Ever since meeting Sir Ranulph Fiennes at a lecture, and hearing about how he ran 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, I’ve been puzzled about how a human body and mind can push itself to such limits. I tend to ask every marathon runner I meet “how do you run for hours on end” and “what do you think about that whole time?!”
I have never been a ‘runner’ and have no desire to run a marathon, but I do really envy the focus and determination. Growing up we had timed one-mile runs every year in school, and I tried to go to one track and field practice in high school (mostly because my friends were in track), but that was it. I jogged and walked one 5K ‘race’ in support of breast cancer, which I loved, but that is very nearly a full summary of all the running I have ever attempted.
When I heard about a friend ‘learning how to run’ I wondered, could I at least try to be a runner? Maybe even do another 5K (ahem, without stopping to catch my breath twice). I looked online to see if there were any articles that gave good advice, and I stumbled across a programme called ‘Couch to 5K’. It spoke to me… Maybe because I was sat on the couch at the time.
I downloaded a free app with the sessions and gave it a shot. The programme is made up of nine weeks of interval sessions, three times per week, starting at 20 minutes. I thought it would be tedious, I thought I would hate it, but I was so stunned by the fact that I could actually do it, that I think I liked it. The short bursts of jogging were easy and weeks one to four flew by. In week five, things got a little hairy with a solid 20 minutes of jogging, but I was able to do it! The steady build up of smaller workouts had astonishingly enabled me to run for a whole 20 minutes.
I was shocked, and also determined to see it through, admittedly the weeks did get more difficult. The runs were longer in duration and to try and match them with a distance (and keep a minimum speed) was an added challenge. But during week 9 (and coincidently my 35th birthday), I ran a 5K!
I didn’t love it but I loved being able to do it, and I love the way it made me feel. I’m going to keep at it to see if I can get more comfortable with the distance and duration and then determine if I should go on to the 10K regime!
Everything you need to hear to keep you moving, mamas!