The Mindset Behind My Couch to 5k Expedition [Part 1]

If you’re thinking of embarking on a running program, or any similar fitness program, here’s a run down (pun intended) of my story and the mindset shifts that helped me. 


I knew WHY I wanted to do it

The discomfort of being breathless on flights was a big motivator for me.  This wasn’t just in my head, or caused by anxiety, this was physical breathlessness caused by altitude and I knew this would be a great problem to solve (especially as I knew I wanted to travel more).  But I was confused.  I knew this was linked to poor cardio ability (I HATED cardio and avoided it like the plague) but, the question was, did I need to do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or more endurance type stuff?  An athlete friend suggested endurance and she recommended the Couch to 5k app.   So I signed up.  


I had to BELIEVE my body could do it

I exist in a heavier body and running made me feel like a big ole heavy lump.  I was close to 13 stone when I embarked on this with a dodgy knee and a dodgy back having had spinal surgery in 2010.  Having to withstand long periods of running made me quite fearful.   Was I just going to mess up my joints and was this just going to be too overwhelming for my nervous system?  Also, endurance had never been my thing, I was more of a power girl.  When I was in my very early 20’s I trained to be an aerobics instructor and the feedback I always got was that my teaching was great, my moves were great, but I ran out of steam half way through and really needed to work on my fitness.  So I had some limiting beliefs circulating in my subconscious that I really needed prove wrong.  I’d seen other people accomplish Couch to 5K who were like me and I was so intrigued to see what my body could do.  I REALLY wanted to KNOW my body and mind as a runner and as someone who could endure longer periods of challenge so it was time to believe my body could do it. 


I invested in the right gear

A few years ago I discovered the power of earthing.  When we walk barefoot on the earth, we absorb negative ions through the soles of our feet which contribute to overall health and wellbeing including better sleep and lower inflammation.  The trouble is, our rubber soled shoes insulate us from this powerful connection to mother earth.  That’s where my Bahé grounding trainers come in.  Bahé have developed incredible technology in their running shoes which means you CAN absorb negative ions through the soles of their trainers, while doing outdoor running.  I’ve been wearing them for over a year and I swear by them.  When I started Couch to 5k I invested in a new pair along with some proper running leggings, a powerful sports bra and a waterproof jacket.  I looked good, I felt the part and I wanted to get out there and do this.  If you want to check out Bahé's running trainers click the picture below which will take you to my affiliate link. 

I got into a hypnotic state

As a hypnotherapist I know the power of the hypnotic state.   One of the curious things about this state is how time goes so quickly.  Bingo!  I thought.  What if I could get into a hypnotic state while running?  I could breeze through 30/40 minutes.  Truth be told, I didn’t have to try to access the hypnotic state, it just came upon me when I let myself relax and slightly dissociate.  We often think of dissociation as a negative thing, but it can be extremely helpful when you are wanting to withstand something challenging.  You can 'check out' a bit.  When that bell goes and says ‘you’ve done 5 mins’ and you’ve got 25 more to go, the power of dissociation comes in very handy.  I cast my gaze downwards looking up only to get the lay of the land.   I ran without my sight glasses on so my gaze was hazy, I either listened to a podcast (which automatically puts you into hypnosis, yes be careful when driving please!) or my favourite dark pop soundtrack, so I could get all emo on myself.  I also preferred to run in the dark, less distractions, more space to get in the zone.   


I knew the limitation was not in my body

I was curious as to why this progression felt relatively easy.  The way the app works is that it divides your exercise time up into walk/run/walk/run etc and eventually lengthens the run components and shortens the walk components while at the same time extending the overall exercise time.  It’s genius because it plays a game with your mind.  I’m pretty sure, from a physical point of view, I could have run 5K right from the get go, but my mind had no proof, no will and no belief.  These shorter increments start to build the BELIEF in your system that you can actually do this and when you believe you can do it, your mind and body start to unify creatiing a resistance free process towards the end goal.  


Ok, so that's part one.  Look out for part 2 next week and in the meantime, if you've got any questions for me about Couch to 5k or running in general, reach out to me via WhatsApp here


If you're interested in learning more about what it really takes to make changes, check out my new podcast here with Serena Simmons, What The Bleep is Behaviour Change Anyway


If you're interested in working with me 121, click here


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