The Year Of Me!!! – August Update

Yes, I know we’re a week into September but I just didn’t get to this last weekend. I’m now 8 months into the Year of Me, so let’s see how I’ve been doing with adding value and positive habits over the last month – a month split between summer holidays and the start of the new school year as well as being my Big Birthday month…

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
Despite taking a bit of time out over the summer to allow a niggle in my ankle to resolve, this one is still well on track. Thanks to heavier mileage at the start of the year I finished August still ahead of the pace and with a bit of wriggle room if I need to ease off again. Still totally achievable just through my regular running and with no need to artificially chase miles. Phew!

2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
I do really love my yoga, but I must admit that there have been too many weeks where I only managed 4, or even 3 yoga sessions. I think I have become too caught up in using sequences of around 20-30 minutes and need to remember that I can do much less and am perfectly able to fit in a 5 minute practice before bed. Something to work on in September.

3.Read at least 30 books
My reading has been going so well this year and I feel like I’ve really re-engaged with one of my favourite pastimes. I think because I have involved myself in some online book groups, it’s given me a bit more of a focus to actually read more often than a few minutes in bed at night and I’ve read some books that I wouldn’t otherwise have picked up. As a result, I’m way ahead on this one as well and am really curious to see where my total goes at the end of the year.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
This one is perhaps a little harder to measure for August. The part of the month that was still the school holidays allowed me to be more flexible with my bedtime. I was consistently getting up around 7am (to feed the kittens!) and going to bed around 10pm, but there was no need to worry about being in bed sooner. Once term began, at first I was probably a little disorganised as I was out of my normal routine and not really monitoring if I was in bed before 10pm. As we move into September, this is one for me to keep an eye on in order to ensure I’m as well rested as possible.

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
I really don’t know what happened here. I began the year watching a talk every weekend, but somehow lost the routine and have struggled to get back on top of this. Hopefully at the end of September I will be able to say something different as I LOVE watching the talks, I just need to be more conscious of sitting down for 15 minutes with one. I can easily find 15 minutes if I put my mind to it.

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
I’m definitely getting this one done. I am such a podcast addict now and am aware of a few I would like to try, but am already listening to so many. I don’t think I could manage without podcasts now and I have learned so many interesting things from them.

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
In August it was a photo prompt inspired by a visit to South Queensferry and I responded to the prompt Bridge.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
I think this one is going ok. In the holidays I was using my phone, etc more, but I also had a bit more time at my disposal. Now I’m back at work again, my time for faffing about with my phone is much more limited, and the time I am spending on social media is more related to groups I help with and responding to book groups than random and endless scrolling. I’m comfortable with that, especially since I have been able to read so much this year as a result.

So overall not too bad a report for August. In September I’ll be focusing on re-establishing my term-time routine to make sure I find the time I want for yoga as well as getting back into the habit of watching TED talks. Just 4 months of the year left…!

How have you progressed with your goals this year?
Any TED/TED X talks to recommend?

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The Year Of Me!!! – July Update

I can’t believe July is over. It’s my favourite month of the whole year (no work, a couple of weeks spent on a sun lounger in Florida, lots of relaxing…) but I suppose all good things must come to an end. Meanwhile, The Year of Me continues (as my birthday creeps ever closer!) and this is my monthly check-in with how I’m getting on with my goals to add positive habits and value to my life.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
I ran 4x per week when we were in Florida, however they were mostly runs of less than 4 miles and since getting home I’ve hardly run thanks to a slightly niggly ankle. As a result, my mileage is down a bit at just 41 miles for the entire month, however with 521 miles completed this year so far, I’m now just 100 miles from achieving my goal. This one has been all about consistency and hopefully the ankle issue will resolve quickly so I can get back out there.

2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
I’ve been able to turn my attention back to this one, especially since getting home and having the opportunity to go to more SUP yoga sessions, so I think there was only one week in the month when I didn’t manage 5 yoga sessions. I love how much stronger I feel as a result of this and it’s amazing to note my own progress within certain postures, especially on the paddle board.

