Too much too quickly can be damaging…

If you have been following my journey so far you would have read that I have recently been running 5k on a Saturday with Park Run.

Now this is fantastic and a huge achievement for me! I’m so proud of myself as rewind back a year and I couldn’t even run up a flight of stairs without becoming breathless at the top.

What I’d like to write about today is how doing too much too soon can be damaging. I’m referring to working out and I want to tell you all about the experiences I’ve had and ways that I’ve managed to build up my fitness without hurting my body.

OK so I made the decision this year to get healthy. I scrapped the smoking, drinking and started eating healthier. I don’t like to say I am dieting because I’m not, I’m replacing certain foods to achieve a healthier diet. I’m taking note of what I’m actually putting into my body rather than just grabbing the quickest, least nutritious and fattiest thing close to me.

So because you’ve cut out smoking, drinking and junk food, your body already has a boost of energy! Now all of a sudden your head starts thinking right I need to burn this energy let’s go work out! 

To begin with I was sensible. I hadn’t exercised for nearly ten years and being brutally honest I had no idea where to start so I went to Steve’s younger brother Tom who had a home gym and was pretty clued up on the whole fitness thing. He was great! After three weeks I was deadlifting, lifting weights and building strength quickly. By doing weights on a regular basis (3 times a week) and eating healthier I lost weight very quickly. I could feel it leave my body and everything just tightened up!

About a month ago I bumped into an old friend of mine Lucy Preston. Lucy commonly known as Hoodsie writes her own blog called Duffy Does Disney. She spends a lot of time training for Disney runs and has even completed her first half marathon. Baring in mind she only started running a year ago! We got chatting over Twitter and she asked if I’d like to come to Park Run with her. Park Run is an event held all over the country cover 5k and 10k runs. It’s completely free and is very professional where you can print of a barcode so when you run they can time you.

If you fancy taking a look, click the link below;  

I’ve also written an entire blog post on Park Run so if you want more information head over to ‘My First Park Run!’.

After completing my first ever 5k I was absolutely buzzing! The only way I can describe the feeling to you is I felt very light like I was floating. This was a mixture of disbelief that I had managed to complete the 5k, joy because I wasn’t the last to finish and adrenaline from actually running! It was the best feeling in the world. I couldn’t stop smiling or talking about it.

By the time I had driven home and walked through the front door my legs were like two dead weights and walking became increasingly difficult. My legs literally felt like they were hungover!

I spent the rest of that day led on my sofa resting my legs and feet. I continued to rest on the Sunday as well and by the time Monday had come I felt fantastic and raring to go again. So I did…..

This was my first lesson of failure.

To go from not being a runner at all to running 5k with no build up training isn’t the most sensible thing to do for a beginner. However, to then attempt another 5k only a couple of days after is just bloody stupid!

Because I had received my finish time for Park Run for the Saturday, the competitive side of me wanted to beat it this time round so I pushed myself. I ran faster and harder until my legs felt like they were going to snap. Even when I my ankle buckled from underneath me I continued on determined to beat my original time. Steve was trying to get me to stop and walk. He kept saying “it’s OK to take it easy and run, walk, run.” But I didn’t listen to him. By the time I reach my front door I was in agony. I looked down at my Fitbit and realised that I had completed the 5k 30 seconds faster than last time. 

30 seconds! Are you fricken kidding me! That’s it! I just pushed myself that hard to finish 30 seconds quicker! I thought I had managed to shave off a good five minutes, I wanted to cry.

As I sat on my sofa angry with myself my ankle began to swell at a rate of knots. This wasn’t good. I knew I had sprained it and with Steve spraining his a couple of months ago I knew the Dr’s orders were to rest it but also keep walking on it as much as possible. This made me more annoyed with myself because now I was out if action until my ankle healed meaning I couldn’t train for a week at least! 

My poor ankle.

So after I spent a week feeling sorry for myself I was ready to take on another Park Run. My ankle felt better and I had learnt my lesson. This time I was going to pace myself throughout the whole race. I told myself it didn’t matter what time I finished, but that I finished. The run started off well, I was keeping pace and my ankle felt good. About half way through my calves started seizing up to the point where I kept having to stop and stretch them out again. This frustrated me massively because I was starting to fall behind everyone else but I was adamant that I wasn’t going to push myself and suffer another injury. So I pushed the frustration out of my head and finished the race.

Steve was there to welcome me at the end with my friend Hoodsie. They cheered my on through to the finish line but they could tell I was annoyed. I caught my breath back and whilst receiving hugs from both of them I grumbled how I’d not ran as well as I hoped and that my time was going to be crap. Neither of them took any notice of my little strop and just continued to congratulate me on finishing the race. This is why I love them!

When we reached home I had an email ping through telling me the time I had finished and I had to double take. I had managed to shave off a minute from my last run. What!!!!! That’s insane I thought, but how? I screen shot the time and sent it to Hoodsie with a big ‘OMG!’. She sent one back saying ‘Well done, I knew you could do it’! To say I was over the moon was an understatement.

So after learning my lesson and realising that pushing yourself too hard will only end up in injury and disappointment I now have a new training regime. I run my 5k on Saturdays and then on Wednesdays I run 3k. I walk 1k, run 3k then walk the last 1k home. This is great because I’m still covering the full distance but I’m building my strength up in my legs slowly and safety. After my 3k sessions I don’t feel like I’ve overdone it. It’s still hard work but enjoyable.

Remember you do not need to become a full blown athlete as soon as you start working out. In whatever exercise you choose to do take your time. The fact that you are a beginner and just doing more exercise is a huge achievement so don’t over do it! Trust your body and know what your limits are.

I hope you enjoyed this post and learnt something from my mistakes!

Stay safe people and comment below on your exercise experiences, tips and tricks. I’d love to hear them!

Lots of love

Jess xxx 


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