Honestly, I started 2023 with a number of goals quite clear in my head, and I knew exactly what I needed to do to get them done.
What I didn’t account for is that I would end up being ill almost constantly over the last 3 months. Now don’t get me wrong I’m in the grand scheme of things pretty healthy, there’s nothing terrible or life threatening wrong and I feel a bit of a drama queen at times. Nonetheless I’ve really struggled to get things done. A mixture of not being able to do much cardio due to breathing problems and generally not feeling up to training because of feeling ill and just generally, particularly in the last couple of weeks, just wanting to sleep all the time, has meant that I haven’t been able to train as I planned. Obviously that means I haven’t reached the goals I wanted to by this point in the year.
I’ve had to adjust my expectations on some goals which are related to time specific events and I’ve had to accept that some other goals will just take longer. It’s really frustrating though when you aren’t where you planned to be. I think more so because I know that this is genuinely beyond my control. Had I not done things because I just hadn’t I’d be less annoyed I think, but I feel stuck in a place where I really want to do things and my body is literally saying a very loud no.
Patience is not a virtue of mine but I’m currently trying to be reasonable with myself as to how I view my body and fitness at this moment.
The cough continues. To be honest it’s probably now the defining part of my personality, what’s Heather like? Oh well she coughs a lot.
Honestly it’s exhausting and I’ve started to try and train a bit more but I feel quit light headed and just have zero cardio capacity.
I’ve been given another steroid spray, some steroid tablets and an inhaler to try and clear whatever is causing it and I’m really hoping it starts to work quickly so I can get a few decent runs in ahead of next month. So far it’s basically made me feel worse but I’m optimistic!
I’m also hungry, like all the time. I think it maybe has something to do with not always being able to taste much, so i juts always want to eat more (and I like eating at the best of times anyway). I’m going to try and be more mindful in April because I feel like dropping a couple of pounds will assist the runs.
Really hopeful that within the month I’ll be ale to get back to moving more without always trying to tackle a cough – i feel like this would be a bigger win than running two half’s in May!
As we approach the end of the first quarter of the year, which quite frankly feels like it’s flown by, I feel a bit like I’ve massively underachieved.
In terms of training I’m way out from where I planned to be for my goals, in particular the two half marathons I’m doing in May. My goal had been not to just run them but actually enjoy running them, feel comfortable and in a position to push for a time rather than just get round.
As much as I’ve tried to keep on top of training, the never ending cough has just prevented me from running or at least doing so for any extended period of time. Most runs have been a mixture of running and walking (with coughing fits in between).
I’m readjusting my goals for these and looking to get in the best place I can (the cough does seem to be improving a little) and then enjoying them rather than thinking about times. In reality I do then have the second half of the year to then push for more performance based goals once (hopefully) I’m healthier.
Adjusting your expectations and not getting despondent is actually quite difficult. There’s so much out there about sticking to plans no matter what, pushing through, no pain no gain and so on, that sometimes it can feel like defeat to adjust goals to something more manageable.
I think that mind set is why a lot of people give up on new training plans and goals after a while. If it doesn’t work out perfectly straight away you can end up feeling like a failure or guilty and it’s almost easier to say maybe it’s not for me or I can’t so it.
From my point of view though, doing these half marathons will still be an achievement. It will still have positive effects on me (both physically, mentally) and I can always try again over the coming months to hit the milestones in terms of performance I originally wanted to.
For most of us, a not perfect change, is still going to be massively beneficial (albeit not quite as Instagram post worthy) and so sometimes we need to just modify things a bit and keep going.
My cough has still not gone.
I’ve had a clear X-ray and other things ruled out which is positive, overall I’m pretty healthy. I just. cannot. shift. the. cough.
It’s tiring, i have a constant headache, my ribs hurt, my throat is sore and whilst I know my lunges are clear I feel like I’m drowning and my breathing is terrible.
Starting to get a bit concerned about running the half marathons I’ve signed up for. I’m not running fit and training at the moment feels impossible, I can run for about 5 minutes before I feel breathless so getting any long runs in prior to May is starting to feel doubtful. My aim for these half’s hadn’t been time based but I wanted to get to the start line confident I could get round comfortably and actually enjoy it (as opposed to last May when getting round by any means necessary had been the baseline) and I’m annoyed with myself that I’m not going to get to that point in time because my body is not playing ball.
It’s not just that, I teach classes and at the moment I just can’t do it – I can’t do cardio for myself let alone talk, and think and focus on people and what they are doing at the same time as trying to stand upright whilst exercising.
I’ve got some more steroids to see if that helps shift some of the build up and hopefully make it possible to actually exercise but at the moment I’m just generally feeling sorry for myself, I know exactly what I’d say to a client in my position but self enforced rest is incredibly hard when you’re used to training most days!
So I haven’t posted an update for a few weeks (since week 14 to be precise). My cough is back.
Well technically it didn’t actually leave it just eased for a while in December and January (so it was like I had something caught in my throat) and then all of a sudden BAM, I sound like I smoke 20 a day again. Honestly, it sounds like I’m trying to cough up a lung again.
I’ve coughed so much everything hurts, including my throat and then after trying to suppress the cough because I know how much I’m annoying everyone with the never ending noise, I lost my voice and sounded like I was trying to communicate in secret with some alien life form who can only hear incredibly high pitched squeaks.
Really struggling to train or run right now because I can’t control my breathing and everything feels heavy, which is apart from anything else mentally tough.
