That’s right, you read it here first! This weekend I completed my first ever 5K and I’m feeling rather proud to say the least!
If you’d have told me a couple of months ago that by the end of August I would be able to run up a hill, let alone a 5K including two massive hills, I really wouldn’t have believed you. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about ‘This Little Thing Has Changed My Life’ and it really had. I started moving and losing weight and the more exercise I got the better I began to feel. When I gave away all my ‘big’ clothes I started feeling even better! Then one day I was pushing the double buggy, complete with a 31lb toddler and a 19lb baby (which probably made the combined weight, including the buggy, somewhere near 60lb!) when I broke into a jog to race home away from the rather menacing looking rain clouds that were fast approaching. After a minute of running I didn’t feel like I was going to keel over, rather that I quite enjoyed it and I’d like to do some more, but perhaps without the buggy to push!
Now, I like a challenge as much as the next person and I’ll admit to being ever so slightly over-competitive, even (especially) with myself. So I looked around for an app that I could download onto my phone which would provide me with the tools to train me up to run a 5K, get me into the habit of running and, perhaps most crucially, rein me in when I thought I could do more. I found the free C25k app which seemed to fit the bill perfectly. The programme consists of a walk/run approach which built up the length of time you were running as the weeks went on. A little notification buzzer tells you when to walk or run, when you’re half way through and when you’ve got one minute left until the cool down. The only thing it didn’t do was track the distance I was covering so I downloaded mapmyrun which records the distance travelled and tells you the speed you are running at.
To begin with it was really hard work. I didn’t dare look at the later parts of the programme for fear of scaring myself! I just took each session as it came and as I kept going I began to believe that I could do it so it got a little bit easier. Well, mentally it did. Physically, it was bloody hard work! But when I look back at the record on Mapmyrun I can see the improvements in speed and mileage and that spurs me on further.
I would share the following tips:
- Set the apps going then hide the display on your phone. DO NOT look at the timer counting down each section. Instead, crank up the music and wait until the next notification buzzer.
- Run a different route each day. Variety is the spice of life!
- Invest in a great pair of trainers. Go to a local independent sports shop where the staff will spend time talking about your exercise plans and talk you through your options.
- Don’t worry what you look like/ the speed you’re running at. I go bright red and sweaty which shows I’m working hard and I’m moving faster than everyone who’s still at home in bed.
- Run at a regular time. Book it in to your diary so it gets done. I run first thing in the morning so I get it over and done with. Set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget.
- Don’t reward yourself with food after you’ve run otherwise you’ll undo all of your hard work. I reward myself with £2 in a pot so I can buy myself something nice instead.
- Change your mindset so that the run is your reward. I love the fact I get 40 minutes of child free time to think, dream or just be without someone shouting ‘Mummmmeeeeee’!
The 5K that I ran was the Darley Parkrun. I thought that this would be a great starting point, allowing me to set a time and to see how a race worked. I completed it in 34 minutes 42 seconds and ran at an average pace of about 5mph.
I’ve properly got the bug now and was out again in the rain this morning to complete another run. My next goal is to keep up my routine when I return to work next week after my maternity leave and, in the back of my mind, the Derby 10K in April 2016 is tempting me as my next challenge!