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How to get yourself out the door when you can’t be arsed.
When talking about becoming a runner we often turn to uber-fit athletes for advice, but sometimes it can feel like they don’t quite understand what it’s like to work your way up from zero.
But co-host of The Juggling Act and executive editor at Kidspot, Melissa Wilson, knows exactly what it’s like to start from the bottom.
“I could hardly run for three minutes. I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” Wilson told host Felicity Harley on the latest episode of Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, which you can listen to below.
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“I won’t lie. I hate every single step. I still don’t like running. I’m not a runner, but I love the feeling when I’ve done it. It’s that achievement. I feel like I’ve got all the endorphins going. It’s just time to process everything in my head.”
So, how did she go from zero to hero on the running track in such a short period of time?
After an unfortunate netball incident in 2019 that saw her snap her ACL, Wilson was forced to endure 12 months of rehab to recover from the injury and, once recovered, had to choose a new form of exercise to do.
“I played sport my whole life and I had to have something for me that was just a break from work, from family that could help clear my head and keep my body as healthy as I could in the middle of a pandemic. I was seeing lots of people running on Instagram and I just thought,’maybe I [could] give that a go,” she explains.
A quick download of the app ‘Couch to 5k’ was all she needed to get started.
“I remember when it would get to the stage where it was [saying to] run for 10 minutes in a row, and I’d see it before I’d start my run, and think ‘I can’t do this’. I was really amazed by how quickly my fitness did build up,” she says.
Wilson says she was able to run 5km about 8 or 9 weeks after she began running, and by 11 weeks, she completed a 6.3km run in 35 minutes.
Like many who take to running as their primary sport, Wilson says it has done wonders for her mental health, so much so, that she now even engages in “rage runs”.
“Sometimes if I’m really pissed off about something – if the day is not going well at work, the kids are driving me mental, I’m sick of lockdown and the pandemic and not being able to see my family – I love a good rage run,” she explains.
“I have to put on music that’s loud, and heavy, and scary. If my kids accidentally pick up my pods and put them in while I’m listening to it, they’re like, ‘oh naughty words,'” she joked. “I just have to have it blasting in my head to keep me going. And there’s nothing better than a rage run.
“That feeling afterwards, even if it’s just 20 minutes, if that’s all I get done and then I’m back at my desk at home and working, I feel like I’ve done something for myself, cleared my head and my body feels better. And now I’m running every single day, even if it’s raining, I feel like a badass when I go running in the rain.”
Wilson says her trick to putting the runners on even when she doesn’t feel like it is to commit to always going for the first five minutes of the run, no matter what.
“If I’m not feeling it after five minutes, I tell myself that I can go home and that’s it, and it is fine and I’ll go again tomorrow. 95 per cent of the time, once you have run five minutes and you’ve made the effort to get out the door and put your trainers on, you keep going because otherwise you feel like it’s just a waste. But every now and then I have gone, ‘I’m just not vibing it today. I’m going to go home’,” she says
She adds that the most important thing is to ensure consistency is to “remove as many obstacles as you can.
“Don’t overthink it,” she explains. “I have to do it in the morning. If I wait until the afternoon or the end of the day, I’m too tired. Once you do it in the morning it sets up your day.”
Now, who else is rushing to get off the couch and download that app? Just us?
Listen to an episode of The Juggling Act here. Or follow Melissa on Instagram @melwilson_journo
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