Running – I don’t love it, but….

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…I get to spend half an hour or so with my favourite tunes blasting into my ears. Listening to my iPod can transport me back to being a teenager again, which is guaranteed to make me feel good.

…I love the fact that I could outpace my teenage self! I couldn’t run 5km when I was 16.

…when I run past people, they don’t know if I’ve been out running for 5 miles or 5 minutes! I can pretend to be Paula Radcliffe.

…I’m setting an example for my children.

…I’m doing what I can to stay healthy. Running/jogging/brisk walking for half an hour, three times a week will not only help to keep my weight manageable, and therefore reduce my risk of diabetes and cancer but will keep my cardiovascular system in good condition too. Weight bearing exercise is also good for keeping the bones strong and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

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…exercising outdoors is good for the soul. I watch the seasons change through the blooming of the hedgerows. Sometimes I’ve got to go in search of a nice woodland trail to get a hit of bluebells or wild garlic in flower but I’m just as happy running through the neighbourhood and enjoying the gardens change from snowdrops to daffodils to roses.

…it costs me nothing but time. This can be a bit of clincher. There’s no doubt that I’ve made time to do this now that my youngest is at nursery and I know it’ll be even easier when September comes and he’s at school full time. I take my hat off to all you working parents who fit your exercise in around other commitments.

…it’s taught me that commitment works. Why has it taken me 40 years to get a better understanding of this?

…if I want to stick at training, I need a target. My motivation is limited otherwise. Last year it was the ‘Total Warrior’ in August, and indeed, we are doing that again soon. This year, I started the year training for the Keswick Mountain Festival 10km trail run. My training wasn’t really as good as it should have been, but at least I did enough to complete the race.

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If you want to get active and run, I highly recommend downloading the NHS Choices couch to 5k app. It is really well paced for a complete beginner. You won’t believe how
quickly you can build up from running for just a minute and a half to a full half an hour. You don’t need expensive shoes – mine cost about £14 and I’ve been wearing them for over a year with no problem. The one thing I would invest in is a decent bra – it will make a massive difference to you comfort. I like the ‘Shock Absorber’ brand, which I’ve recently seen for sale in Go Outdoors.

Happy running everyone.

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Running

My husband has always been a runner. In fact, one of the first times we spent together was doing a fun run. It was fun for him but not so much for the very unfit me. He has the physique of a long distance runner: slim and long of leg. When he breaks into his stride I am reminded of a gazelle leaping across the African plains. I have always secretly wanted to be able to run too, the Great North Run is a sort of quiet ambition of mine. However I’ve never really felt the commitment needed to get on and start training.

Recently I have heard my brother and sister-in-law talk about how they gradually improved their stamina by running. My sister-in-law is a changed woman. She told me how before she started running she could barely run to catch a train and running to the top of her street was difficult. Now, almost six months of training later she can run 10km three times a week and has lost over 3 stones in weight. I decided that if she could do it, so could I.

My first hurdle was getting some running shoes. I think the last time I bought a pair of trainers was 20 years ago when I decided to do a 5 mile fun run with my husband (I decided to train for it the second time we did it). This time it was more complicated than popping down to the University sports shop and picking from about five different pairs. This time I went to our local Sports Direct mega store and almost passed out at the sight of about a zillion different shoes on racks reaching up to the sky. The staff were actually very helpful and clearly used to the sight of novice, wannabe runners appearing in their store every January. So despite how I felt about going into that store to buy running shoes (slightly stupid) it wasn’t a bad experience after all. I left the store with some VERY cheap, regular trainers and a couple of pairs of trail running shoes for me and The Husband (more about that much later).

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If you’ve visited this site recently you may have noticed a few Instagrams of my new trainers. I’m pleased to say that they have been used regularly in the last four weeks. I’ve embraced modern technology and downloaded a training app that you can find if you click the link. So far I love it. I can see nothing but positives. I’ve stuck with the programme and today I ran for 16 minutes out of a thirty minute session. Not 16 continuous minutes I hasten to add, my maximum continuous run so far is only 5 minutes, as dictated by ‘Laura’ the voice on the podcast. I’m happy with that. I can see how I am gradually improving and if I can complete all the podcasts I’ll be running for 30 continuous minutes in another five weeks time. That doesn’t sound like long at all.

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Insane grinning after completing my first ‘run’

Now, bring on some more light nights and some better spring weather. Running in sleet a week or two ago was not fun. Actually, what am I saying? Strangely, it was, go figure?