OK, so I’ve been meaning to start writing again for some time and I’ve been meaning to start running so I thought I would record my couch to 5K journey in an attempt to motivate myself to do both. I have two very contrasting ideas about running, the 1st is the very romanticised idea about losing myself in the feeling of freedom as I run through bucolic surroundings, whilst still looking glamorous, healthy and getting super fit. The other is the reality of all my previous running attempts (ok, realistically, probably 3 running attempts) which end up in me feeling like I am going to die whilst every muscle in my body screams at me that this is the worst possible thing that I could be doing to myself.
Couch to 5k is recommended to me – this app aims to help you to go from sitting on your arse to running 5k (3 miles) in 2 months. You run 3 times a week for 20–40 mins. It starts you off walking for 1.5 minutes and running for 1 minute and gradually picks up the pace over the 10 week programme. You need a smart phone and some headphones and a voice prompts you when to jog and when to run. One of the positives for me, is that when you are almost dying, you know it’s only a matter of time before that little voice says “now let’s walk” again.
At the end of my 1st week of couch to 5k and the 1st run felt like my earlier attempts and seconds after hearing the too cheerful voice tell me “lets jog!” I admit thinking to myself “well I probably won’t do this again”. I’m pleased and surprised to say that the 2nd run felt a little more like my romantised idea and I was actually looking forward to running again. Don’t get me wrong, it still hurt but I kind of liked it, a little bit. It wasn’t hell and that felt pretty amazing.
After the initial euphoria of week 1, I went on holiday for 2 weeks. I optimistically packed my running shoes and shorts, my motivational music (Enter the WuTang: 36 Chambers) and fully intended to run 3 times a week whilst in Cornwall. I did my first run fairly early on in the holiday, on a beautiful beach on a sunny day I ran close to the shore as the sea sparkled, the seagulls swooped and the dulcet tones of ODB filled my ears, thinking to myself “I love running, I love my new life!” and feeling pretty smug.
The 2nd run took place just a few days later, through the fields I was camping in and down a gorgeous country road with a sea view. By this time I could really feel my stamina had built up and I was able to run for much longer. When the little voice interrupted WuTang to say “now walk”, I felt I wasn’t ready to walk and actually CARRIED ON RUNNING. This was an amazing breakthrough for me. I returned to the campsite buzzing, feeling like I’d really achieved something and convinced that running was now a part of my life.
I haven’t run since.