Since I’ve been living in another country(that’s nine months ago), and a three month rest period after a surgery, I’ve been trying to re-establish my old routine of not being a big sedentary not-so-young-anymore man, and because it’s so easy just to sit on my sofa with my laptop watching re-runs of Lost, X-Files and Friends, I had a really hard time finding the motivation to get up and do something about it. And this is not new for me, I have a degree on sitting in front of the computer and avoid exercise for almost all my life(let’s be fair, you all are a little bit like that :P). And since I was gaining a little too much weight, it was about time to change the perspective about how I was treating my body.
After all these years, and lots and lots of feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t find a good routine to follow, it hit me: let’s combine everything. What if I grab everything I read/experienced/remember since I started doing music, started on IT and started doing exercise and find the relation between all those things? The result: a better life and a real motivation to get things done. (Now read that again as a click bait title. Explosive).
I am going to divide this article in three parts(I think). In this first one, I am going to talk about how I did to achieve a healthy running routine without that interfering other aspects of my life, and how I tweaked that routine to transform running in something fun for me(what’s the point if it’s not fun?). In the second one, I’ll talk about unicorns and how running is actually helping my professional career and my life in general. And in the third one, I’ll talk about more things to do in zero gravity and more stuff to do besides running, and good beer brands.
So here we go.
Run, fat boy, run
To run, I don’t need only motivation, but also running clothes and some accessories:
- Running shoes are essential, I’m going to impact my feet and legs against the ground thousands of times on each run, and I’ll get blisters, and it will hurt the first couple of days, so I better invest in a pair of good running shoes instead of spending that money later on doctors. Good shorts and shirt too, those dry fit kind will do nicely.
- A good running software for motivation; I’ve found out that apps like RunKeeper will let me see my progress really quick with nice reports, colorful graphs and beautiful maps. Also, it’s quite funny to hear someone saying to my ears TIME: THIRTY MINUTES, DISTANCE: SIX POINT SEVENTY FIVE KILOMETERS every five or ten minutes. And you can measure your weight, so that’s another point in favor, it keeps track on your belly.
- That leads me that I need an arm band for my mobile phone. After all, I want to be comfortable when I’m running.
- Also, handsfree earphones. You know, those with three buttons and a mic(I’ll come back to this in a minute).
- A wrist band because I’ll be sweating as much as running, and with my thick eyebrows, cleaning the sweat is vital not to feel like someone spray Mace into my eyes.
- I need to be hydrated, so a good bottle with water is necessary, always!
Now that I have the clothes and the accessories I need to set the schedule, I could just get up in the mornings and randomly say Ok, today I’ll run, but that would be inconsistent, eventually I’ll stop running and by the end of the week I’ll go back to my beloved onion crisps and watch all three Stewart Lee’s comedy vehicle series.
So I set the following rule by doing some research(by some research I mean googling for twenty minutes or so while eating a tangerine): 5 out of 7 days are good for running, no more, no less. Of course I’ve started by running once a week the first two weeks, then twice the third week, and so on. Progressively is the key word in all of this.
At first, I’ve started running in the afternoons, after work, but I was always completely tired and drained because as you already know, IT jobs are equal to a 48 hour spine surgery, every day, so most of the times I’ve skipped my duty. Not good. After some more digging(this time were only ten minutes and a beer), I’ve realised that I could wake up really early in the morning, go out, run, and be in time to go to work(after a shower, of course, you pigs). That sounds like a fantasy you could say, and yes, it is, but after two or three weeks trying to accomplish that challenge(and completely failing), I finally did it, and the first day was a blast(and all the following ones). I woke up at 5:30am, had a quick breakfast(it’s not a good idea to go out running with a full stomach), went out to this small lake that’s near my apartment, and ran. Came back, had a shower, had a full breakfast, and I was ready to start the day, and surprisingly, full with energy. Since that moment on, it was always in the mornings, 5 out of 7 days. And the best days to take the breaks are Thursdays and Sundays, and that’s because on week days I run like 4k and walk 3k, and on Saturdays I run much more than that(I’ve recently hit the 12k milestone, yay!) so Sundays are an excellent day to rest(and watch Marvel movies, yes!). And hey, it’s ok if I skip some days when in the middle of it, I’m not that hard on myself.