3.Read at least 30 books
Absolutely storming it on this one! I read on both my flights, on my sun lounger, in my garden when we had good weather, in my comfy chair in the evenings, and have added 5 complete books to my count for the year (with a couple of others on the go alongside them). Getting involved in some online book groups has really motivated me to find more time to read and this, in turn, has helped me to ignore distractions such as social media (see point 8 below) and focus on something far more valuable.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
I’ve probably not been so good with this one this month since I’ve been on holiday. That’s not to say I’ve been staying up late, indeed I’ve been making sure to keep to a fairly consistent schedule, but there has been no need for really early nights so for now I’m happy with my consistency as it means I haven’t become nocturnal or developed bad habits during my time off!

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
I seem to have let this one go a bit, which is a pity. Shortly after arriving in Florida I actually sat and watched several Ted talks and fully intended to find some time to watch one every day, however the changes to my routine with being away then getting the kittens means I just never got back on top of this again. Such a shame as I really enjoy watching talks and following the suggestions that come up, so this is one to try and sort out as we head into August…

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
I think I’ve mostly been managing this one. I suspect that while we were away I maybe didn’t quite reach 8 episodes one of the weeks (I didn’t particularly count) and without a commute I haven’t had the same dedicated time to listen, yet I still feel like I am using my podcast player every day so would probably be surprised if I counted things up. I even found a couple of new shows to listen to, which is always fun!

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
Not quite as last minute as some months, but last week I responded to the prompt Animal.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
In June I refocused on this one after letting things slide a bit, and of course things changed again in July. A bit more time on my hands meant more scope for idly picking up my phone and scrolling for no reason, but I have tried to keep myself in check on this one by making sure I have my book or Kindle nearby so that rather than picking up my phone, I pick up my book instead. Much more productive and enjoyable!

 

While July is my favourite month, it’s easy to lose all notion of routine during school holidays (not necessarily a bad thing!) and then things slide a bit. That said, I’m pleased with my month, especially my reading, and am looking forward to getting everything back on track.

How have you made the most of your month?
Read any good books lately?

The Year Of Me!!! – June Update (Half way there!)

Wow! Half of the year gone already! That means I’m half way through The Year of Me, adding positive habits and value to my life. I’ve been checking in every month with an update on how things are going.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
Looking at my Strava stats, I’m still ahead of the game on this one. I’ve really been enjoying my running this year and certainly haven’t been “chasing” mileage, so it’s pleasing to feel that I have been consistent through the first half of the year.

2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
I am doing much more than 5 minutes of yoga (classes are an hour and home practice in the region of 15-30 minutes) however throughout this month there have still been a couple of times that I just haven’t managed to practice on 5 days. I’m putting that one down to everything else getting in the way and am looking forward to refocusing on this one during the summer holidays.

3.Read at least 30 books
So happy with this one. Like my running, my reading has been really consistent and I’m pleased that I’m still ahead of schedule. I’ve read a fair amount of non-fiction but have some novels lined up ready. With a summer holiday coming up it will be interesting to see what I manage to add to the total in July…

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
Although my end of term exhaustion may suggest otherwise, I have actually been pretty good with this one. It’s been good to get to bed a bit earlier, and on the mornings when I chose to go for an early run it definitely made a difference!

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
I think there were  a couple of weeks when I didn’t fit this in, but I think in the main this one is going well – I even watched a couple with one of my classes as they are going to be doing some work using Ted talks next term! It’s such a great website full of interesting talks and also a great classroom resource for me.

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
This one I KNOW I’m doing well with. Left to my own devices I would probably listen to podcasts non-stop and now that I’ve caught up on the backlog from my favourite shows, I’m now catching up with a couple of other ones I enjoy. I just love listening to interviews with interesting guests and often learn something new from what I hear. Perfect!

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
Ok, so I was a little bit last minute again, but in June I responded to the prompt Summer.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
I’ve made an effort to improve on this after feeling I was being sucked back in to using my phone too much again. I’m trying hard to leave it alone when I’m reading or watching TV and am trying to return to the habit of carving out specific moments during the day to check my notifications. Things will be different when I’m not at work, but already I feel so much better for doing this again.

