little change has made all the difference in assisting me in maintaining my levels of fitness, and in addition to that, what it has done is also strengthen my knees and developed and conditioned all the muscles in my legs.
The simple lesson is this: For you to make large inroads into whatever changes you wish to make to your life all you need employ is a very simple strategy; one that is easy to maintain. As with my example, I didn’t need to go join an expensive gym or totally overhaul my diet, all I needed to do was to commit to using the stairs.
I’ll be updating you on my progress and following up this article with some motivational and training tips for people who are overweight and want to take up a new challenge for 2008.