Starting a new job brings the inevitable challenges of everything being new; routine, colleagues, locations and ways of working. While you obviously have an opportunity to gauge a company culture during the interview process, you don’t really know how good a fit you and the company will be until you get started. So I was truly delighted when at the first company meeting two weeks into the job, a large part was dedicated to social values, becoming involved in good causes, and the many different ways we could support charities. From giving our time as a digital consultancy, to donating as individuals with GAYE (Give As Your Earn), the Badgers are full of bright ideas. To support this, we have an active Social Value task force looking at what and how we can give back.
What all the Badgers don’t know (apart from those that see me limping around) is that since I started I have also been trying to train for a half marathon…
There is nothing like signing up for a charity event, committing to raising sponsorship, and roping in some friends to run with you to focus your mind on finding time. In an already hectic week and a new routine, I now spend over 3 hours a day commuting and don’t get home before 7 pm. Beyond running errands and socialising - more recently my weekends are for long runs, lots of stretching and baths.
At the time of signing up, I did not know I would end up with multiple injuries, suffer multiple colds (I blame the tube) and start a new job. Suddenly preparing for a half marathon was not quite as easy as I thought it would be - not that I ever thought it was going to be easy. You need to find time for 3/4 runs a week and when you are training in winter it’s dark when you leave the house, and dark when you get home.
Excuses are easy, but as I have discovered, so are the answers.
"New job, I don’t know where the local gym is”. Google Maps does, and gyms are plentiful - particularly in January when most are offering a no sign-up fee.
"I only jog in the mornings and I don’t know where I will be on a daily basis, I might be on client sites “. The joy of jogging is that all you need is access to a shower afterwards, and most companies supply one!
"How do I get a run in and be at my desk for 9?“. Less fun, but it means going to bed earlier, and having all your clothes out ready for the morning, so when your alarm goes off at 5.45 am you don’t have to think. Get a train at 6.30 (guaranteed seat at that time, which is a bonus) and I am at the park/gym by 7.15. Plenty of time for a mid-week run and a shower before 9.
"I can’t jog in the dark”. I have to say, I have kept this excuse going. Even though I now own lots of flashing lights and a head torch, the idea of jogging down country lanes where I live in the dark is a step too far… So morning runs it is.
There really aren’t any excuses, and actually signing up has taught me that it is always possible to make time for what you feel is important. I have jogged/skidded on black ice, literally frozen a shoulder (mild whiplash diagnosis) and cried running up hills. I now have less than a week to go, and am now into gentle jogs to keep my legs primed for Sunday. No matter what I WILL be there at that start line.
I chose Harrison’s fund for a personal reason, I went to school with Harrison’s Daddy, Alex. Harrison was diagnosed in 2011 with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy - a life-limiting disease with no cure. By the time Harrison is a teenager, he will lose the ability to walk. Eventually, he'll lose all muscle function in his body. Like all boys with Duchenne, he'll die in his late teens or early twenties from heart or respiratory failure.
Alex took action - setting up Harrison's Fund with a simple goal in mind; to get as much money as possible into the hands of the world's best researchers, who are working to find a cure for Duchenne. This could not only help Harrison, but all 2,500 sufferers of the syndrome in the UK.
In order to raise money, Alex took on serious physical challenges. He went from (in his own words) Flabby Daddy to Ironman, taking Harrison with him on Challenge Denmark - a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile marathon. This is well recognised as one of the most gruelling endurance challenges there is.
One thing I could personally do is attempt a sporting challenge, particularly as someone who has very few sporting achievements to her name. It means making time. No excuses.
So what's your excuse? Is it “I don’t have time to find a charity to support?". Most companies do something to support charities or their local communities. If they don’t, you can do something about it. We've created a social value task force to do exactly that, generating a way for all Badgers to give back.
If you want to find out more about my half marathon - please visit my Just Giving page.