Starting to run

I’ve been a runner for about 4 years now. I was never sporty at school. I did participate in the horror they called “cross country” a couple of times. This was an activity where one ran around with a stitch in the cold wondering why that other kid didn’t look like they were about to die.

Like many people school sport left me believing that I hated sport.

I also trained as a dancer, and dancers don’t generally run. My dance training left me with arthritic feet and knee problems. Another reason not to run.

I’ve been a gym member for years, I like doing classes. Every so often I’d have a go on the treadmill, set off too fast, manage a few minutes and stop. Another way to cause myself to believe that I couldn’t run.

I cant remember what triggered me to decide to actually have a serious go at running, but at some point I decided to buy a treadmill. I think some of the drive was that running is a very time efficient way to exercise. With a daughter who needed me as a taxi service and a business I didn’t always have time to get to the gym.

Searching for how to run turned up the Couch 2 5K programme. The great thing about Couch 2 5K is that it assumes no prior running experience or ability, and it starts out very gently. By mixing running and walking it allowed me to get past the stage where you set off too fast and can’t manage more than a few minutes. The first week of Couch 2 5K has you jogging for only 60 seconds at a time then walking for 90 seconds. I followed the program on the treadmill and found that by the end of it I really could run 5k. Slowly, but running.

Running on a treadmill is pretty boring, however I had read in forums how running on the treadmill was totally different and I was under the impression I’d have to start over again if I tried to run outside. That was when I saw an ad in the local paper for a local Running Sisters group. I emailed the organiser and explained I could run 5k on a treadmill in about 35 minutes but had never run outside. She suggested I just come along and see how I got on. I ran with the ladies and discovered that running with friendly folk to chat to was far more fun than running on my own. These days I rarely take to the treadmill other than if there is snow or ice outside or for occasional speed sessions.

Running with a social running group can be really helpful as you build the mileage. It is surprising how quickly time goes when you have someone to chat to. With “the Sisters” I increased my mileage until, just a year after joining, I ran the Reading Half Marathon. I was well on the way to running becoming an important part of my life and who I am.

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