Half way through the year and things are looking good. Now it’s time to refocus a little and see how things go in the second half of the year…

How are you getting on with your goals?
What habits make you feel happier in life?

 

 

The Year Of Me!!! – May Update

I’m a little later with this one than I wanted, but better late than never! 2018 is the Year of Me! A year of adding positive habits and value to my life. Each month I’m checking in to see how it’s going, so today it’s my May roundup.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
Despite beginning the month with a couple of weeks off to recover from the Stirling marathon, I’m still ahead of schedule with this one. I may have only run about 27 miles, but by the end of May I had brought my total to 404 miles for the year, keeping me ahead of the pace.

IMG_67082.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
I’ve written frequently about how much I’m loving yoga and in May I added SUP yoga to the mix. But despite that there were definitely a couple of weeks in May when I only managed to practice yoga 4 times in the week. It sounds so easy to fit in just 5 minutes, but some of my work commitments really interfered and I suspect this may continue into June. I’ll need to think about how I can address that since yoga really helps to calm my mind when things are busy so it’s even more important to try and carve out time in my day to go to my mat at those times.

IMG_65553.Read at least 30 books
My reading dropped off a little in May and I’m fairly certain this is what happened last year too,  however I did still read a further 2 books, bringing me to the halfway mark of this particular challenge ahead of schedule. I’m really looking forward to having a bit more time to devote to reading from late June through the summer and have already got a reading list prepared!

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
I’m still very conscious of getting to bed early, however I definitely find this one harder in the summer months. Even when I’m tired exhausted, the lighter evenings mean that my body just isn’t getting the signals to wind down and sleep. With work getting increasingly busy, I must make more of an effort to get to bed early more often to balance this out.

5.Watch at least oneTed/Ted X talk per week
I’ve kept up with this one well and watched a variety of interesting talks. I only wish I could find more time to watch talks and this is another thing I’m looking forward to in the summer as I can probably watch a talk most days. Bliss!

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
I was concerned that without the lengthy runs of marathon training that I might not keep up with this one, but I still found plenty of occasions to listen to podcasts. I listen when I take my morning walk, in the car home at the end of the day and while doing chores (as well as when I’m running). I’m now totally up to date with my favourites and have listened to one or two episodes of other podcasts that sounded interesting. To be honest, i’d happily listen to podcasts all day if I could.

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
I returned to a written post with my (rather last minute!) response to the prompt Volunteer.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
I really don’t know what to say about this one. I’m trying not to use my phone so much, especially in social situations and when watching TV, yet I have a nagging sense that it’s creeping back in a bit. I think I’m needing to take a step back and try to find better ways to keep up to date with the groups I’m involved in and the social media for this blog. Probably I need to set aside particular times of the day for this, however at a time of year that can feel a bit chaotic, it’s difficult to impose a bit of order on things. This is one I really think I need to focus on a bit more as the school year draws to a close.

Despite some slips, I continue to think the Year of Me is going well. I can’t expect to meet all my goals every single day/week/month and need to accept that there will be times when things don’t go exactly as I would like. What’s more important is to keep on doing these things I’m enjoying and look for more ways to fit then into my life.

How is your 2018 going?
What positive habits add value to your life?

The Versatile Blogger Award

Having never been nominated for any blog awards before, I’m honoured to have started 2018 with two nominations. Back in January I was nominated for the Liebster Award and now, the Versatile Blogger Award. Awesome!

So I’ll start by thanking Debra at Away in Autumn for her lovely nomination. I hadn’t come across this particular award before and her nomination also introduced me to her blog which I have enjoyed taking a look at. Thanks Debra. It’s always so nice to hear that others get enjoyment from my posts.

The Versatile Blogger Award was created to celebrate blogs who have unique content, strong writing, and beautiful images or photographs. There are 3 rules: thank the person who has nominated you and share the link to their blog (as a courtesy), share 7 facts about yourself, and nominate ten blogs you love.

