...From someone who hated running!
So (I’m pretty sure I was taught at school not to start a sentence with the word “so” but it’s pretty standard today). Anyway, I’ve been writing about my Couch to 5K journey. And I’ve finally reached the end of that particular journey (more about this later).
There are a few things I’ve learnt during the journey that I’d like to share:
One of the things I’ve learnt during lockdown is the importance of community! I belong to a few online communities. My Cali Club community, Muay Thai community, my church community and in week 7, I joined the “mad jogger” community. So, this was the first week that I ran in bad weather. It was just starting to snow, and the wind was in my face, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Actually, if I hadn’t gone out then I probably would have stopped running altogether!
But there were more “mad joggers” out there and one of them actually mentioned the weather as we jogged past each other. I can’t believe that I managed to complete the 25- minute run that day.
There were a couple of days when I felt like giving up and going home. But I just put one foot in front of the other and kept going. I think the most difficult part of my run is the start. Once I get into a rhythm, then I know I’m not going to stop, and I start to enjoy it.
The third and final thing is not to be too hard on myself. A lot of the time, I set the bar way too high. Targets are fine, but I found with running, that the most important thing for me is to just get out there and enjoy it.
Okay, enough of the philosophical stuff – back to the actual running.
There are 9 weeks in the programme. Once you’ve passed week 6 you can run (not sure I can call what I do running) for at least 20 minutes without stopping. The final 3 weeks are about running for longer periods. Week 7, 25 minutes, week 8 - 28 minutes and finally week 9 – 30 minutes.
I’m sure I’ve said this before, the name of the programme is a bit misleading – Couch to 5K, it should really be “Couch to 30 minutes”. At the start of week 8 I thought to myself, I’m not going to hit 5K by the week of week 9. It didn’t help that I had the settings on my Fitbit set to miles instead of kilometres!
Week 8 – crunch week. This was our yearly week of snow in Essex so just getting out and running was an achievement in itself – this was the week I think I became a real jogger/runner in my own mind. I was running 3.5K by this point but, I really wanted to challenge myself and try to run 5K by the end of the programme.
Week 9 run – 1: 4.2K (just running no walking) – getting there but not quite enough. So far, my philosophy had been to just make sure I finished. I think in week 8 – I had a mindset shift – finish the session but run as fast as you can without stopping.
On the second to last run i.e., week 9, run 2, I decided to try out a slightly different route. Probably not the best time to try something different because it was raining. To cut a long story short, I took a wrong turn and ended up going right off course. I try to run a circular route rather than getting halfway and turning back. Unfortunately, I had to turn back. I then thought to myself, it’s definitely going to take me longer than 30 minutes, why not run for the 5-minute warm down period as well – so a total of 35 minutes.
Bingo – 4.92K in the rain. So, I decided that I was going to really go for it on my last run. And surprise, surprise 5.17K in 35 minutes. RESULT!!!!! Not that fast but I did run 5K and lived up the programme’s name.
MY WORK IS DONE HERE (not)!!!!! So, do I still hate running? Definitely not – you’re not getting rid of me that easily. My next challenge is to bring that 5K time down under 30 minutes. I’m not Mo Farrah yet but I’m well on my way!!!!
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