February is the New January

treadmill

running shoes

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like the entire month of January basically just passed by in a blur?

I don’t know: I feel like I started the month with all of the usual, “New Year, New You,” intentions. I would get back into my fitness routine! I would run every day! And eat super-healthily! The house would always be spotlessly clean, I’d be up and at my desk by 6.30am every morning, and I would, you know, DO STUFF. Cool stuff. And also important and self-improving stuff…

Yeah, absolutely none of that happened.

I went running a grand total of ONE time during the month of January. ONE time. And when I got back from that run, I got suck straight back into what was left of the Christmas chocolate, so, as achievements go, it wasn’t exactly a great one. The rest of the month panned out exactly the same way, and while a large part of that was due to the looming deadline I mentioned last week (Which is now past! I am free!) a lot of it was also, let’s face it, down to pure laziness. Seriously.

So, this month I’m starting again. I’m basically going to just pretend January didn’t happen, and start afresh in February. And to help me do it, last weekend we bought a treadmill.

I know, I know: buying a treadmill at the start of the year… so predictable. So pointless. So destined to be used purely as extra hanging space for my clothes before the month is out.

Well, maybe. But I’m really hoping it won’t work out that way, because I’ve wanted a treadmill for as long as I’ve been running, really: or at least since the moment I worked out that running was the only form of exercise I actually like. It would be a stretch to say I “love” running (I honestly wouldn’t do any exercise at all if I didn’t have to. I would recline on a chaise lounge and eat bon bons all day.), but out of all of the forms of exercise I’ve tried (and I think I’ve tried them all at this point), it’s the only one I’ve ever been able to keep up on a consistent basis. I think I like it because it allows me to pretty much switch my brain off while I’m doing it. I can listen to music, I can watch TV… I can think about all of the things that are constantly spinning around in my head, or I can think about absolutely nothing at all. I like that. I just obviously don’t like it enough to want to jump out of bed in the mornings and get right to it, because over the space of the last year or so, my running has gradually tapered off, right down to that “one run in the month of January” thing. Uh-oh.

See, my problem is that if my chosen exercise requires any amount of what I think of as “faffing”, I just won’t do it. I quit the gym, not because I didn’t like using their running machines, but because I had to drive there and back, and that extra 35-40 minutes of “faffing” was more than enough to allow me to convince myself that I just didn’t have the time. I would go tomorrow! Or, you know, the next day! But, of course, tomorrow never comes, and in the end I decided just to accept that fact, cut my losses, and quit the gym.

So I started running outdoors. And I liked it, too. But then we moved house, and although our new house is surrounded by lovely countryside, which you’d think would make it the ideal place for outdoor running, it just isn’t. In order to run outdoors here, I have basically three choices:

1. Run through isolated countryside, where the ground is often so boggy and the grass so tall that I can’t see my feet, and am constantly worried that I’ll step in a rabbit hole or something, break my ankle and die, alone, on that desolate moor. A lot of the time I’ll be up to my ankles/calves in mud, and while I know REAL runners would think nothing of that, I am so far from being a “real” runner that I just find it horribly uncomfortable and unpleasant.

2. Run on dangerous country roads, where there is no footpath, just a single-lane road, along which The Others drive at 80 mph, refusing to slow down or swerve to avoid me. (Honestly, this absolutely infuriates me. I know they can see me from quite a distance away, but they still refuse to slow down or move to the side, preferring to just narrowly miss me, and scare the living daylights out of me instead. I hate them.)

3. Get in the car and drive to a location better suited for running, which = FAFFING.

So we got a treadmill. (And a new pair of running shoes, because OF COURSE I would find this a way to make this all about buying shoes. They’re hideous, obviously, but I’ve been running long enough now to know that you really can’t care too much what your shoes look like, as long as they fit…) Now I have no excuse not to work out. There is no faffing. There is no mud. There are no Others. There’s just me, the treadmill, and Netflix. Together, we will triumph over February, winter, and my natural inclination to simply stay in bed until springtime. And, I mean, I will still be running outdoors too, when I can: it’ll just be nice not to be constrained by the weather (Or the daylight: in the winter it’s dark here by around 3pm, and I’m not running through the woods/on the country road in the dark…), or to feel like I’m taking part in one of those “Mudder” challenges every time I leave the house.

Or that’s the plan, anyway.