So here are my 7 facts:

  1. I only took up running in my late 20s. Until 2009 I believed anything over 5k was too far for me and that only superhumans could run marathons. After 11 marathons, I’ve definitely changed my mind!
  2. I learned to play the violin at school and took it up again a few years ago as I wanted to join a local orchestra.
  3. I read every single day and have always done so.
  4. My favourite book is “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.
  5. I am a high school English teacher, but originally went to university to study languages. I have always found more logic in words than numbers.
  6. I don’t have a full range of motion in my left elbow following a childhood fracture. I’ve lived more of my life with it like that than without and have learned to adapt.
  7. I love drinking tea.

And now the blogs I would like to nominate:

Running on Espresso
Tri.Runner.Ella
Adventures By Linsey
Early Bird Runner
Tartan Jogger
Maria Runs
The Right Fits
My Anxiety Matters
Anna The Apple
Moving to New Zealand

I encourage you to check them out if you haven’t already.

The Year Of Me!!! – April Update

Another month gone in what is shaping up to be an awesome Year of Me! 2018 is all about the process rather than the outcome and how I can add value to my life. I’m checking in each month to keep myself accountable and see how I’m getting on, so here’s how things went in April.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
Another successful month of running, culminating in the Stirling marathon. I did rearrange things a bit one weekend so I could watch the London marathon on tv, but I still completed all my runs. I finished on 127 miles for the month and 377 for the year so I’m over half way there. That said, May will be a lot lighter on miles as I’m taking a couple of weeks off and when I start running again it will be pretty low mileage so it’s good to have a bit of a cushion built up.

2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
Still loving this one and feeling strong from regular yoga. Despite not having one of my classes to go to for a couple of weeks during the school holidays (it’s a term-time class) I kept up my home practice and easily fell into a daily routine using my favourite Yoga with Adriene videos.

3.Read at least 30 books
I’m doing so much better with this one than last year. Thanks to getting involved in some online reading groups (and my new-found school holiday habit of starting the day reading in bed with a cup of tea!) I’m still ahead of schedule with this one and still managing to find time to read more often. I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction and have been loving filling my mind with adventures and interesting facts.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
I was so good at this in the week before the marathon, heading to bed as soon as the “bedtime” function on my phone told me it was time for bed. I’m not always quite so diligent, nor am I keeping any kind of record, but I’m certain I’m getting to bed by 10pm quite often as it has become a great way to maximise my reading time.

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
It has become my habit to watch a talk at the weekend, however part of my routine during the school holidays was to watch one every day. I loved this and only wish I had time to do this more often as for every one I watched I think I saved about 3 more to my list for the future!

6.LIsten to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
There’s nothing like the peak weeks of marathon training to provide a chance to listen to lots of podcasts. I’m pretty much all caught up on episodes of my favourites now and have a few random episodes of other ones downloaded to give them a try. I feel like I learn so much from podcasts and you never know when that knowledge might come in handy!

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
Another photo prompt this month as I published my response to Rise/Set.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
It’s difficult to judge this one. Having time off work inevitably meant I used my phone more, and of course I used it a lot in my post-marathon euphoria, but the rest of the time I am being more careful about mindless use of my phone. I’m trying to be really present and focused if I’m watching tv, rather than getting sucked into a pointless scroll and missing things. I’m also trying not to pick up my phone so much when I’m with other people as I know it actually really annoys me to see groups of people “together” but all sitting silently staring at their own screens. The phone (and social media) has a place, but I don’t want it to replace actually living life and experiencing the world. Right now, this is probably still the one I need to be a  bit more conscious of.

Overall, I’m still pretty happy with how things are going. I’m creating positive habits and definitely feel like I’m adding value to my life through the routines I’m creating. The Year of Me is going well!

How are you getting on with your goals for this year?
Do you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction?

The Liebster Award 2018

Something a little different from me today as the lovely Beth at My Anxiety Matters has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you!

If you’ve not come across it before, the Liebster Award is a great way of connecting with other bloggers and giving a little blog-love to those whose work you enjoy reading. I’ve not taken part in anything like this before so am excited to get involved.

