Exercise has played a huge role in helping people to cope with the disruptive impact that lockdown has had on our day-to-day lives.
Trainee, Giulia, discusses her experience of picking up running again whilst completing her LPC during lockdown.
When the Government announced the national lockdown, back in late March, I was doing the LPC remotely. Within a few days, it became clear that we would not be allowed to go out, meet with friends or family. Basically, just like everyone else, I was stuck behind my desk at home and – I could tell – this was going to be the new normal for a long time. As we were still allowed to do one hour of daily exercise, I realised that the only activity I would be able to do outdoors without freezing was running.
I needed to get out of the house and stop staring at my screen all day – to breathe some fresh air. Jogging for about two or three kilometres was something I had done in the past already. However, when I started running again in March, I would still end up crawling back home. In fact, at first, the only thought I had in mind was to be done with it. I did know it was healthy. Still, my muscles would hurt and it felt like my heart would explode. However, I made a commitment to myself to go running at least three times per week.
It was not always pleasant. There were times I would have preferred to make myself a cup of tea rather than to convince myself to go out on a run. Other times I struggled to take myself seriously, as the goal of running three rather than two kilometres seemed superfluous.
We often say humans are creatures of habit. Well, when it comes to running, this is definitely true. Just by going out to run with continuity, even for only 20-30 minutes at least three times a week, my body became accustomed to it – it became a habit. I would no longer feel pain in my muscles after only a few minutes and eventually running became almost like an automatic, natural movement.
The way I have approached every run has been to listen to my body. There are days when it simply is the case that our muscles are not ready to endure a longer run. Sometimes you feel so energised and light that you can keep going. Acknowledging as well as listening to your body is key. Straining your muscles on a day you do not feel like running more than a couple of miles is of no use – it is frustrating and demoralising. In fact, every run is a bit like each day of our lives: it has its ups and downs, with some days feeling a bit overworked and others where you can go the extra mile.
Eventually, lockdown was lifted and long summer days started to warm up the streets of London.
I am now running 10 kilometres every couple of days and my body and my mind are completed at ease with it. When I run, I am no longer focused on getting it over with (only sometimes!). I listen to my heart rate, my muscle movement and I feel the fresh air on my skin as I cross paths with some beautiful surroundings. The stress accumulated during the day completely vanishes.
Thinking back, taking up running has been of tremendous help to cope with the stress of doing the LPC remotely when the world was facing the spread of the virus. It has also made me gain confidence.
As I have now started my training contract remotely, with the prospect of a second wave hitting the UK, I know I simply need to put on my running shoes and, there you go, everything becomes easier.
So, what about running?
TOP TIPS: what do you need to get going?
Just a pair of good running shoes. You can also get yourself a fitness tracker to monitor your improvement and set your goals. Then you’re done. Choose clothes you feel comfortable in – and do not forget get to match them with some colourful socks!