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  • Writer's pictureConor Hillick

What's Your Personal 5k? Embracing Progress, Not Comparison

We all have our own version of a 5k. A friend is doing an IronMan this weekend and while talking about it at lunch others mentioned how some have built up to running 35mins without stopping, others how they’ve done couch to 5k and some with the next challenge of hiking up a steep mountain.

"Be where your feet are"

To be where your feet are is about being present, being where you are right now and not somewhere else. It’s also about recognising where you are in your challenges and not to be caught up on others’. My first ever client that I coached in the gym is also one of my favourites. Not because he was the most talented but he was the most consistent. In our first few sessions he would struggle to do 10 bodyweight squats without getting out of breath and needing to sit down. His next struggle would be a 400m jog (with a walk at half way) without getting out of breath again. However, as weeks went by he made huge jumps. His initial 5k was 10 squats and a few modified bodyweight exercises. Then it was adding in a 400m jog.

Over the next few years he continued doing 1 PT per month with me and in the rest of the time coming to class with myself and other coaches, building his fitness. He could do 10 pull ups, 1.75x bodyweight squats, run and do CrossFit workouts. He still has a 5k challenge today, it’s just at a higher level of fitness than it was years ago.

Your Personal Challenge

We all have different 5k challenges. My literal 5k challenge is to go faster. My daily 5k challenge is for an IronMan. I know that after my IronMan my next 5k challenge will involve increasing my strength over winter.

The best part of it, is that your 5k challenge is exactly that, it is your’s!! There will always be someone who is a level above you (quicker) and there will always be someone who is a level below you (slower). This is humbling and when you realise it I think it makes it easier to get going on your 5k challenge because that’s what is most difficult, yet most important. To get moving. We don't want to compare to what someone in the office is doing or what our friend has done because afterall, comparison is the theif of joy.

A story to finish.

I’ve a friend who did couch to 5k during lockdown. He was a smoker, didn’t have the greatest diet and never really exercised. He got the plan off the internet, packed in the cigarettes and off he went. He completed it. Then after a while he got a bike and cycled during the summer. He ended up doing Malin to Mizin, cycling the length of Ireland. As you can probably gather, he likes a challenge. For most they might want to do a triathlon or something next but as he is, he decided to sign up to IronMan Ireland, got a coach and learned to swim. He completed it last year and also absolutely smashed it!!

Whatever your 5k is, the biggest obstacle is starting. It’s also being humble and knowing where you at. Be where your feet are and then take the first step. Whether it’s couch to 5k, walking more every day, an IronMan or swimming in the sea, remember that it is your challenge and nobody else’s, comparing to others will only ruin your experience. Go and enjoy!

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