Helen Twose 's Opinion

Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Jog On: Tough love to get you moving

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Sometimes you've got to put the hard word on yourself to get motivated.
Photo / Thinkstock
Sometimes you've got to put the hard word on yourself to get motivated. Photo / Thinkstock

Running is hard, but hard is the new black. So says The Grit Doctor, alter ego of criminal barrister and author of Run Fat B!tch Run, Ruth Field.

The Grit Doctor is Field's internal drill sergeant yelling "fat bitch" obscenities to get her motivated for running.

It seems brutal but The Grit Doctor is the device Field uses to get through life's tough or boring bits. Field says The Grit Doctor is the nagging voice that makes you feel uncomfortable when grabbing another biscuit or ignoring the laundry in order to watch Glee.

She is clear from the outset that running, particularly getting started, is hard and for some people it may never become easy.

And she's right. It can be a massive battle of willpower for me to get out the door some days, although sometimes it is a blessed respite from toddler tantrums and dirty baby nappies. Even then those first 10 minutes are a killer combination of sluggish legs and general lethargy.

Field herself was victim to a slump in running motivation after the birth of her twins. She calls it her "total global meltdown" and it reminded her just how hard it is to get started running.

So don't read Run Fat B!tch Run expecting to be cheered along with exclamations of how easy it will be or have your head filled with "I'm ok, you're ok" motivational speak.

"Because there is no magic pill and none of it is easy. Stop wanting things to be easy. Once you accept - and I mean really accept - that life is not easy, it actually becomes a lot more manageable because you stop resisting the hard work, and find the determination and grit that is required in order to achieve anything worthwhile. This is going to be hard. But - and this is the crucial BUT - you are going to start enjoying hard. Embracing hard. Hard is going to be the new black," she writes.

At first blush Run Fat B!tch Run looks like chick lit's answer to a running book. Don't be fooled. Although there is a definite female bias the get running advice applies equally well to fat bastards.

Field developed her six-step learn-to-run programme from her own experience and that gleaned from getting family and friends running.

No one was safe from the pointy Grit Doctor stick; her husband, mother and sister have all endured Field's regime and provide their personal anecdotes for the book.

Field is adamant everyone can run it's just a matter of learning how.

The obvious exceptions are those with physical or mental health issues, "however, under no circumstances invent health concerns or problems and use them as an excuse to skive running sessions," she says.

In common with many learn-to-run regimes she starts her programme with simply walking. When you do start running it is at a very slow pace, possibly even slower than a walk. It will look like walking but with a slight bounce to it.

And don't think you can grab a "because you're worth it" cake when you're finished either. While Field dismisses all forms of faddy diets (hallelujah!) a trot around the block doesn't gives you the keys to the cake shop.

All forms of junk food - sweets, fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chips, pastry and takeaways - get ditched in favour of home-cooked food made with lashings of fruit and vegetables. Drinking lots of water is also encouraged.

Stick with it and get out for a run four to five times a week and you will reap the benefits, says Field, including weight loss, a better sex life, being more effective at work, increased pulling power, confidence, happiness and better health. Obviously I can vouch for all these effects.

Run Fat B!tch Run is not for the experienced runner. It doesn't include any go-faster tips for those on their 14th marathon.

But if your last race experience has faded from memory as has a clear line of sight to your toes then this could be the book to get you moving again.

Anyone new to running won't be thrown by complicated training regimes or fancy pants terminology. The runner's fave, fartlek (Swedish for speed training), gets a mention but is clearly explained.

Having got myself into a regular running groove I'm going to jump in to her training programme for a 10km event to help nudge up my distances a bit.

So what are you waiting for? Get moving bitches!

Events:
* Round up your mates to run the 155km Great Lake Relay around Lake Taupo. Saturday 18 February.

Have you read this book? Do you have an inner Grit Doctor?

Helen Twose

Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Helen Twose is a freelance business journalist who writes regularly about KiwiSaver and entrepreneurial companies. She has written for the Business Herald since 2006, covering the telecommunications sector, but has more recently focused on personal finance and profiling successful businesses.

Read more by Helen Twose

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