Start running, that is.
I still view myself in many ways as a beginner runner. This seems silly when I type it, but for the majority of my life I was not really sporty (my family was active e.g. swimming, cycling, ski-iing, walking- but I was never good at any of them compared to my family or others!)- I really hated PE (although I was too scared of the teachers to try to fake a sick note!!), I was left with the races no-one wanted at sports day (high jump and shot putt normally- I am 5ft 2).
So I did not run. I hated cross country, I hated sprinting when we did athletics; I just thought I was someone who was not built to run.
All this changed a few years ago. Sorry if you already know this- someone at work mentioned doing a Race for Life- she said it was a 5k walk and so I raised some sponsorship and went along. On the day I was so inspired by everyone else running that I secretly decided to set myself a goal to run it the following year. It was a whole year away and I forgot about it.
But then I got the email reminding me to sign up, I did, and found myself a training plan.
I dilligently followed the plan to the letter- to see my plan look here. I ran 3 times a week, and started off with 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking, alternated for 20 minutes. I found the running so hard- I think I made the classic beginners mistake of thinking I had to sprint! Each week the running increased, and the walking decreased. Each week I would panic on the Monday about doing it,and by the Friday (3rd run) would be amazed that I actually managed the training run 3 times that week!
On the day of the race I was so nervous- I had only got up to 15 min run, 1 min walk, 15 min run, but some friends had joked they would only sponsor me if I ran the whole way. Well, I did it! I was so proud of myself. I find the Race for Life emotional anyway, with all the messages on people’s backs, thinking of family members etc. But I was so proud of myself. I still am 🙂
Originally I had thought I would stop, but I actually found I really loved it, and so have increased each year. The following year I (secretly) entered a local 10k, and only told people once I was close to that distance in training.
Then last year myself and Andy (who had joined in with the running and also completed a few local 5k’s and 10K’s with me) entered a half marathon. Anyway, shortly after that I started this blog, so I won’t go on.
Basically, what I want to say is, if you want to start running, then do!
- Follow a plan (the one I followed, or a couch to 5k plan- they are all similar). Satisfying to tick off the runs as you complete them.
- Start off nice and slow- it’s not a sprint!
- Wear proper trainers (I started off with pink suede-y skechers! Not good)
- Get a proper sports bra (ladies)
- Sign up for a race to have a goal to work towards. I love the Race for Life’s as I think they have a friendly atmosphere, and of course raising money for charity is always good. But there are loads of races to enter.
I really cannot stress how much I enjoy running, and how much I never thought I would even be able to run. So I think if I can do it, anyone can!
I am still pretty slow- I am getting faster and what I enjoy about running is that I measure my achievements against myself. At races I was worried about elite runners laughing at the sight of me, but in fact races I have attended have had a lot of people doing similar speeds to me. And the atmosphere has always been supportive too.
Any other tips for beginners?
Anyone thinking of giving it a go?