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.
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?