Thursday, 30 June 2011

Run fatboy run

I've never run in my life except for the ice cream van or to my car when it's raining. So I thought it was time to change that.

About a month ago, it occurred to me that I should try and improve my general fitness as my only form of regular exercise is cycling. After thinking about it briefly I went and bought some running shoes. I hadn't even considered how I might start running but I had the tools for the job. I posted this on twitter and got a few replies. @Rustydub66 suggested I look at www.parkrun.com. It's a national, volunteer run, organisation where you can go to a local park and have a 5K timed run on a regular basis. This looked good and I started to read the info on the site about what tips I needed to start running. The first thing I realised is that it suggests you start running by walking regularly for the first two weeks!

Soon after I'd read all the basics I got a reply from @me_on_average. She suggested I look at the NHS Choices podcast series call Couch to 5K (C25K). C25K is a 9 week running programme that starts off easy with more walking than running and progressively increases week by week until you can run for 5K or 30 mins. The podcasts tell you what to do when, have music to run to and give you tips along the way to improve you running.

The C25K programme was exactly what I thought I needed and decided that I'd start the programme while away on holiday for a week as I'd have no bike for exercise.

The day came for my first run. I got dressed in my running gear and got my phone ready with the podcast, plugged in the earphones and started walking. The first podcast is 5 mins brisk walk, then 60 secs of jogging followed by 90 secs of walking. You repeat the jogging/walking for a total of 20 mins. You then finish with a 5 min warm down walk.

Sounds easy doesn't it? I thought it wouldn't be too tough. How wrong was I! The 60 secs jogging each time felt harder and harder. My legs were hurting but I knew that 60 secs would end soon and I pushed through each stint.

Later that day my legs were hurting. Hurting more than they ever have on the bike. The following day they were aching tremendously. Sitting up and down or walking up and down stairs was hard work. I was worried that I wouldn't be ready to do it all again after a days rest. I was worrying unnecessarily. Each run after the first was tough but not unbearable like the first.

I've been following the podcasts since w/c 10th June and am now at the start of week 4. I think I'm progressing nicely and have had some personal feedback and coaching from a good friend of mine that is a triathlete and he can run a marathon in 2h46m. I'll post more details about what I've learned another time.

If you've thought about running but never tried, give it a go. You may be surprised :-)

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