I am a runner.


I can now call myself a runner…

… so says Laura, the coach on my Couch to 5k podcast. I completed Week 6 of the programme with a 25-minute run. I am now half way through Week 7, which consists of three more 25 minute runs.

I have changed my running route. The route I have been using until this week is along an old railway embankment. It is flat and reasonably straight, through pretty woodland. A lovely place to run, however it is only 3.5 k (just over 2 miles) – so not far enough for the final stages of the programme. I took some time last weekend to scope out a new route. My dog and I spent a very pleasant afternoon wandering over the fields and lanes to map out a 5k circuit. I was very excited to get started!

The new route is across much more open terrain, so a little more exposed to the elements. I’ve only had to contend with blazing sunshine so far, which has made the experience hot and sticky! There is also a significant incline about half way around, which seemed a good deal steeper when running than it had appeared whilst walking. In addition, I have to negotiate several gates and styles – but hey, they give me a breather, right?!

I have managed the circuit twice now. Both times I have run 3 k (2miles) in the 25 minutes. So my baseline is 12 minutes a mile. Slow I fear, but I have to start somewhere and the only way is up from here – literally as I’m running uphill…

Today I will attempt my second run of Week 7. My husband is going to run with me so I won’t be tempted to stop. My mantra is “keep moving” – no matter how slowly.

I’d love to hear from other runners and learn from your experience. The questions I’ve got at the moment are – What is a comfortable pace for you? How far do you run, and how often? How long did it take you to feel comfortable running your favourite distance? However, any thoughts, advice and encouragement you have will be gratefully received.

Learning to run…


I am learning to run…

I have just started week 6 of a couch to 5 K programme and I’m feeling quite chuffed. I’m also feeling it in my right hip and my knees!

At the end of last week, I ran for 20 minutes without stopping. If you had told me 5 weeks ago that I’d be able to run for 20 minutes without a break I would not have believed you! Today I ran for 18 minutes over three sessions – 5 minutes, 8 minutes and 5 minutes.

My motivation for following this programme? Well, in May/June this year I walked, with my husband, the Wainwright Coast to Coast route – 192 miles from St Bees on the west coast of England to Robin Hoods Bay on the east coast in 12 days. It is a challenging walk across beautiful landscapes; but we enjoyed every second of it, and felt fitter by the end. I wanted to build on the achievement and new levels of fitness but couldn’t justify spending 5 hours walking every day! I have always admired people who run, and even attempted to start running myself – on several occasions, all without success. I believed that I couldn’t run, and finding out that the blood supply to the lower half of my lungs doesn’t come from my heart (it comes from my abdomen!?) just perpetuated the myth that I can’t run. This is despite the fact that I used to play hockey at school – and thoroughly enjoy it.

I subscribed to the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts, put on my trainers and started – walking. Each session starts with a 5-minute walk. Everything is explained, and timed, and you build up very slowly so it is relatively easy to keep going. I am enjoying it, and feel a real sense of achievement and progress. My body does grumble – as I mentioned above, my right hip and knees are complaining tonight. I have taken some anti-inflammatories and hoping that after a good night’s sleep they will settle down. Finger crossed!