To say that running is outside my comfort zone barely does justice to the complete meltdown I generally experience at the thought of anything over a hundred meters and faster than a brisk power walk. Although you could say I love to exercise and keep active, I'm more of a yoga, Pilates, weights, boxing or F45 type of girl . . . Basically, anything except running! And yet, I'm a total sucker for a challenge and am strangely addicted to breaking out of the beautiful, cushy comfort zone as delightful as my time there may be. So, once a year for the past few years, I've made myself do a fun run of some kind just to keep myself in check and push myself to new limits. This year, I'm excited (and outrageously nervous) to be at it again but bigger and better than before.
I am so delighted to be joining the Nike team for their Go More Get More Challenge in the lead up to Run Melbourne — I might even have a crack at the half marathon, as outrageous as that sounds to me right now!
If any of that sounds like you, I promise that even us non-runners can do it and you too can join us in the challenge! When the amazing Nike team reached out inviting Nic and I to join, I couldn't resist the opportunity to try out a proper, structured training program and see what my body can do when it's actually prepared (rather than my former wing-it-then-be-unable-to-walk-for-a-few-days-afterwards model).
While my previous efforts have been around five kilometers (which is still quite a long distance for me), the others in our challenge team are doing the half marathon, so I figured I might as well give that a red-hot crack. And so, begins the craziest, least Sarah-esque few months running up a storm in preparation for the big day on July 28th. Having never run that far or trained properly before, I have no idea what to expect but I think that's the beauty of new things.
I'm learning from my own example that half of it is mental anyway. I've never figured out how far I can run because my mind tells me to stop well before I get that far. I'm also not the best at taking things slowly, but I know it will take time to build up to longer distances — smaller baby steps will often get you further! It's super easy to download the NRC App and join the challenge from there, which sets out the distances you should aim for over the whole month. You can track your run route, pace, distance and even listen to guided runs too. There are options for both beginners like me, but it also caters to the speedy Gonzales kinds like Nic who is a former athlete.
We'll also be giving away some awesome Nike prizes along the way for fellow challenge go-ers, so it's worth your while in more ways than one! We've had our first training session and met our coach Dave Ridley who has also set out our next runs for the first few weeks. I won't lie, the first session was pretty tough but I still ran further without stopping than I have in such a long time, purely because the team mentality stopped me from bailing like I otherwise would.
Since then, I've been doing 20 minute runs twice a week for over three kilometers without stopping to walk, and much to my surprise I've been finding it slightly easier each time. Consistency is key and I can't wait to see how the next few weeks unfold. If anything comes from this, I hope to be an example that even lifelong non-runners can still achieve long distances with the right preparation and mindset. For a helpless A-type overachiever, I'm also learning that you don't have to be the best at something for it to be worth doing and even enjoyable (shock horror). There's basically no excuse not to join me!