Health: Running Like a Girl #1

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As promised, here’s my fascinating post on the progress I’ve made from couch potato to couch potato who jogs and sweats at regular intervals throughout the week…

I have signed up for a 5k which is taking place in late June which gives me plenty of time to train. Which is excellent, because I absolutely need plenty of time. I have just hit that point in my life where I’ve realised I can no longer just put on my trainers, decide on a physical pursuit to ace on a whim and then immediately achieve it. I have literally just hit that point. This time last year when the weather got a bit warmer, I woke up one day and decided I wanted to run 5K. Bam. DID IT. NO WALKING. This year there has been a lot of walking. The run to walk ratio is heavily weighted towards walk. And I sweat and my lungs feel like they are bleeding and I swear at small children who stand in my way and make me run round them, thus causing me to run further and over uneven terrain.

There’s a reason things aren’t so easy anymore. In fact, there are three, and two of them are my fault

1)      I am constantly ageing and hurtling towards death at an alarming and never ceasing rate (this one isn’t my fault, c’est la vie).

2)      In the past year I have become largely sedentary. I can blame the blues, I can blame excellent TV shows, I can blame the British climate but the only person truly responsible is me. My fitness has taken a real hit and I know if I’d just moved a little more it wouldn’t be quite so bad.

3)      I have been eating a disgusting amount of disgusting food. Eating like I’m planning on hibernating, eating like I’m growing another human inside me, which I ABSOLUTELY AM NOT but I almost look like I am. This one is also my fault and I am going to put an end to it right this second.

So, rude awakening about the state of my health and fitness levels aside let me fill you in on how my ‘training’ has been going so far.

I have been on three runs so I am by no means an expert and I haven’t broken much ground yet, but I have completed a week of my training plan so I thought it was as apt a time as any to give you an update. My first run was fine, there was a lot of walking but a larger percentage of running plus I discovered a nearby park with a picturesque reservoir and ducks. I managed 5K without much problem (not as speedily or as easily as I would have liked) and I didn’t ache the day after – in fact I walked about four miles to and from Stockport Library and felt all healthy and aglow.

My second run was different, in a bad way. I ran the same route as I did for the first time and I listened to the same playlist and I was b o r e d. In fact, I saw two rats sunbathing on the banks of the reservoir and when I trotted past they jumped in the water in fear (true story) – that was the best part of my run. I walked a lot more and prayed and prayed and prayed silently to Jesus to please, please, please make this run end. But he didn’t oblige and I persevered on to run/walk/hobble 4 miles (5K is 3 miles-ish). I think that physically I could have done a lot more on that run, but my head was not in it, I was so bored and I just wanted it to be over which in turn just made it drag on and on.

My third run was today. I was expecting to get it over with this morning but I got side-tracked by cleaning and by the time I had finished I just knew there would be hoards of children roaming the streets so I decided to push it back to the evening. The park was still packed with dog walkers and fishermen so I just did the one lap and then hit the streets again. Today I still walked quite a lot but on the second half of the run I found I could run much further without stopping than I thought I could. On the first half of the run I was stopping to walk fairly frequently, telling myself I couldn’t run any further, but during the second half I realised I had probably been doing that out of boredom and laziness because when I began pushing myself I saw there was really no reason for me to be stopping every couple of minutes… I could carry on for 6 to 10 minutes and feel just fine. Whilst this had a lot to do with my mentality I think pace also had a bearing on it. When I first leave my house and set off on a run I have such high hopes that I speed off, exhilarated by the sunshine and fresh air and that wears me out quickly because I am not 24 anymore. During the second half of my run I slowed right down, this meant I could comfortably ‘run’ for longer – I don’t mind if I’m slow, at this point I just want to be able to do it, speed can come later. Also, during today’s run I was checking my phone to see how far I’d ran, crossing a road and turning a corner all at the same time and I ran head first into a hedge. I’m pretty sure all the occupants of a red VW Polo saw me and died of laughter. Why am I so clumsy?!

So, that’s how I’m doing. The main thing I am fighting is boredom, and hedges. I find running really boring and yet I really want to be good at it. I don’t know why, I suppose because it’s free and outdoorsy and healthy. Any tips for easing the boredom would be greatly appreciated, but with most things, I am pretty certain it just gets better with time…am I right?

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