So what do I have to do? It turns out it’s pretty straightforward:

  • Link to the Official Rules in your Liebster Award blog post.
  • Answer the questions given to you.
  • Create more questions for your nominees to answer (ideally unique and creative ones).
  • Comment on the Official Rules post with a link DIRECTLY to your Liebster award. This collates all the posts in one place to make them easier to find.

The questions I got from My Anxiety Matters are:

  1. Three words to describe your blog.
    Running, yoga, food!
  2. What would you name your boat if you had one?
    Since Boaty McBoatface is taken, I’d go for something that captures my passions a bit more. I’m fairly certain I was born in the wrong time and place (I would have loved 1920s Paris) so I would call my boat La Parisienne. I’ve never sailed though and all I can think of right now is that episode of Friends where Rachel tries to teach Joey…😂
  3. Five positive words to describe you.
    Optimistic. Caring. Energetic. Springy. Determined.
  4. The most interesting thing you’ve read/seen this week?
    As a parkrun aficionado, the most interesting thing I’ve seen this week is this statistic about New Year’s Day:
    Yes, I was one of them!
  5. Favourite joke/pun?
    I’m one of those people who can NEVER remember any jokes. Except this one which nobody else ever finds funny apart from me. I’ll not put “comedian” on my CV then 🙄
    Two elephants fell off a cliff…BOOM BOOM!!
  6. They’re creating a film (movie) of your life, who plays you?
    If it could be anyone from any time then I would have to say Audrey Hepburn. But if we’re talking someone more current, then I’m going to choose Idina Menzel. Why? Because the movie of my life would have to be a musical (oh I do enjoy musicals!) and I would love to be played by the talented actress behind Elphaba (Wicked) and Elsa (Frozen)!
  7. Favourite blog post you’ve read today & would recommend?
    I’m going to keep it in the family here. My sister has just started a new blog all about her experiences in Disney (she has been a cast member in more than one capacity) and I loved her post offering tips to get the most out of a runDisney experience. If you love running or Disney then I recommend taking a look.
  8. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    I don’t really remember having a particularly fixed idea of what I would like to be, but I do remember fancying myself a princess (some things never change!) or a superhero (maybe that explains why I love to see myself as Wonder Woman lol!). Clearly I set realistic goals for myself as a child 😂
  9. Positive motto for 2018?
    Can I have this one?
    2018 is The Year of Me and I want to focus on things that add value to my life rather than things that create stress, so Hakuna Matata sounds fitting (and should really be everyone’s motto!).
  10. Your top tip for finding blog-spiration?
    Engage. Engage with other blogs and podcasts, engage with nature and engage your brain. I definitely get some of my best ideas when I’m out on a long run, so take a bit of time to clear your head and get outside – you’ll be surprised what you come up with while you’re out!

And now for my nominations (*drumroll*):

  1. Running on Espresso
  2. Adventures by Linsey
  3. Early Bird Runner
  4. Tartan Jogger
  5. Tri.runner.ella
  6. Maria Runs
  7. Anna The Apple
  8. The Right Fits
  9. Pip In Motion
  10. Running Bean

And my questions to pay it forward:

  1. What inspired you to start your blog?
  2. An elevator pitch for your blog?
  3. If you could have a conversation with anyone (real or fictional) from any time, who would you choose and why?
  4. If you had a theme tune, what song would you pick and why?
  5. Where is your happy place?
  6. Who would you most like to go for a run/cycle/workout with?
  7. Flying or invisibility?
  8. If you could learn one new skill, what would you choose and why?
  9. What do you want to achieve in 2018?
  10. What made you smile today?

One of my favourite things about blogging is the chance to engage with others around the world and learn more about people I wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with, so answering Beth’s questions and coming up with my own has been fun. I can’t wait to read the answers…!

500!!

This week I reached a blogging milestone…my 500th post. 500 times in the last few years I’ve committed my thoughts to the screen. 500 times I’ve hit publish. 500 times I’ve wondered if anyone would really read what I had to say! Who would have thought that yesterday’s Friday Finds could be so momentous?

