When I finished the Great North Run, and had recovered from the cold that kept me from doing a decent time, I realised I’d nothing planned til next year.
Admittedly next year will see me try my biggest challenge, the 50km Canalathon in March and potentially (depending on how bleurgh I feel afterwards) tackling Manchester Marathon two weeks later, but it felt weird not to have something sooner to aim for. I know myself well enough that I thrive on a challenge, and I love to have a goal in sight. But what could I do?
Inspiration struck when friends began taking part in Stoptober. I don’t have an addiction to kick – at least not one I want to kick, coffee and I have a good relationship. And it seems to me a pretty negative challenge, to give something up. I like positives, so I decided to find something to do.
Dontstoptober was born.
I challenged myself to run every day in October. No restrictions on how far, no ideals on how fast, no time restrictions, no rules. All I had to do was run every day. Well, that and my usual gym visits.
And I ran.
And I ran. Sometimes post gym session, sometimes to work, sometimes home from work. Whatever worked. Whatever fit in with what I was doing.
I ran anything from a 3km circuit near home.
To a 7km run to the office.
I ran in the dark.
And in the daytime.
I won’t say it was easy – there were times when fitting in 20 minutes around the block meant going to bed later than planned, or getting up at silly AM. And the runs weren’t always pleasant. My last one involved me running past a large group of teenagers drinking and throwing fireworks around in Chorlton. And one or two drivers – despite my voluminous fluorescent bib – still managed to miss me. Luckily I spotted them.
I fell over twice, (laughed at once), and I’ve spotted lots of other runners out and about – interestingly it’s mostly the ladies who’ll happily say good morning or wave, I’ve only seen one chap who did the same and shared a laugh as we crossed each other a second time.
But for the most part, it was fun. I love the feeling I get after a run, and starting the day off feeling that little bit smug because you’ve done your exercise for the day. I also ran in some gorgeous weather conditions and under beautiful sunsets and sunrises.
I’ve been able to eat and drink pretty much whatever I want because I’ve easily burnt the calories off, and though I’ve not lost any weight, my muscle mass has gone up and the podge has come down.
And my totals? Well, just see for yourself:
163.63km or 101 miles. The equivalent of running to Chester and back or a toddle over to Carlisle.
And a total of 20526 calories burnt. So 67 cupcakes or 80 Big Macs.
Not bad for a fat bird.
So November, and I ask the question of myself, what next?
Well it turns out my personal trainer liked the idea of Donstoptober so much, he’s come up with Go-vember, a month of doing a little something every day – whether it’s yoga, pilates, running or cycling, something to keep us from lounging on the sofa, and get us up and at ’em.
I started yesterday by kicking off a 30 day plank challenge and a day of stretches to loosen my body up after a hard months’ graft and today will see a good hard weights session, as well plank day two.
Next week (I’m giving myself a week off running wise) will see the start of my Canalathon training, so I’ll still be running, but it’ll be more distance focussed.
But though it’s already 2 November, there’s still time to join in for Go-vember. Dig out your trainers, or your shorts and t-shirt, and I might see you on the yoga matt, pounding the pavement, or picking up some dumbells.
It’s never too late.