14 Comments

  • New blog post, all about my new treadmill and how I totally intend to use it aaalll the time: http://t.co/SZGqMRmUJ3 #fitness #running

  • I suppose technically I’m a “real runner” (member of a club, run 4-5 times a weeks, enter races) but I don’t blame you at all for not wanting to run in isolated locations alone! Even in hi-viz clothing, country lanes can be dangerous as ppl rarely slow down & like you, I’m not tramping through woods & fields on my own in the dark!

    Best of luck with fitness Feb, you’ll get a lot watched using the treadmill! Silver linings :)

    • Amber says:

      Haha, yes, I’ll finally get the chance to catch up on all the TV shows I’ve never gotten round to watching – Netflix is my main motivator!

      I actually think the lack of daylight is the main thing that stops me running outside… I don’t mind a bit of rain (as long as it’s not torrential!), but the early nights mean I have to make sure I run in the morning, which isn’t always possible, especially at this time of year when the weather is so bad! So far I’ve used the treadmill every day since we’ve had it, and it’s so great to be able to just fit a run in whenever it suits me – here’s hoping I can keep it up!

      The “not slowing down” thing really bugs me, because we live in a place where there are always people out on horses, as well as running or cycling, and there are also often tractors etc on the roads, so you’d think people would be a bit more careful (I always drive really slowly on country roads: you just never know what’s going to be on them!), but nope, they’re all totally oblivious!

  • Bridie says:

    I think everyone just uses January as a chance to mope around as it’s such an anti-climax after Christmas. I agree though, use Jan as a time to do nothing and an opportunity to motivate you for the year ahead starting from January. Love the post and blog xxx

  • Stacey says:

    I am so far from a “real” runner it’s not funny, but I’m trying to get there. The roads around where I live kinda suck (in my snooty opinion) to run on, even though I see people run on them day and night. I live really close to a high school with an outdoor track, so I thought that would be a perfect place to start running, until I realized that I would be sharing that track with in their prime youths. I did join a gym for awhile, but was really good at finding reasons to not go. “It’s too far! I have to pack a bag!” The last time I did go to the gym and was making my way around their indoor track, I heard fast steps coming up behind me and looked and it was an elderly man (easily 75+) that passed me like I was standing still!

    I finally caved and bought a treadmill. It has a program that connects to Google maps, so I can draw maps on pretty much anywhere in the world, and while I’m walking/running it shows the street view. So I can pretend I’m a tourist. It holds my attention enough so that I have actually used it almost daily for the year that I’ve had it.

    • Amber says:

      Ooh, that sounds amazing! The gym my in-laws used to go to has bikes which show a street view thing, so you feel like you’re cycling outdoors, as opposed to on the spot – I always thought that sounded like such a great idea!

  • Erika says:

    I have wanted to be a runner for so long, but just can’t get fully into it. I thought I was getting there and then January came – It affected me the same way it affected you. Good luck with the treadmill! I have one but it needs to be moved because I can’t watch anything when I run but the wall, and yes, Netflix is totally a running indoors motivator. :-)

  • Funny post! I love following your blog and I too think that January went in the blink of an eye. I look forward to your “adventures” in 2014! Good luck with the treadmill. : )

  • Tatyana says:

    Totally with you here! ;)

  • Myra says:

    We got a cycling machine a few years ago. It lay in the hall for a few years before putting it in the garage and a few years after that it went to the tip so good luck with the running lol

  • Stephen says:

    Yup, January went woooosh! February is much the same so far…

  • Neha says:

    Love your writing!

    That is SO true – all’s not gone, even if January is :) Good luck!

  • sasa says:

    Cool post! Love your blog<3

  • Corinne says:

    Good luck with the treadmill. I bought a turbo trainer so I could use my road bike inside during the winter, but I hate using it! It’s just not as good as being outdoors. I even would watch vampire diaries on it, but doing 45 mins on the turbo was worse than cycling 30 mins outside! I think I’d feel the same with the treadmill, when I got to the gym I use the treadmill for about 30 mins and after 10 I’m dying to press the stop button. I usually have a TV show on my iPhone while I’m doing it, but I just DON’T LIKE IT. Also if I run 3 miles, I have no choice but to run 3 miles back home, yet if I’m on a treadmill I can just give up and press stop whenever. Doom. Bring on spring/summer.

    Corinne x

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