Working with someone else to either improve their level of exercise, or your own, can be so rewarding. Here’s my little tale…
About eight months previously I rode a mile by bicycle with my brother who hadn’t ridden a bike in years, and I blogged about this at the time (link below). I’d had a little plan to get him out of his house on his day off, to do some exercise – I knew he wanted to but the motivation wasn’t there. On the day in question I turned up at his house and in a fun way I called him out for the little ride, I tried to make it easy for him by having my own bike loaded with groceries already… but it turned out I was too used to cycling and he just wasn’t. I was hopeful that he might make it a regular thing and get into some regular exercise, but sadly it didn’t happen – he wanted to ‘get fit’ but he found little fun in going out on his bike, especially not on his own like I do.
Then things turned round last month. He showed a renewed interest in getting fit, but this time it wasn’t to be by riding a bike, it was to be done through running, something he had done before, on his own even, some years back, but was now finding it difficult to go out on his own.
I didn’t let the opportunity pass, I knew I needed to just act and start running with him, but first I needed to plan the route and how we would meet up. I’ve been running for almost five years but it still feels like I’m “still getting into it.” At first my legs or feet objected to it and even after that I’ve struggled to make it a routine like my cycling is, and I normally only run a couple of miles at a time, maybe once a week. Therefore I took this opportunity to increase my running too.
I figured that for our first run it needed to be as short and gentle as possible for my brother so that he wouldn’t be deterred if he woke up the following day with aching muscles. I therefore decided to run the few miles to his house (he’s moved since we did our one mile cycle) and then jog with him a short route, and then I would turn off and run home and he would finish his route back to his. That was the plan anyway.
I arrived at his place, having had a ‘good run’ myself, we then had a short walk before we started running and I kept my pace low while I got an idea of his. After a short way and some chatting (he likes to chat!) he got into it and we battled up our first hill, he stopped talking on the way down while he got his breath back and then we chatted about how he needed to stop talking and concentrate on his breathing. I said it was all good – the fact that he was fit enough to keep running and not want to walk or stop was great. Then we arrived at the junction where I’d planned for us to go our separate ways but he felt his route would be too short and he wanted to run back to my house with me. I tried to deter him, since I didn’t want him to over-do it the first time out, but he insisted.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we got to my house, I’d completed my planned route, and later he ran home on his own to complete the same. The next day however… we were both in agony! Neither of us were used to running that far in one go, not even me, not six miles; I’m used to cycling, not running, so my muscles were shot for a good few days and he struggled to walk at work! We laughed about it though… and… we went out the next week.
This time though he agreed the distance was a little too much, so from then on I still jog to his house and then we run back to mine along a slightly shorter route. We’ve been doing this once a week for a month now and it’s going great, getting out the door is effortless now someone else is expecting me to turn up, although my legs and feet have been objecting a little, however I’ve found some stretching exercises on Youtube to help with that.
I quite like being already a little worn out when I start to run with my brother, it makes me really appreciate my own fitness when I sometimes actually feel like I’m not that fit. I’ve found myself usually having a sprint finish at the end of my 6 miles, which I really love, but today I’d already been out on my bike and done some work before I ran to his, so when we were almost at my house I didn’t have the motivation for a sprint; I upped my pace a little, but my brother was still there beside me, chatting away 😀
I’m now heading towards my most number of miles run in a month.
So here’s the deal – find someone else to work with if you can; a good friend or family member, add to your current routine or help improve theirs. It’ll feel great.