Back-ache and babies

14 Oct

Dear Grit Doctor

I love your books and have them on audio so I am actually getting my shit together while I run – uber time efficiency points there!

My issue is this. I have jumped the first hurdle, I actually quite enjoy running and I can run for 5km in a go. Unfortunately whenever I run a long distance my back gets very sore and then I get nervous about running further (I have a long standing lower back issue which I know will improve once I run off my excess 3 stone). In addition to this I have two young children who are going through a phase of not sleeping and so I am struggling to get up in the morning to go for my run (I run my own business so by the time I have got home and put the children to bed evenings just don’t happen). How can I summon up the grit to get up and go despite my back and despite my tiredness.

To be honest with you I suspect I need to link more with my inner bitch but sometimes it’s just really hard.
Please help

Dear Rachel,

I am so with you. As the Summer becomes a distant memory, so would it seem do our grit reserves, and the sofa or duvet almost impossible to swap for a muddy windy rainy run. Our twins are also waking up ludicrously early, I blame the noisy central heating, and days beginning in the pitch dark invariably leave you feeling knackered before the real day has even begun! So, what are the solutions? For me, I convince myself that I will deal with all this winter grimness better if I run regularly, that it will ease my mind, lighten the load and help me glide more gracefully through the season, and the more I convince myself of the necessity to run because of the benefits it will bring me, the easier I find it not to excuse going.

Winter brings most of us down and running is a great counterbalance to that. I run more in the winter, not because I am grittier than you or anyone else, but because I need it more during the dark cold days – for my sanity – and to counter-effect the more food and booze that invariably accompanies this time of year.

So, maybe its a new mind-set you need to adopt, one that says, ‘no matter how tired and awful I feel, it will all improve dramatically if I just force myself out of that front door for a run.’ That adventure out and into the cold air is the antidote to the tiredness, the brutal early starts, and horrid broken nights, (running will make it easier to fall back to sleep when the children wake in the night too)! Part of this new mind-set also accepts that you may never ‘feel’ like going running, or want to go…accepting this somehow makes going easier for me. No matter what I feel, I’ll go because I will feel better afterwards. Guaranteed.

As for your back, I think you have identified that 3 stone is quite a strain on it and this will get better as the load lightens, both physically and metaphorically. But please don’t run if it is causing you pain. That you can run a certain distance pain free is great – stick to that. 5k is a fantastic distance for you to be running and will have you dropping that excess weight in no time at all. If you want to extend the distance, just walk either at the beginning to really loosen and warm those muscles or at the end or both – for as long as you please. Plus, slow the running right down – you will still burn off loads of calories. A brisk walk in winter will do wonders for your weight loss as well as your soul! and is definitely kinder to your back. Do whatever you can and just keep at it. Wax on wax off. Consistency is key: every time you follow through on your plan to run makes the next time easier. Just imagine how different you will look and feel come next Summer?! Keep that in your mind too, or whatever inspires and motivates you… and, when all else fails, look in the mirror and with a big gritty smile tell yourself to ‘RUN FAT BITCH RUN!’

The Grit Doctor says:

Link with your Inner Bitch and just go, safe in the knowledge that it will be more than worth it – ALWAYS

PS. My Inner Bitch can only be aroused from slumber in the winter months by no less than 3 alarms – all positioned out of reach from bed. She has to get out of bed to turn them all off – and fast – or everyone’s morning is ruined. Once out of bed, she is easier to manipulate into her running shoes.


2 Responses to “Back-ache and babies”

  1. liquoricet October 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    What a helpful post. Many sympathies, i have a just 3 year old and almost 6 year old and find this hard too. I still don’t do mornings (managed once) but am having a long run 6k and increasing before my roast dinner (cooked by hubby on Sundays), squeezing in a half hour between nursery drop off and work (about 3-4k) and a reluctant night run (5kish) along a very main road.

    It’s so true about running making it easier to cope with the demands of life.

  2. Annette October 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Ugh. I suffer from the same problems – 15 years of lower back issues and a 2 year old who thinks that it’s fun to wake mummy up at random times in the night. It has taken a shedload of grit, and a fair bit of stopping and starting, but in 2 weeks time I am running the 10 mile Great South Run and have done the distance twice now. The running has completely reshaped my body and as I get stronger and fitter my back is getting better too. If only the kid would get the message…

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