The Mistakes I Made When I First Took Up Running

I would do everything differently now.

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It all began when I fell pregnant.

With the arrival of my son, my body was never the same. Pregnancy and birth wreaked havoc on my body.

For starters, there was the weight gain which subsequently caused stretch marks and loose muscles. My new body now consisted of a flabby belly and non-existent waistline. Literally.

I loved my son endlessly, I still do in case you are wondering. But I was not at all impressed by the state of my body. Far from it. Especially my flabby belly.

I wanted to change that and I knew I could.

You’d think I was doing this for health and longevity. Nope. I was driven by an incessant desire for a flat tummy. Turns out I am vain like that.

I figured that by using my strong Kenyan legs, I would take up running, the visceral fat would melt away and then maybe I could flatten my tummy.

And just like that, I launched into what would later morph into a lifestyle: Running.

I picked up a luminous green fitting top, black pants and a pair of black sports shoes. They seemed sporty enough for the gym and off I went.

Heart pounding, running out of breath, lungs failing and sweating like a pig! That was me, nine years ago when I took up running. One day, I looked at the reflection in the mirror after being on the treadmill for half an hour. I thought I was going to die.

To date, this is an image I still recall and very vividly in fact.

No one warned me that those first days would be nothing but pure torture. I cringe, just thinking about how every fiber of my body would hurt so badly after running.

The days of heart-pounding, running out of breath, lungs failing and sweating like a pig were many. In retrospect, I had great intentions but I was doing everything wrong.

To begin with, I didn’t have a concrete guideline of how to operate a treadmill. But it didn’t take long to figure that out. I particularly recall looking at one inscription on the machine. It was in red and stated that I was to make an immediate stop if became dizzy. It was the one I pressed when at some point, I accelerated the speed so much that it left me gasping for air.

Talk about fumbling in the dark!

If I knew then what I know now, I would do my due diligence and hire a personal trainer. Not only would he(I prefer a guy) shed the much-needed light on the basics, but he would save my neck from the agony of injuring myself.

I would take a bit further and enlist in a running group for some motivation. To heighten my commitment, I would carve out a definite time to run 3 to 4 times a week.

I now know better than to underestimate the importance of good training gear. A lightweight, stretchable pair of pants and top not only makes me feel super sexy, which is superb motivation by the way but also guarantees superior comfort.

A good sports bra is an absolute must.

To date, I am convinced that my running shoes were responsible for the pain on my leg joints. To an extent anyway. I had just picked up a random shoe whose cushioning was not enough to minimize the impact running had on my legs.

Until I embarked on running, I had no idea how easy it was to train the human body.

When I began, not a soul under the face of the earth could make me run more than 1K. Gradually, I realized that with proper warm-up and consistency, I could extend it to 1.5K. That was big.

With time, clocking 7K became easily attainable. At this point, I was beginning to feel as if I was giving Kipchoge Keino a run for his money. Ha!

In essence, I was learning that running is a test of will, influenced by the mind.

Once I understood that I was able to push myself even further. My lungs were slowly adapting to the strain of the exercise. I could now readily absorb oxygen and convert it to fuel which kept me engaged longer.

Did I always feel like running? Nope.

I had some humdrum days when my motivation gauge read zero. Twice, I stepped up to the treadmill and couldn’t last longer than 5 minutes. I stepped down and walked away. Just like that.

In those days, no amount of positive self-talk or mind power could make me run. I was beginning to learn the importance of listening to my body.

Many times, I forgot to stretch after a rigorous workout and ended up nursing sore muscles. At one point, I had to contend with a sprained ankle.

I stopped weaving my hair altogether because the sweat from running would cause an itching frenzy, brutal enough to bruise my scalp.

I am far from the crest of my heart’s desire. But I am nowhere close to where I started nine years ago. Truth be told, I am still striving to lay hold of that highly elusive flat tummy. I also think that I am doing poorly in regards to giving Kipchoge Keino a run for his money.

But that’s okay. Am not too fussed.

Taking into consideration that I embarked on running nine years ago, I should be pumped up and fit enough to contest a full marathon. So I guess I need to roll up my sleeves and step on it.

But for now, I am happy with the progress I have made over the nine years I have been at it.

Like all most things in life, it is by making mistakes that you learn what works and what doesn’t.

You attempt to do something new, you fail or hurt in the process, but when you get past licking your wounds, you realize that you are better for it.

You are wiser.

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Here to help you create the best relationship with yourself & others. 👑 Let's chat: leah.njoki.medium@gmail.com. Blog:ownyourspark.com

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