Pre-run in my new gear
Over the last few weeks, my Couch to 5K challenge has gone by without much incident. The runs have gotten progressively worse and worse, and it definitely hasn't helped that it's been baking here, but generally, there hasn't been much to report. I've just been getting in from work, getting changed and running.
But then last week I was looking through my C25K app and flicking ahead, just to see what was in store. The biggest challenge until that point had been the beginning of last week, my first 10 minute run, which was tough but manageable, and then a 12 minute run a few days later. The runs were getting longer and the walks were getting shorter, but miraculously, I was doing it without much worrying.
Until I spotted Week 6, Day 3.
20 minutes of running. With no walking.
As I said up until that point the longest I had run was 12 minutes. With only minute-long walk breaks, I was running for about 18 minutes in total, but I always had that one glorious minute to look forward to.
Me being me, I took to the internet. There had to be other people dreading this 20 minute milestone.
And fortunately, there were. Lots of them. This one run seemed to be definitive. For almost everybody this run was a turning point. The line between a wannabe runner and a real runner.
I'd never really looked up running blogs before, but reading other people's experiences filled me with inspiration and hope that I could complete it. And because I like to write in my blog the things I would like to read, I thought I'd dedicate a little post to my own running turning point.
The hones truth? It really wasn't that bad.
Another honest truth? I think a tiny little yorkie dog over-took my running pace. In fact, I think I walk faster than the pace of my run tonight.
But I did it.
I started out with the attitude that I could do this. I knew if I gave myself any kind of leeway in terms of "oh you don't have to do it first time" or "oh you can have a walk for a minute or so if you need to" I would give up. I went into this knowing I was going to do it.
Just really, really slowly.
Fortunately my new shorts and running top had arrived and that did make a huge difference, placebo or not, and kept me much cooler than leggings and a cotton top. I didn't faff around flicking through songs on my running playlist, I just let it play. And off I went.
I kept my pace laughably slow right from the start. I often start out a bit too fast and lose momentum and end up exhausted at the end.
And I just kept going.
I run the same route every day, which is what I like. I know where my one-mile mark is, I know where my turnaround point is (though today it was much sooner than usual due to my lack of speed) and I know when I'm nearly done. Still I was a little surprised when the "one minute left" announcement came on.
So I pegged it.
I ran like the wind for that last minute, marveling that I'D DONE IT and had energy to spare.
It really feels like the turning point in my running. A 5K at least now seems within my grasp. Yeah my 10K still feels a way off but 6 weeks ago I could barely run for 45 seconds and now I can run for 20 minutes.
So to anyone doing C25K, do not fear the 20 minute run. After 5, 6 weeks of running, you are much more capable than you realise. Take it slow and just go. Don't look at the time, don't look how long you have left. Just go.
Next stop in 2 weeks' time- my 30 minute run.