I'm currently doing the NHS Couch to 5K program. It's a pretty good way to get into running. I know this because I completed it last year and then...stopped. In order not to stop this time, when I get home (and transfer some money) I'll be booking a 10 k in May. I'll try and find another later on in the year, too, just to keep me going. I'm hoping to complete a half marathon next year, then a full one the year after that. I realise it's slow going, but I'm terrified I'll end up like the majority of runners I know: hooked. So hooked they run when injured, and complete a ridiculous number of marathons in a year. I like my knees and hips! I don't want to have them replaced due to overuse in 20 years time!
So I will be taking it slowly and listening to my body. If that means it takes me longer to complete this program, then so be it.
Why do I want to run? Firstly, I have to admit I have never liked running. I was very, very good at it as a child, but hated it. However, once you've bought the gear, it's a pretty cheap form of exercise. I also want to lose a few pounds. Only a few. I'm not overweight, but I've noticed over the past 5 years that I've put on a bit, and I'd like to reverse that trend a little. I was 55 kilo's in 2007. Last year this time I was 68 kilo's. That's over 10 kilo's in 5 years. Or, for the imperial of you, 1 and a half stone. I'd like to get down to 60 kilo's. I feel healthy at that weight. To me, weight loss isn't about being beautiful and thin, it's about getting to where you feel healthy. I want to be healthier. I also want to achieve something, whether it's my first 10k run, or marathon. I'd quite like to achieve something and know it took a lot of work, but was worth it.
The gear I'm using isn't the most high tech at the moment. My plan is to gradually acquire the things I need. Right now I'm out of the house for half an hour, so I don't need too much, other than clothes and trainers. I wear some stuff I got from Asda, a sports bra from M & S and some trainers I got from Blacks.They had some Merrell Barefoot Running reduced to half price. I'd been thinking about starting out with a pair of barefoot or minimalist trainers, and so I thought why not? They are beautiful
So, after my first week of running again, what can I tell you?
I didn't complete three runs this week, as I should have. I started off perfectly on Monday, then proceeded to have three bad nights sleep in a row, and so missed Wednesday. I was put off by the cold Friday evening, and so I decided to modify the run to do a workout on the exercise bike. I did the final run today. I won't normally be so lax and head straight into the following weeks routine, as that's just calling for trouble. This time, though, I will go into week 2 as I know I'll be able to complete it.
I love my trainers. I love what they are making me do and think about. Before I'd just run, one foot in front of the other. Now I think about my technique. I can feel exactly where and how my feet are landing. You should land on your forefeet when you run. I watched some cross country runners a few months ago on TV and was fascinated by how they landed on the balls of their feet. In normal trainers, it's very easy not to do this. It's easy for an amateur to land on their heel, increasing injury risk and creating a habit it's hard to get out of.
You can't do that in these trainers. They will punish you, it will hurt. It feels good to land on your forefoot. I'm finding that the way I land now means my knee is bent and my body cushions itself. They feel good on my feet, and I'm finding myself able to run father and faster than I did last year.
I thought I'd go straight into wearing them, as I can ease my way into this style of running. You have to ease your way into it. I was telling my boss about my trainers, and proper running technique, he went out and ran, thinking about how he landed. He then spent two days unable to walk properly because his calves were sore. My calves hurt after the first run, but comfortable, good hurt. They are also Vibram soles, so have very good grip on the slippery Leicester streets.
My task for myself next week is to do the runs, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, unless I have a good reason not to. I also need to get my imagination into play. Part of the reason I enjoy cycling, swimming and rowing is I end up daydreaming (without losing concentration or awareness of my surroundings) and in my head I'm in some competition, trying to get in front of the person in first place. It makes the exercise fun, and spurs me on. I need to learn how to do this while running, too!
Bring on next week!