5 out of 7 days. In the mornings. Win.
This guy talks like if running 4km is so easy, asshole!. Well, yes, it’s easy, now, but back then when I’ve just started I couldn’t run one hundred meters without feeling like my lungs were going to come out of my ears, so the thing here is not to give up and lose hope in our bodies, be perseverant.
For me, every day I do a little more than the day before, and on Saturdays I put my body to the highest(and not extreme) possible endurance by running as far as I can. And hey, I had to quit smoking if I wanted not to need an hospital every time I finish running, so I know what kind of babilonean effort you’ll have to make to get as far as I did(which is not that far, if you think about it!).
Your progress meters(and subsequently your motivators) will be just two: How far can you run without feeling tired and how much weight did you lose every time you see the numbers in the scale. And be patient, the weight losing bit will become visible on your third or fourth month.
Only exercise will not get you into shape, that’s only 50% of the deal. You will also need a healthy diet and healthy habits(sleeping between 6 and 8 hours, for example). I was lucky with this one because I’m vegan, so my diet is already healthy(If, for some reason, you want to know why I am vegan, you can watch a film called Earthlings and you will find all the answers there).
So how come you gained so much weight if you have a vegan diet, you fat running boy?, well, bread and beer are vegan(heh!), so there’s your answer. When I’ve started running again, I was drinking every single night(and not just one or two beers, let’s be clear about that, hic!) and eating shit like chips and these big(and awesome) soy burgers that sell near some bars I frequented. I was sleeping like two or three hours a day because of the stress generated by moving in to another country, that’s another big point(like my belly). And, of course, I wasn’t doing any kind of exercise.
I still enjoy the dizziness of a couple of beers(or something more heavy, like a tasteful Johnny Walker, yummy <3), but that’s once(or even less) a week. So that’s a double win, it’s healthier and I get to enjoy the taste of alcohol even more because I’m not constantly drunk :D
So, healthy diet, healthy habits.
The ultimate motivator
Recently I’ve signed up for a 5k marathon, my first one, and I’ve picked 5k because it looks easy and doable. So I’m training hard(that is not skipping days!), and I am feeling particularly excited about the idea that I’ll be running with other people and I’ll not die trying to finish the race(I hope so!).
But the ultimate motivator is not signing up for marathons or telling people about how awesome I am for getting out of the sofa and run. The ultimate motivator is music. I couldn’t have done all of this without the help of music, and let me break down this little bit for you: rhythm. I’ve found out that my running rhythm(that’s one step per beat) is 147bpm, and it took me a while to figure out which one was mine(you will need to find yours, every one is different!), it was funny to find out that I was doing really good every time that I Ran, by A Flock of Seagulls was playing, and the same happened with My Favorite Game, by The Cardigans so I thought I need to find songs with the same BPM. That’s what I did, I went to jog.fm and made a search for songs that were between 145 and 150 BPM(Althought the ideal for me is just 147, but let’s spice up things a little bit, right?) and assembled a spotify list with all those songs, and that’s how I got to run 12k on a Saturday. Win, that’s when running became fun.
As you already can tell, the process wasn’t simple and, it looks like I’ve everything figured out since the beginning, but I wasn’t, in fact, it required a big dose of patience and try and fail(try and catch, rings a bell?, ha!), lots and lots of willpower and having to decline almost all the let’s go out and get drunk invites, among other things.
But the best part of all was the result of all this to my body: losing weight, getting my mind to work because my blood is flowing again(lol), feeling better, and so on.
And the reward is big, really big: My work is going better, my music skills improving(which makes everything even better), my studying is better, and, hell, I am even writing again!. But how did that happened? Well, that’s what part II is all about.
See you soon. Or not.
Oh, the earphones with buttons? Sometimes the song that’s playing isn’t that good, so it’s nice to have a skip button(or maybe you want to pause it because some nice tree started to talk to you). Also, if someone calls, you can tell them to go fuck themselves because you are running!