I’ve written before about what I enjoy about blogging so I thought today I would dig into my archives and share some of my favourite posts from that 500. Perhaps there will be something in here you’ve not read before…

As the great Julie Andrews taught us, the beginning is a very good place to start. My first ever post back in 2011 detailed the beginning of my running journey and was followed up soon after with how I came to take running a bit more seriously:

In 2012 London hosted the Olympic Games and one of the legacy aims was to inspire a generation. As the new school year began a few weeks later, I considered whether or not there had been any impact on the younger generation in my classroom:

As someone who enjoys racing, I know that races can really only take place thanks to the fantastic army of volunteers who turn up to show their support. In this next post, I wrote about why volunteering at a race is so crucial:

In 2013 I was excited to get my first age category prize (although I had to travel a fair distance to get it!):

And just a few days later got my second one – and a first place finish in my age category!

I rounded off that year with one of my most popular posts – a farewell letter to a pair of worn out running shoes. If you run, then you’ll get it!

A nice companion to that is the love letter I wrote to running for Valentine’s Day in 2014:

2014 was a big year for me: Steve and I took on a massive fundraising challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support and once of MY biggest supporters was my friend Ian who helped out through his business. Without him and the generosity of his customers, I would never have raised as much as I did. I featured Ian in a guest post that year:

I also played the proud wife card and gushed a bit about Steve and his incredible achievements in supporting Macmillan.:

That summer, I reflected on my childhood summers and how that year compared. Spoiler: it turns out some things never change!

But that autumn I had to make a tough decision. Here, I wrote about that process and how I was dealing with it:

Another first for me was my first ever link up. I must have enjoyed it since I continue to link up regularly with Jessie even now!

In 2015 I introduced Friday Finds as a regular feature. Given that an edition of FF was my 500th post, I thought it would be fun to include the first ever here:

2015 was probably my biggest year for other reasons too. Having changed my 2014 challenge thanks to injury, I had some unfinished business and it was time to go bigger than ever. That year’s Edinburgh Marathon Festival is probably one of my best running memories EVER!

Speaking of which, a few weeks later I wrote a post pulling together some of my favourite running memories:

Throughout 2015 I became a parkrunner, having immediately fallen for its charms after my first event. A year later, I summed up just what is so special (for me) about a free weekly 5k:

2016 was a strange year as we moved house and I probably didn’t blog as much as I should. Our trip to Paris that year did inspire a couple of posts though:

This was followed later in the year by a joint post with Jessie as we considered some linguistic differences between US and UK running:

Another very popular post came late in 2016 when I was once more forced to make a tough decision. There was a lot of emotion when I wrote it and I can still remember just how sad I felt:

This year, I’ve probably written more regularly than ever. A fun post at the start of the year was inspired by the book Your Pace or Mine and took the form of a record book:

I also marked “Marathon Day” by chronicling my own experiences with the big 26.2:

Which has a nice companion in my marathon tips:

In fact, I wrote a few posts this year offering some tips and advice:

As well as reflecting on the life-changing impact of yoga:

A couple of highlights were when I was interviewed for a podcast (so cool!):

And my first ever international parkrun experience:

More recently, I summed up what it’s like to taper for a marathon. Anyone who’s ever tapered will understand!

And as a counterpoint, a little bit of the aftermath:

Which brings us up to date. The posts I’ve chosen have highlighted some memorable moments as well as some reflections on training, racing and life. In amongst that there have been plenty of training logs, race reports and general musings so I’ve really enjoyed looking back through my posts and remembering all of the varied experiences that inspired the posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed indulging me by following along too and will join me for the next 500…!

On Running and Blogging

image

This was the image that greeted me last month – the news that I’ve now been blogging for five years. Five whole years of posting content on my own little corner of the Internet! Although sometimes it can be tough fitting in time to write posts, especially at crunch points during the school year, overall I really enjoy blogging and think that there are a number of benefits not just to blogging, but to blogging about running. So with that in mind, today I want to share some of the things that I enjoy about being a running blogger (or blogging runner!).

