There’s nothing quite as believable as the story you tell yourself, about yourself
There’s nothing quite as believable as the story you tell yourself, about yourself

Niamh Ennis

The weekend shopping fix: picnic essentials, soft bras and more
The weekend shopping fix: picnic essentials, soft bras and more

Holly O'Neill

Nail stickers are the key to nailing your nail art
Nail stickers are the key to nailing your nail art

Holly O'Neill

Embroidery artist Domino Whisker shares 5 of her favourite creatives to follow
Embroidery artist Domino Whisker shares 5 of her favourite creatives to follow

Megan Burns

Wallpaper inspiration for every room in the house
Wallpaper inspiration for every room in the house

Megan Burns

Why are Irish oysters so special? We visit Carlingford Lough to find out
Why are Irish oysters so special? We visit Carlingford Lough to find out

Amanda Kavanagh

‘I prioritised my career over my friends – and now I feel like it was all for nothing’
‘I prioritised my career over my friends – and now I feel like it was...

Rhona Mcauliffe

Image / Self

Pandemic running: ‘Pre-coronavirus, my challenge for 2020 was to strengthen my lungs’


by IMAGE
14th Sep 2020
blank

At the start of this year, Ruth promised herself that 2020 was going to be the year she started running properly, with the sole purpose of strengthening her lungs. Then a global respiratory virus arrived in Ireland. 


I’ve suffered with asthma since I was a tot and pre-pandemic, I did not want to endure my usual winter of lung infections and everything that comes with them. I was going to strengthen my lungs. I was going to run.

I started running in January while still enjoying the Christmas break at home in Cork. I kept it up when I got back to Dublin and was living off Merrion Square. I felt those heavy running legs while trotting around the square most evenings. Knowing that each lap was 1km, I’d pound the pavement while a running app I was using coached me through each significant pace. It felt good, like I was part of a training group. I technically was, too. A friend of mine in work had also decided to start fast moving legs in 2020 so every morning we would discuss our track from the day before.

The running app helped me for the first few months. It allowed me reach a personal goal but I noticed that it was also turning something once enjoyable into a task. It nearly felt like I was reporting to a manager at one stage; checking my pace, time and distance. I was left with a gnawing worry about beating my score the next time. Pandemic fatigue has since set in. Or perhaps the energy that allowed me to run every other day a few months, was killed by a running app?

I continued to run without using the app. Instead, I set a timer on my phone, knowing, generally, how long it would take me to run a certain amount of kilometers. I ran the same slog three or four times a week for a very short time but got fed up. That negative, unavoidable voice in my head started to be harder and harder to turn away. She would tell me my pace was worse than the day before, that my breathing was wrong and it just felt exhausting to manage it on top of powering through the workout.  I stopped altogether for a few weeks. I reminded myself that you go through these running phases. Instead of being ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ my goal was to get to that in between nirvana of Casual Jogs.

 I’ve always had pretty bad asthma. I’ve always had inhalers, and each winter there would be the inevitable bad cough or chest infection. There were nebulisers and hospital trips as a child. There were countless holistic treatments, like hanging my head over a big bowl of hot water with lavender essential oil misting up my lungs most evenings in winter. My mum believes “lavender will fix anything”. So this ability to run fast and for a long time meant a lot to me. I have kept running and I haven’t needed to use my inhaler as much since I embarked on this fitness journey. My lungs have been strengthened.

Pre-coronavirus, my challenge for 2020 was to strengthen my lungs. Now I need to strengthen my lungs in case I get the virus. I hit 10km in May.

I’ve gone back to the app. I can see that I’ve gone from running four to five times a week from March to June to now running once and maybe even twice a week. And as we enter into one of the scariest winters, I’m very thankful for my decision to build up my lungs. I’ll be trying to run a bit more and find more exciting ways to get the job done. Doing something is better than doing nothing.


Related: How running changed my life

Related: How a month of yoga helped me to run better, faster and longer

Related: Getting your gait analysed for a better run

Also Read

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Trouble nodding off? This viral sleeping hack says it can happen in 120 seconds

By Jennifer McShane

Is it time we threw out the book entirely, and made up our own relationship rules? 
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Sleeping in separate beds and other ‘alternative’ practices that help these relationships thrive

From being engaged to a partner 30-years your junior, to couples living apart entirely – Michelle Heffernan speaks to people in “irregular” relationships and asks relationship therapist Natalya Price if we really need to fit a mould when it comes to love.

By Michelle Heffernan

burnout
ADVICE
What to do if you feel like you’re on the verge of burnout

By IMAGE

Working full-time and single parenting can feel like a rather intense form of juggling at the best of times.
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, PARENTHOOD
Single parenting in a pandemic: ‘I cry alone in the car so the kids don’t see me’

Being a single mother has always been a juggling act, but the pandemic is forcing single parents to carry logistical and emotional burdens that are taking a serious toll

By Lia Hynes

blank
CULTURE
5 of the most extraordinary revelations from Demi Lovato’s must-see documentary

By Jennifer McShane

blank
BUSINESS, ADVICE
IWD: 8 Irish women in the beauty business on what their biggest failure taught them

According to Oprah, “failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”...

By Holly O'Neill

blank
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
Filomena Kaguako: Burlesque reminded me that I am sexy, and my own worst enemy

After being in a room full of strong women drawing upon the audacious confidence of burlesque, Filomena Kaguako found her confidence

By Filomena Kaguako