Enticed by the promise of a better runner’s body, I bought this book three and a half years ago. It hasn’t made any difference, but that’s because I haven’t done the exercises. I found the eight week plan quite difficult to follow – lots of flicking backwards and forwards through the pages to see how to do the exercises – and actually not that quick. The idea is that you set aside half an hour twice a week, which doesn’t sound that much but which I found really hard to do.

So in the spirit of making small changes to be intentional about the things that matter to me, in February I have been doing ten minutes of strength exercises (almost) every day. I started with some basic exercises for back, glutes and abdominals plus a few judicious stretches. And yes, I made myself an exercise chart to record it all on. I’ve also ended up doing a few workouts from the book to mix things up a bit, and actually it’s not as difficult as I had told myself. I’ve found it easier to do something short more regularly than to find bigger chunks of time twice a week.

A few days in I saw that my friend Angela, who writes the Duff Running blog, had started her own hashtag challenge to be #fitnotshit in February, all about taking genuine steps to be healthier. She set up a Facebook group so people could encourage each other and be a bit accountable, and it’s been great to be part of it. I’ve really enjoyed having a virtual team who are all trying to do the same thing in our different ways.

Someone in the group posted about the Kinetic Revolution 30 Day Challenge for runners, so I’ve moved onto that. It takes about 20 minutes a day, so on the days when I’m tight for time I go back to my ten-minute routine, and I reckon it will probably take me 60 days to finish it. I’m dreadfully wobbly in the balancing exercises, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Is it making a difference? Who knows. I’d been struggling with a painful lower back after I did a cross-country race in January, and it’s definitely helped with that. And I surprised myself by finishing Wokingham Half in under two hours, so maybe my running is gently being transformed. Another one to persevere with.

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