May 15, 2020
Seriously, I would never have carried on running for all these years if I was not completely reliant on the motivation of external factors to keep me active.
- And the ability to showoff on social media
Those 3 things have kept my hugely motivated over the last decade.
My blog The Fat Girls Guide to Running was set up after coming dead last in a race 10 years ago.
I can remember getting out of the bath and sitting on the sofa thinking,
“What can I do to keep me motivated, how can I hold myself accountable more”
There were no two ways about it I had to create a community.
I had to have other people keeping an eye on what I am doing. Holding me to account.
And so the TFTR community was born.
There will be people who read this and thinking, “Why can’t you just be motivated yourself”
And if that works for you great.
But for me, I need external factors.
Which leaves me a little screwed right now.
I love having a goal in the distance to work towards.
I had 7 years to get ready for 2012…well not quite, and no I didn’t run in the Olympics…I worked on them as a community engagement specialist…working to get the neighbouring boroughs ready to welcome the week.
I just so happened to run my first marathon that year too.
That was a huge motivator for me to actually train.
I even joined a proper running club too.
But without races in the diary, I ain’t going to lie…I am struggling.
Combine that with no childcare, worries about keeping my business going….and the general anxiety of what’s going on in the world. I have been struggling to keep fitness on the agenda.
A few Sundays ago I ran 5K in my underground carpark to mark what should have been me running 26.2 miles around London…and it was neither fast nor pretty…I did have a pretty awesome marshall and race director though…my 7 year old was an awesome support team.
But what are you supposed to do on a day to day basis when your mojo is well and truly gone? And even if you did want to run, logistically its a nightmare?
8 Weeks ago as lockdown was becoming more and more imminent I knew this would be a problem for so many women…yes men too, but women in particular.
And so Thrive Inside was born
A donation-based programme of mindset, wellbeing, fitness and movement sessions to keep our bodies and minds occupied.
The free facebook community which has more than 1700 members is an enormous support to us all, with weekly mental health check-ins and a safe space for people to celebrate their movement no matter how small, our 3pm dance offs, and timelapse workouts.
It’s tough though.
I want to do all of the sessions, but fitting them in, making sure I’m in work out clothes, having fuelled effectively…and simply having the energy is tough.
I listen to a lot of the guest expert talks while working, or before bed.
I’ve been attending the Wednesday early evening indoor bike sessions…and I sporadically do the dance offs….sometimes my 7 year old joins in (sometimes she just rolls her eyes at me)
I don’t beat myself up if I can’t do the sessions.
Just knowing there is a structure there if I need it helps.
So with no major races in my diary…like NONE…I am now having to focus on smaller wins.
- A daily walk
- Some stretching
- 15 minutes of skipping (I did yesterday on our communal courtyard before breakfast)
- Our occasional bike rides
Seeing folks doing what they can in my community encourages me to do the same….like a cycle on Saturday when I really didn’t feel like heading out.
I see folks smashing their daily workouts elsewhere and sometimes I get triggered into feelings of guilt and shame…like I’m not doing enough.
My neighbour is doing 1000 reps a day of all kinds of strength exercises (good for her)
I read on Facebook folks who have reconnected with their love of yoga, or are still smashing their 10,000 steps a day goal…and seriously I am really happy for them.
For the time being.
I can not commit to more than doing what I can, when I can, if I can.
Wellbeing is not just about weight control or cardiovascular fitness, its also about mental health, and family balance, and for me financial security….and self esteem.
I will get more structure into my workout routine when I can.
But for now, I am good.
Our only job right now is to stay well. To stay home (for those of us who can) and to stay well (did I say that already?)…as well as we can be.
I have had a good run through haven’t I?
A decade of races, 5 marathons, 2 triathlons, an ultramarathon, a few mountains climbs for good measure, obstacle course races, a new cross fit obsession, swimathons, wellness retreats….literally 100s of events, hundreds of adventures.
My work over the last decade has taken me to over 20 countries…and maybe that’s what upsets me most, that loss of freedom…and having something exciting and new to look forward to.
So this morning as I write this blog before the little one gets up for her (maybe) session of Joe Wicks, I am allowing myself to feel that grief and loss, for all the things I can’t do anymore…but also allow myself to feel incredible gratitude that I got to live that life for such a long time.
It’s been an incredible ride.
And who knows what is around the corner.
For now, my focus is to continue thriving inside…in whichever way I can.
Julie Creffield is a 5 times marathon runner and founder of the Too Fat to Run movement. On a mission To register for Thrive Inside click here.
Also…you can now order a limited edition Thrive Inside “Leisure Wear” Tshirt…Cos it’s all about the leisurewear right ladies?
When TFTR turned from a blog into a business in 2013, the jobcentre wouldn’t give me a loan for a coaching business, but they would for a T-shirt printing one.
So my initial £1500 business loan was spent on a branding expert, a website designer, and 100 Too Fat to Run Tshirts…I roped my friends in, to model…and the business was born.
To date there are more than 5000 women around the world sporting official TFTR merchandise, it’s been a big part of us being more visible in the sport, and connecting with each other at races. These new Tshirts are me going back to basics….so please show your support.