This year has started with me picking up my feet and picking up the running bug!
I'm not a complete novice to running, but it's been over 3 years since I ran. I've blogged a little about my running history and mulled over whether attempting the London Marathon (in 2007)was the worse thing I could have done for my running as I didn't take another step after that, until last November/December.
I did a few tentative runs around November/December time and made an audio boo after my first 1 mile run in November.
One week into the new year, and I've got 10 miles under my running belt! Which seems a bit hard to believe. I mean, that's quite far really isn't it?
This has been over 3 runs. The first two I teamed up with my friend Rachel Simmo who lives nearby and who also has caught the running bug!
We ran when we felt like it and walked when we were tired, and then picked up the pace again.
I've been wearing my Garmin GPS watch thingy which tracks all the data and maps the route, so I've been downloading this information. It's really good to have actually. Before I had my Garmin I had to plot my route and distance online first and more or less stick to that route. Now, I can go in any direction I want which gives much more freedom to running. And I think it can even take you back to where you started your run from should you get lost! Clever eh!
So, here are the stats for my first two runs with Rachel.
I had planned a run for today and had marked it in my diary. When I plan a run a few days in advance I look forward to it, but come the time to actually get out of the door, well that's another matter! I kind of start thinking, "Have I got to go out? What will happen if I give it a miss today? Hmm, looks a bit cold out there. Yeah, but you'll feel ok once you get going. And you never regret it. And you'll enjoy it. Okay, well I'll get my running gear on then. Come on, stop tweeting and get out of the door. Now get going!"
This morning I woke up with my body feeling really sloth-like, it didn't really want to move. And my brain didn't help. It seemed a bit foggy.
I had some breakfast and waited for some energy to kick in. Hmm, that helped. A bit. But I still wasn't rushing to get ready for my run.
Dressed for my run at last, I started feeling a bit more positive about it.
And then.....runners high!!
4 miles. FOUR MILES!
With running, as with a lot of things, you celebrate the small and the big things and this was a biggy for me, especially as I had run 3.3 miles WITHOUT STOPPING! I was not expecting that to happen!
Before I went for my run I thought it might be a good idea to amuse myself on my warm up walk and try and write something using my Garmin GPS thingy. There's a nice big open space in Cannon Hill park, so I thought I would make use of it. There was a thin layer of snow covering the grass, which proved quite useful in trying to keep track of my steps. After a wobbly start, I kinda got the hang of it. What do you think?
So that took .7 miles and then I couldn't put it off any longer, it was time to run. I got myself off the grass and onto a path and off I went. I have some new music that I LOVE to listen to. I can't stay still when I hear it and it's perfect for running to. I love the pace, and the attitude. It's by Girl Talk and it's called Allday and you can download it FREE! I defy you to be able to sit still ;)
Luckily Cannon Hill park is practically flat, but for the novice runner even a slight incline can feel like a challenge. I had only just started running and I began planning my next walk break...
And then somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered a running tip from years ago! Slow down, take smaller strides. So I adjusted my running and that simple bit of advice worked. I actually didn't feel like stopping now and my breathing was ok, I could keep going for a bit longer before I took my walk break. This was working!
I carried on and to my surprise I didn't feel like I needed a walk break. My pace was slow, but what's the rush? This is my own little race, no one elses. I've got nothing to prove to anyone. I'll just do what feels right, listen to my body and just enjoy this run.
I began thinking about the 3 miles I had set myself and re-set the challenge to 4 miles. It just felt achievable today. I was in the mood for it now. I practically had the park to myself and it was looking pretty with a bit of snow and fog, even the rain was welcome on this run. I passed a handful of people, some walkers and folks out with their dogs, another runner over took me and gave me a friendly wave. After my first mile without stopping I punched the air and if I could have I would have given myself a high five too!
It felt great realising that I could run longer just by slowing down my pace. It seems to obvious, but it was like a light bulb moment. And so I continued running until I had completed exactly 4 miles. I still can't quite believe I've run 3.3 miles without stopping, I really didn't think I was capable of that.
And I feel great for it. My mind is more alert compared to the groggy start it had in the morning and I'm on a bit of a natural high. My body knows it's moved and is feeling relaxed.
I've marked my diary with 3 more runs for next week. I've got to be careful not to over do it and proceed to quickly, as there lies the road to injury. Which reminds me, I have got 3 blisters from today's run. I'd forgotten how blister prone my delicate feet are and remembered that I used to have to tape up the sensitive areas when I used to run, so I'll be putting tape and blister plasters on my shopping list this weekend.
If you are thinking about taking your first steps towards running here are my top tips:
Ladies - don't even think about it without a sports bra!! You don't want any distractions when running and you need to keep those beauties under control! Any sports shop, or big department store should be able to kit out you including Marks & Spencer. Make sure you try it on before you buy and even do a little run on the spot to assess things.
Shoes - Get yourself fitted for some proper running shoes. There are shops that are dedicated to running and sports and they offer an assessment service. They will measure your gait and how you run and suggest the best shoe for you. For example, I'm an overpronator.
Running shoes will be one of the best investments you can make and will help you to avoid injury too.
Starting out - take it easy. Walk when you feel like it, run when you want to. I really recommend Runners World. It's got TONS of advice for beginners as well as more advanced runners and there is a very active forum there where you can chat with other runners at all levels, ask for help and tips, and make some running buddies too.
Right! I've promised myself a nice hearty spag bol for dinner! Oh and tomorrow I'll be weighing myself to see what the scales say this week. Fingers crossed they will go in the right direction (especially after a big bowl of spag bol!), but I think 10 miles should help things along in that area :)