A Summer Body, Baby

The Long Jog to Comrades No Comment

Have you lost hours of your life to Game of Thrones?  I’ve only dipped my toe in, but I noticed there seemed to a lot of talk of “Winter is Coming”. Amongst all the boobs and beheadings, of course. All those bodies on display, and it struck me that the fitness world has a reverse slogan, almost as dire: ” Summer is Coming” and then looks sternly at the extra layers of lardy-ness carefully disguised under a sweater, before pronouncing summer bodies are built in winter.  Yes, Lorna Jane, I’m looking at you.  I’m pretty sure my body is my body whatever season it is, and it was built over 9 months before I emerged as a summer baby a few years ago.

So it’s August, and I wondered if you’d felt body shamed into getting fit for summer and popping out for a run?  Because of course, we all know that running makes you instantly thin.  Just like that other well-known myth that breastfeeding makes the baby fat melt away. Hoorah!!

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.39.29 pm
I’m the one on the end at the right…

This was taken on the start line at Comrades: I was about to run 88km and in the preceding 24 weeks, I’d run the best part of 1000km… Did it make me skinny? No, absolutely not.  Running fuels your appetite, and I am a bit partial to wine and chocolate….

I was fitter and healthier than I’d ever been before.  Running can give you that.

The important thing (which I struggle with) is to remember that I need to give my body quality fuel, rather than whatever crap is in the snack cupboard that I can grab really really quickly… I need to get better at eating “dense” foods that are bursting with good stuff and will fill me up as well. And less sugar. Because whilst delicious, lollies and liquorice might not be the best choice for overall health.  Hence my foray into experimenting with sugar quitting.

So, are you ready to get out in the winter sunshine? I know I was itching to get back up off the sofa, whilst I was sidelined. I was still eating like I was running long distances, when the truth is, I hadn’t run in a month. But the last 4 weeks have seen me back out there, and it has been a struggle to get back into a routine.

The initial burst of “woohoo, I’m running (again)” kept me on the right track for the first week, but it all started to get harder after the initial wave of motivation in week 2.  Real life started to creep back in and the tiredness started to feel more overwhelming.  Or was it just the delectable weight of the duvet and blanket creating a cosy haven of toasty warmth? Staying in bed has been so much more attractive than getting out and experiencing the piercing cold.

Have you noticed how motivation is a very fickle friend? It’s like a cat that wants feeding. (Yes, Oscar, I do mean you).  Limpetted like some sort of furry sea snail for the few moments it takes to put food in the bowl, then nowhere to be seen when I’d quite like a cuddle…. So, how am I going to keep on track for the Melbourne Marathon?

I’ve found a few tips and tricks that have helped over the last few months, and thought I’d put them down here.

  • Get up Early

I am so NOT a morning person.  I really don’t get better at waking up, and if I’ve got a whole day available, I’ll always choose to run later.  But,  I don’t have whole days available to choose my own schedule.  I work full-time, in a job which I find generally draining and exhausting, and even if I bounded home full of energy, I have 3 kids who all have activities that they seem to assume I have no greater pleasure in life than to ferry them to… Plus dinner to provide, etc.

I am your friend
I am your friend

So, if the run doesn’t happen before work, then it’s 99.2% certain that it won’t happen at all.  The only solution is to get up and get it done.

  • Set a Goal

I really have to have something to be working towards, otherwise there is nothing pushing me to obey the alarm.  Some people enjoy the training for training’s sake, but it’s all about the bling for me.  Oh, and the sense of achievement when I cross the finish line.  Going further than I thought possible, and the current ambition: to go faster than I’ve ever dared to dream in October.  I need the push of an event with a deadline.  If I thought I could pitch up on the day without any prior effort and wing it, I probably would.  Maybe that’s why I have to set long distance goals – that way I know I have to actually do the work.


  • Have a Plan

There are heaps of plans available out there, and a C25k is pretty much where I started when the nice people at RaceForLife sent one in my race pack many years ago. But I’m not very good at routine: I have a deep-seated aversion to it, so one of the things that I’ve always loved the most about Operation Move is that the plans are really varied. This week I’ve done a fartlek, an easy run, intervals and I still have another easy run plus my long run.  Next week, it is different again.  It challenges my body, and it keeps me from getting bored. Winning!

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  • Stay Accountable

I have the attention span of a flea, (Gracie and I are alike in that way), so staying accountable is something I always struggle with. I’ll be chasing something new and exciting and let go of my original goal, because oh, look, butterfly….  I just can’t do it on my own, so again, I turn to Operation Move.  I have a coach AND a group of team mates, all readily accessible via a Facebook page, who have become friends over the past year, who check in and let me know I’m expected to get out of the door. REGULARLY.  Having virtual run buddies has been great, because I never have to worry about being too slow to keep up, which is what always put me off running with real life people.  The spin off, though, is that I’ve run so much more consistently, that my running has improved and with it my self-confidence.  So now I do run with real life running buddies.  And having someone waiting outside your front door really puts the mockers on rolling over and hitting snooze on the alarm.

Home of laughs
Women who run together have fun together.

That’s pretty much it.  Nothing that you didn’t already know and all so simple; but it works for me.

So, I’m sure my body will still be my body by summer.  But whether it will be thinner and conform to some externally imposed ideal, I suspect not, as that’s not what I’m focused on.  I want to be stronger, so I can run faster.  And I want to be well fuelled, so that I stay healthy and avoid the dreaded lurgy, or worse, an injury.  Because that might mean I can’t get stronger and then I might miss out on achieving my goal.

So, will you be getting out there and running into Spring, to get fit for summer?  And what will you do to keep on track?  I’m keen to hear your tips!

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