Week 7 with Al Porter: I swap pain for pleasure
Comedian Al Porter has truly been bitten by the running bug. He says he is maintaining goals that are rewarding yet realistic as he nears the end of his training for the SPAR FitLive 5k challenge
The SPAR FitLive 5k Run is now only two weeks away and my recurring thought is: "Why am I doing this? It hurts!" Of course, I then remember the endgame, and persevere. It's kind of like childbirth in that regard, except obviously the pain isn't as bad, and not many people are giving birth while running around a football pitch in Tallaght - although there's definitely tracksuits involved in both cases. Oh, and both ideas were hatched over bottles of wine from Aldi.
There's a peculiar kind of masochism taking hold; I am enjoying pushing myself further and further while at the same time I am physically spent. But if 50 Shades of Grey proved nothing else (and it didn't), it was that pain can be a good thing. Except when the pain is having to watch that awful film for two-and-a-half hours.
At this point, I hope you're getting on well with your training. I've been emphasising to myself that the pain of effort during exercise is rewarding, but I have avoided focusing on unrealistic goals.
My goals are relatively straightforward: be a bit fitter and happier, eat well, run the race and become the most beloved light entertainer in Ireland and Britain. You know, simple things.
Don't give yourself a hard time about losing weight, or about revising your goals from running 10k to 5k or anything like that. You're doing more than you were doing before, and that's great. Be happy.
Some people come up to me with unrealistic goals and I feel bad for them.
A few years ago, it was considered fashionable to be a size zero. Trust me, I've had trouble fitting into dresses myself at various points in my life but that trend was not a good thing.
I'm not having a go at those girls who are naturally and most importantly healthily slim (or as scientists call them, jammy bitches) but size zero was an unrealistic ideal for many.
A current trend that I don't like is the so-called 'thigh gap'. It started on Instagram - in the same way the Kardashian pout trend began, and the one about taking pictures of your food. Ironically, the trend for empty space between your thighs came out of nowhere. Any gap between my thighs is for Louis Copeland to worry about, not me.
With the race looming ever nearer, I'm convinced body goals are good but I keep them realistic. If you meet them quickly, then just set new ones. When I run this 5k race, and hopefully survive it, maybe my next goal will be a 10k race. I'm not going to go from a 5k race to running in Cheltenham.
If you're a 45-year-old mother-of-three setting yourself some running goals, maybe you're not going to fit back into the white dress you wore in church that day, for your Holy Communion, but don't beat yourself up about it. However, getting all that cash in envelopes would be great again - but you'll have to run for politics, not pleasure, for that.
Health & Living