Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Right, let's just get one thing clear here. I hate running. I would say I always have, but I remember having enthusiasm once, in Year 3. It all went downhill from there...

I've tried to run so very many times since I (apparently) became an adult, and it never seems to work for me. I tried getting one of those little chippy things that goes in your shoe to spur me on because I'd be so interested in all the facts. Nope. Just got frustrated with picking the stupid thing up every ten seconds. Jen and Keith (sister and brother in law) have got into running, and not just running - TRIATHLONS - and have said I should give it another go. One of the two is less gentle about his suggestion. Not naming names. But you take what you will from the pronoun.

Well there was no chance I would be going for a triathlon. I love swimming, hate running, and loathe cycling as the very hell that it is. But, after some cajoling from those around me and a suggestion to use the NHS Couch to 5k app, I decided I would give it a final shot.

Guys, it seems to be working. I mean, it's not like I'm suddenly an avid runner and go crazy if I don't get my jogging fix, but I haven't stopped.

The app builds you up slowly, alternating walking and running. It's supposed to run for 9 weeks, and each week has a different run that you do three times, though the last 4 weeks are slightly different to this. You start out running for a minute, and then walking for 90 seconds, running in total 8 minutes. The first week I hated my life. I had my music playing, and just as I reached the point where I wanted to chop off my legs my phone decided I needed to hear "When your legs don't work like they used to before...." My phone has a sense of humour it would appear.

Now I'm halfway through. Today I completed the second run of week 4, and now am running a total of 16 minutes per half hour, with 5 minute blocks. I've absolutely gained fitness, and as much as towards the end of the half hour I am plodding along wishing I was on the sofa, I don't feel horrendous. Yes, today I was bright red for an intriguing length of time, but that is by the by. It was sunny.

I'm enjoying it more. I've been using a couple of apps to track what I'm doing - RunKeeper and Strava.

I enjoy that RunKeeper tells me how I compare to previous runs, telling me that I've set a new record for distance or time. I'm awful for forgetting to tell it I've stopped running today, which is annoying. It took me 15 minutes to remember today, so I can't tell how my time compared to the last one.

Strava was something Jen and Keith pointed me towards, and I've only just started using. It's similar to RunKeeper, in that it tracks where you've gone, how far, how fast etc., but it's much more social. You can follow people (not literally, that would be a terrifying and quite probably illegal app) and see what they've been doing...give Kudos (equivalent of a Facebook Like) and comment. It sates the need we all have to show off a little that we haven't just been sat at home on Netflix without being that person on Facebook that just makes you feel terrible as you allow the next episode to start in 7, 6, 5....
You can also add activities that aren't running, e.g. cycling (puke) or swimming. I'm sure you can see the obvious flaw here too, but it doesn't involve costly mobile phone repair and replacement. You can put in the app that you were swimming, how long for, and how far. Pools being the handy things they are, you know the length and as long as you remember how many lengths you did it's no big job to work it out. I've been attempting to swim on the days I don't run (not done terribly well due to my ears conspiring against me) so it's nice to have something that lumps all my exercise together. Or all my "official" exercise anyway. You go spend a day in Year 2 and tell me you haven't been exercising. I dare you.

So here we are. I'm still not a fanatic, but I'm not a hater. Hopefully in 4 and a half more weeks I will be able to run 30 mins/5k without stopping, something I have never achieved.

Tell me if you've made a similar attempt at running, I want any and all advice and tips you have to give. I'm perfectly prepared to love it, I just need a hand.


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