1. Connecting
Blogging is a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people. Before I began my blog I was regularly reading one or two others, and I was always struck by how fellow runners often had very similar experiences, fears and goals to me. By starting my own blog I guess I added my “voice” to the discussion and really enjoy connecting with “real” runners, people just like me fitting training in around work and other life commitments; people whose goals may very well be just like mine; people whose journeys I like to follow. Running can be a very solitary pursuit, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s nice to know that thoughts and experiences can be shared with those who will just “get it”. By writing my posts and reading those of the many others I now follow, I feel part of a connected community with which I can celebrate, commiserate and converse. There’s always a supportive voice to be found and it’s lovely when that connection extends into the real world. I feel really lucky to have met and chatted to people from all over the world that I found through blogging and I look forward to that continuing. I’ve even, on one or two occasions, been “recognised” as The Running Princess which is really cool as it’s lovely to know that someone other than a partner or parent might be reading what you have to say!

2. Learning
“Every day’s a school day,” or so they say, and writing a blog can be a great learning tool as well. Not only does it allow me to hone my writing and put into practice some of the skills I teach my pupils, but it also gives me the opportunity to learn from others. Sometimes I might have to do a little research for a post, or read interesting articles to share in Friday Finds. Sometimes I might learn from a reader who comments on a post or offers advice. Even just working on the mechanics of the blog has been a learning experience – at first I had no idea how to link to other content and it took a few posts to get to grips with tags and categories. I tweak some bits and pieces from time to time and try out new ideas to see what works. Blogging helps to clarify my thoughts and I do think a lot of what I’ve learned about various disciplines comes back to being part of this crazy, connected world we call the Internet.

3. Discovering
Related to learning is discovering. I discover new things all the time through blogging. I discover new ideas for posts, I discover different approaches to training or nutrition and I discover new blogs to read and people to connect with. When someone new interacts with my blog, I usually take a look at theirs to see if it’s something I want to read regularly. When I post about books or podcasts or music I consider the suggestions people make and often find something fantastic to read or listen to. When someone writes a review of an event I might add that event to my wish list or perhaps even sign up for the next one. Sometimes when I complete a survey or respond to a message asking how I came across something, I find that I actually don’t know. Even today, I was reading a blog I had just discovered and saved, yet I no longer remember how I came across it! The world is just full of new things to discover, and maintaining my blogging helps me to find some of them.

4. Recording
When I first started writing the blog, probably the only person reading it was Steve, and maybe one or two friends who felt obliged to. Even now I sometimes find it strange to think that other people might actually be reading what I post. But even with no readers whatsoever, I would probably still keep writing. Why? Because my blog has become a great place to document my life. It can be a training log, a record of races and a snapshot of my life at any given time. What was it I thought about that book? There’s a post on it. How did I structure my training for that race? There’s an online record of it. How did my experience of that race compare to previous years or other races? There are past posts to check. Some people keep a training diary, some people journal about their lives, I keep my blog. Five years generates a lot of content and I do go back and look at it from time to time.

5. Sharing
I suppose we’re all a bit narcissistic these days and platforms like blogs and social media allow us to share a great deal. Sometimes we’re all guilty of sharing unimportant or, dare I say, boring details, but blogging can also present an excellent opportunity when it comes to sharing. Writing a post can allow me to share my knowledge or experiences; it can open up a converstation or even debate with others; it can help me to encourage others or receive encouragement in tough times. Blogging also helps to keep me accountable. If I set out a goal then knowing I’ve shared it publicly helps to keep me on track. This year I shared some goals for the year and have been updating my progress as the year goes on. And not only can I share what I’m up to, I can also share in the experiences of others by engaging with them via their own posts to share advice, commiserate when things haven’t gone well and congratulate when they succeed. We’re all quick to complain about the sharing of pointless details online, but we must remember that this can also be a force for good and allow plenty of positive sharing. By connecting with others and sharing in their lives, we must surely help to improve our own.

My blogging "helper"!

My blogging “helper”!

So there you have it. I’m never going to make my fortune through blogging, but over the past five years it’s become an important part of my life. Here’s to the next five years…!

What do you enjoy about writing or reading blogs?
If you write a blog, what inspired you to start?