Running Beyond My Limits

I have always felt fear and loathing towards running. Apart from the need to catch the odd bus, surely we humans have evolved out of the need to run?

I only ever used the treadmill at the gym for a brisk walk.

No doubt this antipathy goes back to middle school when I came last in the cross-country race. Not only did I come in last place, but I was so out of breath people were concenred I was asthmatic (I wasn’t). Since then, I’ve believed that some people aren’t made for running and I’m one of them.

This was reinforced last December when our fitness trainer on the first morning of the retreat told us to run up the beach and back. I had been going to the gym for five months by this point so didn’t think it would be too arduous. Wrong. After just a few paces I had a coughing fit so severe that I thought I was going to be sick. I told myself that it was purely coincidental that we were only asked to walk along the beach each morning after that

During the retreat, I met an amazing woman (among many) called Di from Barking, Essex. She had come through debilitating health problems to compete in Tough Mudder and seems to be taking part in runs every other weekend. After we got back, with extreme unwarranted optimism, she kept asking me if I’d take part in various race events.

I did want to clear this block and learnt to run, even if only once. Eventually I agreed to The Color Run because I read that children could take part, you weren’t timed and mothers could even go round the course while pushing a pram. Hey, this was more my speed and it looked fun too. I tried not to think about the fact it was 5km long.

color run

I signed up around the end of March and the race is set for the 12th June. I had about 10 weeks to go from zero to hero. I told my fitness guru, Val, that  I was going to run for 5 minutes during my first training session at the gym. She replied “Five minutes is a long time”. Oh how right she was. I struggled to jog on the treadmill for one whole minute. Yes, you read that correctly: I could barely get through a single minute.  I thought it would tough-going, but I had no idea just how tough.

Since then I’ve been gradually building up the amount of time I can run for continuously and am currently up to 20 minutes.  I found this brilliant training programme on the NHS website called Couch to 5k which has been invaluable. It’s given me a lot more confidence that I won’t completely disgrace myself. An added motivator is that I’m trying to raise funds for Chlldine, a helpline in the UK for children suffering abuse.

Since starting to run something strange has happened. I’ve begun to almost look forward to my training sessions at the gym. It’s given me a new exercise goal to work towards and I’m seeing progress every time I go. It’s also satisfying to confront my limiting belief that I’m just not capable of running.

If all else fails on the day, Di has said she will drag me around the course on my knees, so that’s okay then…


Do you run? Do you have any tips or books to recommend on the subject? How does running make you feel?








Filed under Thoughts

24 responses to “Running Beyond My Limits

  1. I avoided running at ALL costs. My BF tried to convince me to, but It wasn’t happening. Once he deployed, I decided to attempt because it made me feel closer to him. Now I’m signing up for 5Ks.
    Great job!!


  2. poodle

    I only run if something is chasing me. Bad knees are a family trait. Mom had a knee replacement. My brother took up running once and blew out his cartilage and needed surgery. That was followed up a few years later with a partial knee replacement. I’m not taking any chances.
    Bravo to you though for doing it! I look forward to hearing about your first big run.


    • I don’t blame you one bit, Poodle. That seems very sensible to me given the evidence. There are other ways to keep fit. It just seems I wasn’t getting as far – excuse the pun – until I started running.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to not run at all, thinking like you that surely I just wasn’t meant to run… And yes I was useless! Just going slowly at my own pace not following any programme, but making it *my time* and listening to music, I gradually improved and ended up running 7-10k every other day. But then it started to bore me and I stopped, I’ve recently taken it up again, and constantly have to remind myself how slow it is starting out, because even a 5 minute run, is 5 minutes more than you did when you did nothing…
    Anyway, good luck to you, you’ll be so happy when you’ve done those first 5k


    • Wow, 7-10k runs every other day?! That’s amazing. I strongly doubt I will ever get to that stage but it inspires me to hear how other women mastered it.

