Picture the scene….. I was an overweight, unfit, middle aged mother of 3 who had never run (or done very much exercise at all actually!) before. Of course it was perfectly feasible to take up running on an impulsive decision. Why wouldn’t it be…. It’s free, I can do it whenever I like, wherever I like and it will make me slim and fit!! Easy. Loads of people do it. I pass loads of runners every day, not all of them look like Mo Farah. If they can do it, I can do it…. right? Wrong. Absolutely, 100% wrong….
I downloaded the 5K runner app that I’d heard so many people talking about. I invested in a pair of running trainers and some running pants!! Yup, I felt the part, even though I certainly didn’t look it! I created a playlist of upbeat songs to listen to as I did my first ‘run’ and off I went….
I listened to the instructions – 5 minutes warm up walk, yep, that’s ok, I can do that. I did that perfectly well. Then came the run. 1 minute… no problem (or so I thought!). It’s only 1 minute! Easy!…. I was clearly deluded about my actual fitness level as that 1 minute felt like an eternity!! And running is really not a word I should use to describe it… probably more of a slow jog or fast walk! And at the end, I had to stop, reassure myself that I wasn’t dying and take my inhaler!! This did not bode well!! That first ‘run’ was hard (1 minute run and 1.5 minute walk 6 times), genuinely hard and much harder than I anticipated and I had another 5 lots to go before the cool down walk!!!! There was no way I was ever going to be able to run 5K, no way on gods earth!
I persevered with the app and although I won’t lie and say it was easy, I did it!! I worked my way through the program as it instructed me. There were days when I wasn’t able to fulfil every instruction because I simply didn’t have it in me, there were days when I didn’t manage to get out of bed because the rain was pounding down and I couldn’t find the inclination. There were days when I just didn’t want to so I didn’t but then there were days when I smashed it and felt like I could have carried on and done more. 8 weeks from when I began, I was able to run 5K!!
I kept on with the running and started the 10K runner app and the better I got, the more I enjoyed it. The sense of achievement is huge and that’s before you consider the physical and mental benefits of running. I really have got the running bug now and hate it when I don’t get out. Hardly a day passes when I don’t run at least 5K. I’ve got two 10K runs this year and my aim is to run a half marathon before the year is out. Who’d have thought it from a non-runner!! Believe me when I tell you that if i can do it, anyone can! So even if you consider yourself a non-runner, why not give it a try! It might be the best thing you ever do!
Here are my top tips for complete non-runners:
- Find a good app to guide you through the process of running rather than just going out, running and burning yourself out. Build up gradually.
- Find someone to run with if you can. Making a commitment to meet someone will mean you’ll stick to it.
- Make sure you warm up and cool down properly at the beginning and end of your run.
- Invest in a decent pair of trainers and running leggings (I’ve spent too many runs pulling up pants that just weren’t suitable – opt for a drawstring around the waist to avoid this happening!).
- Sign up for your local parkrun. Running with other people creates a great sense of community, encouragement and support and will also improve your performance.