You Are More Than A Bride

This weeks Stree-Free Saturday is all about using exercise to mentally and emotionally help you and your fiancé deal with the process of wedding planning. Wait! Before you close this post under the assumption that I am an exercise bunny here to preach about living an active lifestyle, let me clear a few things up. I like and appreciate exercise well enough but I am by no means an athlete. Most mornings Adam has to coax me out of bed with coffee and biscuits before I’ll consider going for a run. I’ve also been known to refuse to exercise during adverse weather conditions as I believe it’s God’s way of giving us the day off.

I have made no secret of the fact that I had been dreaming up my wedding plans before I became engaged and so it was no surprise to anyone in my life when I went into full planning mode immediately. But, it is easy to become a walking talking wedding machine. I also had the added excitement of my best friends wedding taking place a mere three months before mine. So I was quite literally, in a wedding bubble.

Adam encouraged me to sign up for the Oxford Half Marathon, which I did mostly under duress. I was nowhere near as keen as he was to do it but I was NOT about to let him do it without me. I remember being rather annoyed with him the day we signed up so, yes, I did it purely because I didn’t want to miss out on the training journey and bragging rights – what can I say! I am a regular runner and have done a few 10km races so it was not outside of my wheelhouse. But somewhere along the training journey, I realised that it helped to have something else to talk about. We went for runs after work, instead of planning the wedding or honeymoon and closer to the race, the wedding took a back seat. I personally think that it helped us almost refresh and refocus for the last two and a half months of wedding planning. Because we had the race, we didn’t feel guilty for not working on the wedding. People began to ask us about our training and the race, instead of the wedding (or in addition too, let’s be honest, people love asking about your wedding). 

I wish I could pretend that this was a carefully thought out plan and that I knew it would be good for me to have something else to focus on and plan for but really, it was a happy accident. But, I would still encourage every single bride out there to set herself another personal challenge in the time leading up to her wedding. It really helps! 

I learned so much about myself during the training and race but I learned even more about Adam. The half marathon was hard, one of the hardest things I have ever done and I really struggled the last 30minutes. Adam probably (definitely) could have finished quicker if he didn’t have me slowing him down but he stuck it out with me, even when I was screaming at the uphills. He was by my side that whole race and I now see that as a metaphor for our lives and future. We started the race journey together and we crossed the finish line together and I am incredibly proud of that.

We all know that weddings are HARD but I believe that we can manage our stress and frustration through further planning (and exercising of course). So, I encourage all brides and grooms out there to set themselves a personal goal to split your focus and help deal with the wedding stress. I think that something athletic, even for not very athletic people will not only mentally stabilise you but it will help you feel healthy too. I can not recommend running enough, having a race day as a goal is seriously motivating and rewarding.

So, without any further waffling from me, my top challenge setting tips are…

  1. Pick something you have done before, only push yourself further than you have before;
  2. Do it with your fiancé – it will help you bond over something other than your wedding;
  3. Try to pick something that has a predetermined deadline;
  4. Try line that deadline up two to three months before your wedding;
  5. Commit to it – no backing out when it gets tough.

You might think I am crazy to suggest taking on a challenge that will culminate mere weeks before your wedding. You might be thinking that planning a wedding is challenging enough in itself. You might be right. But, if you think about how good you will feel about yourself having completed your chosen challenge. And you will be feeling that way two months before one of the most important days of your life. Isn’t that a great way to start your future with the love of your life? 

Adam and I, moments before the start of the Oxford Half Marathon – 8th October 2017

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