Hoping that by the end of this week I’ll have a better idea from the doctor of what I can do to get rid of the cough so that I can get back to some semblance of normality. I’m signed up for two (yes two because I’m not that bright) half marathons in May so really need to be back to full health so I can get some decent long runs in soon!
As we come into February I’m starting to think about my fitness goals for the rest of the year and to help me focus on what I need to do training wise for them I got my debit card out and started actually booking events.
Actually paying to sign up to that event is a great way of motivating yourself to start doing the actual work required. As long as something remains a ‘maybe’ it’s always going to be easy to put off doing the work you know is required, whereas as soon as you know you’ve committed it makes it much more real.
If you have some goals in mind, like a race you want to run, think about getting yourself signed up as soon as you can afford to, then you can start to look at your training planning from event day backwards and giving yourself a tangible action plan and some incentive to actually stick to it.
You know when you have weeks where nothing goes wrong but it feels like you didn’t do much right either? That’s been this week.
I literally ended the week feeling like, well I need to kick myself up the arse if I want to achieve my goals for 2023.
But actually it’s wasn’t a bad week. I did eat a bit ad hoc but I was also pretty much in calorie range.
I missed a few days training but did still do 4 gym sessions, 3 runs and 2 classes. I average 20,000 steps a day.
Sometimes you need to reflective on the facts of what you did in a week and then compare that reality to what your head is telling you.
Of course sometimes we think we’ve done great when actually we’re not where we think we are. This is most common with our diet, where we forget the coffees and sauces and so on that add calories to our diet as we wonder how we’ve not lost weight when we’ve been so good.
But equally, sometimes we can just be a bit hard on ourselves and focus on what we haven’t done instead of what we have.
Monday is the start of a fresh week, but no matter what your intentions, forget about being perfect and aim to get a few key things done with anything extra being a bonus. You’re much more likely to achieve this and much less likely to decide to give up come Wednesday this way.
I’ve not felt great this week and it’s affected what I’ve eaten and how often I’ve trained.
Mentally I’ve just not had the inclination to stick to the meals I’ve planned and a few times I’ve talked myself out of going to the gym or for a run even knowing I’d actually feel better if I did.
Mindset and training are so very linked for a lot of us. People often say they train for their mental health and I don’t think I’m alone in knowing that I feel better when I train or move daily and worse when I don’t. I also don’t think I’m alone though in saying that if I’m stressed and tired it’s sometimes really tempting to just skip a workout which can end up being counterproductive.
One thing that I have in my favour though is that, by and large, training is a pretty well ingrained habit for me. Whilst I’ve had a couple of days where I’ve dropped the ball a bit I quickly got back into my routine and got some movement in. Generally, during the week, come 1pm I get up, grab my bag and go to the gym. Often I’m in gym kit before my brain registers I’m about to move. By that point it’s kind of irrelevant whether I feel like training or not. I mean, you know how hard getting in and out of a sports bra is? If I’ve dealt with that hurdle, I may as well train.
Creating habits is the best way to create change. If you can get so used to doing something you do it without really thinking and then you’ll keep doing it regularly (think brushing your teeth every morning and night, how often do you think about doing that? You still do it though). Motivation and enjoyment will always ebb and flow so relying on those to train or eat well is a risky business. Making training and meal prepping and drinking water and going on a little daily walks are simple habits to get into which make it more likely you will just do them regardless (and if you do have a few bad days makes it much easier to get back into the habit quickly).
I might find that I don’t see great results this week after a few less than brilliant days, but I have limited damage ad made sure I don’t end up spiralling for days or weeks or months.
January is actually pretty well underway, it feels like we’ve only just come back after Christmas but it’s already 16th. It just goes to show that January is a funny month and I do wonder why we think it’s the best idea to start all the ‘new’ stuff in a month where it’s mostly dark, we have financial and literal hangovers from Christmas and every other day someone tells you it’s meant to snow next week.
Nonetheless, I feel like I’ve got some stuff done already this year. I’ve shift a few Christmas pounds, am in a routine training wise (albeit, I do need to ramp this up if I want to do the fitness goals I’ve set myself this year) and I’ve done one thing that scared me already with my other not fitness thing that scares me hopefully sorted for when it’s a bit warmer.
What I know I need to do on pay day is book in some runs. Right now the goals are a bit too abstract for my brain to kick into gear and make me push myself harder in training sessions, once they’re booked I’ll have the fear factor to help me a bit. I, you see, know that I need a deadline to get stuff done. I’ll quite happily amble along thinking ahh yeah I’ll get to that if I don’t have something concrete to focus on.
I think the best piece of fitness advice I could give anyone this year who has set a fitness goal, whether you be new to the gym or a regular who’s set themselves some big ‘thing’ is select your event or milestone and do something to set it in stone (i.e. book the run, the swim, the competition spot) and use the fear that generates to garner a bit of motivation.
Hands up if the first week of the year has been a bit of a false start?
We start January 1st with good intentions but it’s always a hard first week back, you still have loads of Christmas food, going back to work after a break is tiring and generally we have a bit of a Christmas hangover.
You don’t have to start new habits on 1st January though, not doing so doesn’t preclude you from starting at any other point in the year.
More than that, habits don’t have to be all or nothing. If you’ve made a start this week but have been a bit hit and miss that’s ok.
Hitting 80% of what you’ve aimed to do 80% of the time will still bring better results that a few super strict days now and then nothing the rest of the year.
I’ve trained and eaten ok this week but still had off days, tomorrow I start back with a. Bit more focus on my diet and a bit more intensity in my training (bigs goals set for myself this year).
If you’ve been beating yourself up for not having the best start to the year so far you can still make the changes you want.