I DID IT! I RAN FIVE MILES!
As January, finally, comes to a close, I am thrilled to announce that for the first time in living memory, I have stuck to my New Year’s Resolutions and smashed my 2018 goals so far. The first one being my running, the second one being my smoking.
When you take the second one into consideration it’s small wonder I found the first one easier.
On January 1st I made two promises to myself: the first was that I would not smoke between the hours of 9-5 on week days and the second was that by February I needed to be able to run 5 miles. And as 5pm this afternoon, I’m celebrating the fact that I actually did both.
I’ve talked a lot about running over the last month, both on the blog (my how to distract yourself when you are running article) and on my Instagram stories (probably too much on my Instagram stories, people keep coming up to me at parties and asking if I feel better since I admitted to tripping over on Putney Bridge the other day – I am by the way) and for the first time in living memory, I’ve succeeded in putting my money where my mouth is.
I haven’t called it a day just yet, you won’t be lumped with yet ANOTHER blog post called I’m Getting Back Into Running *again* for a while, I’m well and truly into it right now.
So. As someone that is finally into running, I feel like I’m legit within my rights to share the tips and tricks I have picked up over the last 31 days that saw my running go from no miles to five miles in a month.
The stuff you’ll need:
I have banged on about these time and time again because I honestly would not be able to run without it. It’s my obsession and my fixation, I check my speed, I only allow myself to check my distances at the end of every song, I live for the moment it chirps to life to tell me I’ve run a mile.
I use a Garmin, it’s a hand-me-down of my mums, the new ones are better, although they are expensive. Have a look at the Garmins available on Amazon – there are cheaper ones available – depending on your budget you can make a decision.
I cannot stress the importance of these enough. Mine are from Asics and they were recommended by my physio – they last for ages, I’ve had mine for years, they are very comfortable and I notice big differences when it comes to my bad knees and blister prone feet.
Something warm to run in.
I have a gilet from Uniqlo that is absolutely saving me right now – I don’t like sweaty arms so sleeveless seems sensible – that and the fact a pocket is handy for a poo bag.
Unless you want blisters all over your feet, you really, really, reallyyyyy need a good pair of running socks (more than one if you’re going to take this shit seriously) – I get mine from Amazon in a multi-pack.
A damn good playlist.
You’ve heard this before- but don’t underestimate it.
A positive mental attitude.
Lol. I’m a wanker, but it’s true.
The plan of action:
Start really short.
Whether you’re putting on a pair of trainers for the first time in your life or getting back into running after months off, you don’t want to start too big.
A few things might happen if you do:
1) You’ll find it too difficult, not be able to complete it and totally put yourself off running for ever.
2) You’ll hurt yourself.
3) You’ll peak too soon and mentally leave your mind nowhere to go.
Start with a mile. Even if a mile is too far, start with a mile. Make a note of where you need to stop to walk, write it down, remember where you got the stitch, where you had to sit down. Two days later, run that mile again. Do not let yourself stop until you are further than you got the first time. And then you do it again, and again, keep pushing it out, keep forcing yourself on just that little bit further and then, before you know it, you won’t be stopping.
My first mile of the year saw me stop three times – I was begging Bua to take a shit so that I’d have an excuse to stop.
It might not feel like a lot, it might feel like a bit of a cop out to only go out for fifteen minutes, particularly after you’ve made a big pledge to go out and ‘start running again!‘, but you need to remember: if you’ve been off exercise for a while then by doing A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G, you’re already doing more than any other day that came before it.
Jump straight to three.
Once you’ve got a mile under your belt, don’t fuck around trying to sort two out – go straight for three. This works for me at least.
I was always taught with cycling that if you can cycle 15 miles, then you can cycle 30 – I’ve never heard anyone apply this logic for running, but I decided to anyway.
I made my one mile loop, once I had the hang of that, I made my three mile loop.
Don’t expect to be able to run three miles in one go.
The first time I started I couldn’t do the full distance and stopped at 2 miles. The second time I stopped at 2.4, the third at 2.5 and then bugger me, on the fourth attempt I did 3.
By setting yourself off on a 3 mile course, you are giving your body the chance to exceed itself if it wants to. If you can smash one, you can probably smash two, so at least give your body the chance to do a little more – the last thing you want is to get home after two miles and kick yourself because you had a little more left in you.
It doesn’t matter, even if you’re just pushing it by .1 of a mile every time, you’re still pushing it. I had 3 miles sussed in just over two weeks.
From three, jump straight to five.
I will be honest with you, this is a much harder jump, but it is still worth doing.
When I first extended my course I did 3.65 miles and walked the rest of the way home. The next time I got up to 4.0 (and then took a few days off because I was fucking shattered), the time after that I got up to 4.6, then, because morale was low I reverted back to 2 miles.
But then, totally spontaneously, two days later I turned right instead of left onto the 5 mile route and did the whole thing – my boyfriend was with me, he didn’t let me turn around, he didn’t let me stop, he hardly even let me whinge (which pissed me off), but we got there.
By sending yourself out that far away from home, you know that whatever happens you are going to need to travel the distance to get back – if you’re anything like me you might just reason with yourself that it would be quicker to run it, just to get it over with. If you can’t face running though, you can stop at any time and just stroll back.
They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit and I do believe that to be true.
I feel like running is a part of my week now and I can’t imagine not doing it – I have plans for February, I want to complete a 10k but I want to do it in under an hour. This will be hard for me because my running speed is not all that, but I didn’t think I’d be running five miles when I first decided to do this at the beginning of January.
And although I was being a tosser with the PMA stuff, don’t underestimate the power of self belief; if you want something badly enough, you’ll get it. It’s not an overnight thing and you’ve got to do everything you can to keep your brain on your side!
The most helpful thing though is to remember that really, running is just walking, but a bit faster..
So there ya go – my advice for any would-be runners out there.
Not fool proof, but certainly a start – good luck!!
How did you get on with your New Year’s Resolutions???