Ben blogs at Ben’s Running Blog and can be found on Twitter @bensrunningblog. Ben took up running to lose weight and his proudest 10k was run on August 31st 2014. Read on to find out why this one meant so much and the importance of not taking fitness for granted. Thank you, Ben, for an inspirational interview!

How did you get into blogging?

As weirdly as it sounds, through guilt. Due to my longstanding desire to be a screenwriter – about which benI am currently in a ‘doing nothing about it’ phase – I feel guilty if I’m not writing about something, somewhere. So much so, I convince myself that pastimes that lack a tangible, creative outcome must be utilised for some sort of creative fulfillment. Hence, in the past I’ve had a blog to accompany my cinemagoing as well as general day-to-day blatherings about my family, neuroses, failure as a human being etc.

Why do you enjoy blogging?

Words are great. I like having fun with them and I enjoy (hypothetically speaking…) entertaining others with them. Its nice to have a written record of what I’ve been up to – particularly things I’m proud of – but I’m more concerned with attempting to write something that might make people smile or, on rare (OK, very rare) occasions inspire or make people think. I love getting comments on the blog too. Unless they’re unpleasant. But that hasn’t happened yet. Thankfully.

What do you enjoy about keeping fit?

Well, I used to be…how do I put this…quite the portly chap. Many years of eating cheese and sitting down had taken their toll. So a few years ago I started running and doing some resistance training to lose weight. I lost 3 stones in 4 months then an additional stone over the course of the new few months. Since then, I don’t take my increased fitness levels for granted and I don’t forget how far I’ve come. Every single run or weights session is a victory, and I still get that buzz.

What’s your favourite form of exercise?

I’d have to say running, although I’ll give anything a go. I almost lost an eye (slight exaggeration) playing badminton, so other than occasionally thrashing my kids in the back garden; I tend to give that a miss. I hated running as a kid, and I think I’ve needed a more mature mindset to enjoy it and get the best from it. The solitude and rigour of training are great for me, but I really enjoy races too. Largely because of the medals. I have a slight obsession there…!

Have you any fitness goals?

Nothing aside from the hilariously ambiguous aim of ‘getting better’. That said, I have certain times I’d like to beat for certain distances, running wise. The most realistic of those currently is a sub 4-hour marathon, as I’ve got the full 26.2 miles coming up in York in October. I’ve had to fight back to something approaching full fitness after being diagnosed with testicular cancer last year. I was diagnosed on 29th May 2014 and had emergency surgery the next day. On the 31st August 2014 I ran the Middlesbrough 10k in 54 mins and 18 seconds. That is my slowest recorded 10k time. And the one I’m most proud of.

What’s your advice for people wanting to get into exercise?

First I’d say ‘DO IT!’, but added to that I’d say to find something you enjoy. At first I hated running, but I loved the feeling I got afterwards. I run for that feeling and the accompanying sense of achievement. I’d also say keep a written record of what you’ve done and when you did it. You can then look back and think ‘I’ve done all of that!’ If you’re getting into exercise to lose weight, like I was, I’d say don’t obsess over the scales but be prepared to try and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Finally I’d add something I saw on Twitter the other day – it doesn’t matter how slow you are going, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch…

 

Good luck with that marathon Ben, we can’t wait to hear how you do!

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