      It can be a real mood and body booster so I’m glad you’ve taken it up again. 5 minutes is more than good enough, especially as you’re not under time pressure training for a race. I needed to do that to get me moving, literally.

      Thanks, yes, I expect to be on cloud nine when I cross the finish line, whether it’s on my knees or not.


      • I never liked the idea of a race, or even running with others. I have run with friends, but prefer running alone 🙂 That can be tough on the motivation though.


        • Yes, it’s good you were motivated to run such long distances regularly on your own. It does seem to be suit being solitary.
          I had been going on the rowing and cycle machines at the gym but clearly wasn’t putting enough effort in for a proper cardio workout. The race has fixed that all right!


  4. Major congrats on taking the plunge and burying your non-running demons. I have historically been a very fitful runner though you have inspired me to get back into it once I have sorted this pollen business out. The first time I ran was on holiday with a friend in Greece in 1990, who came back from an early morning jog, tossed her trainers in my direction and told me to go out and have a go! And I did. At my peak (er…in 1995) I could run 8 miles, and I have entered a few 10k races in the past (always finishing towards the back, I might add). The last time I jogged – which was this year at least – I managed about 25 mins, so you are likely to overtake me any day! And what a worthwhile cause to support as well. I am sure you will have fun and find it a great morale booster – not to mention endorphin factory. ;).


    • Yes, V, one challenge a time, get the hayfever sorted then hit the road.

      I love your Greece story! You are clearly more of a natural than me if you managed 25 minutes after not running for ages. I have no idea why I had zero stamina. My target next Tuesday is 25 minutes so we’ll see.

      Just the fact that you have done a few 10k races is impressive to me, no matter where you finished.

      I really do hope the endorphin factory kicks into production on the 12th next month!


  5. YOU are amazing Tara.
    I don’t even run for the phone.
    Portia xxx


  6. cookie queen

    Aim high. You’ll nail it because that is what we do. Inspirational. ❤️


  7. You really a fantastic person, Tara. I used to run quite a bit and I even ran 25 km in a race once. Not anymore though. I found walking more enjoyable. 😀
    Good luck and I’m looking forward to reading about your run! xxx


    • Thanks, Yukiko. Definitely a crazy person 🙂

      Wow, you practically ran a marathon. That’s an amazement achievement. You can hang your running shoes up after that! Walking is more my style, I must admit.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tina G

    Congrats on taking the plunge and signing up for the colour run. You’ll have a fab time! I’ve been running for nearly 1 year and I find that there are times where I can run every second day, and others where for whatever reason I can run for a few weeks. I just do what I can when I can. It’s definitely a hard slog starting! Joining a running group helped me, as well as having supportive friends.

    xx Tina G


    • Thanks, Tina. You’re one of those people who’ve really inspired and helped me starting out. It’s good to hear your experience. I didn’t know you’d only been running for less than a year. I’m having trouble finding a running group close by but intend to look up Park Run as that sounds like a good option.

      See you soon!


  9. Sun Mi

    I only run the bases in softball, and that’s only when I’m lucky enough to get a hit or a walk. And even those are just short spurts of running that last no longer than… 15 or 30 seconds? Running is not something I tend to enjoy…

    I applaud you for taking on a challenge and seeing through it! Your progress is palpable, and I’m sure this positive experience will only further broaden your horizons. I admire your tenacity and drive!!


    • Thank-you, Sun Mi! My aim is to keep challenge myself.
      I’m sure softball is keeping you fitter than you realise and you’re having fun too. Perfect.


  10. I never liked running or could do it well but I applaud your efforts. Your post makes me want to try it myself. I’ll see how well I can resist that temptation 😉


    • I’m like you but at least I’ll find out if I am capable of it next month. I would like to keep it up at the gym after the Color Run because it shows how little stamina I had before. It’s such a struggle though. We’ll see.


  11. Good on you Tara, you are an inspiration. I too like Portia don’t even run for the phone lol!!…makes me want to for a walk..


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