|Jessica Ennis. She's brilliant.|
I’ve started running again. I used to run a lot… but that all ended about seven years ago. Back then, I was super fit, super slim and super healthy. Then things changed. But I’m giving it another go.
So last July, I started doing the NHS’s Couch To 5km running programme, which I heartily recommend. It’s a series of podcasts, led by the most friendly woman ever, which guide you from being a lethargic slob to being able to run 5km in nine weeks. It was so good that I started to have separation anxiety about finishing the podcast series as I couldn’t bear to be parted from Laura.
Couch To 5km took me a little longer than the recommended nine weeks… I finished it in November, so, err, it took me nearly twice as long (this is because I had various trips away and was working away for several weeks). But so what? I got there in the end. And I felt better for it.
Then, on the stroke of midnight on 1 January, I signed up for the Bristol 10km which is on 11 May. I haven’t run in a race since 2006, and that was only a 5km (I’ll do the maths for you, that’s eight years ago), so this was quite some challenge. And to prepare me for it, I’ve signed up for a 5km race on 9 March… so that will be my official first race since 2006.
Training in the miserable weather we’ve been enduring the past few months has not been much fun. It’s dark when I leave for work, and dark when I come home from work, and I’m exhausted at weekends from work (I have two full-time jobs, one of which is unpaid). But I make myself. I dress myself up in a ridiculous combination of kit – running tights, long-sleeved technical top, long-sleeved running jacket, running gloves, ear-covering headband (after too much earache from the wind) and baseball cap – and spend up to an hour huffing and puffing my way around the park in all weathers.
It’s a cliché, but I do feel better for it. Even if I desperately don’t want to get out of bed and do it. My dog comes out running with me, and she's fantastically good company and very supportive. I also try to fun mindfully - meaning that despite the cold, wind and rain I try to notice the things around me... the magpies who need to be saluted, the rare colourful flowers poking through the mud, the work done by our lovely park keeper Ray.
I’ve now signed up for four races in 2014 (so far)… two 5kms and two 10kms. And I may well sign up for more. Although it feels daunting at the moment, it’s good to have those diary dates and commitments to focus my training and keep me on track.
I will report back…
Links for running beginners: