I’ve started running again.
(I use that term loosely, by the way. It’s more “moving-slightly-faster-than-my-usual-stroll.”)
I did start running back in 2017, got two weeks in and suddenly it started getting dark in the evenings and I got too scared and stopped. All through 2018 I put it off and put it off because I was just petrified again.
Until I woke up on 3rd January this year and decided it was third time lucky. So I put on tracksuit bottoms, my scabby old New Balance trainers and told Elliot that I was going to go for a run whilst he was at school.
Because if you tell a five year old something, you’ve got to see it through. They have memories like elephants when you tell them something you’d rather they forgot.
When I’d started running previously, I listened to the Couch To 5K podcast which, in hindsight, I wouldn’t recommend.
You have a slightly robotic voice (sorry, lady that does the voice over for the C25K podcast) and cheesy music that sounds a bit like Ronan Keating and a bit like Gary Barlow playing in between.
And it was bearable. But not for long, so as I said, I gave up.
This time, however, I found the Couch To 5K app, where you get to pick someone to narrate your runs (I went for the lovely Jo Whiley) and you can listen to your own music, with a few interruptions from Jo to tell you when to run and when to stop.
Yes, I just called her Jo. We’re on first name terms now.
Anyway – long introduction over, I thought I’d tell you about what it’s actually follow this plan through, from the eyes (and legs) of someone who once proudly announced to her Year 10 class that she’d failed PE that term, and who begged her mum to write a note remarking that Hayley was on her period for the third week running and therefore would not be able to join in with PE again.
Jokes on me, lads, because I obviously came on my period on the day I planned my first run of 2019 for.
Week 1 of Couch To 5K consists of running for 60 seconds and walking for a minute and a half alternately for 20 minutes.
Sounds easy, right? HAHAHAHA.
I stuck to my promise to Elliot – I dropped him off and then set off to do some exercise. However, I forgot that all the parents that I normally avoid in the playground would now see my hefty frame jogging around.
And I panicked.
And I wanted to just go home, curl up on the sofa and watch a Shane Dawson video.
BUT. Instead I headed out of the back gate of the playground, wandered around a few streets where I couldn’t see anyone before heading off in the vague direction of my house.
And then the time came for my first run..jog..okay, power walk. Somehow, I found myself fighting past that voice in my head that says “You look like a bloody idiot. Who do you think you are? Someone who can actually do exercise? Everyone that looks at you is going to absolutely wet themselves laughing thinking YOU can do this?”
I put one foot in front of the other and actually jogged for the sixty seconds.
I cannot stress enough – it sounds like nothing. But it’s tough. And it’s okay to admit that it’s tough when the last exercise you did was lunging for a buttered piece of toast that your child nearly dropped on your freshly hoovered carpet.
Somehow the rest of the run passed by in a haze of me nosing at whether everyone else’s recycling got taken that morning and a medley of Fall Out Boy’s greatest hits and before I knew it – it was time for my 5 minute cool down walk.
So obviously, I aimed that walk back up the hill, into the Co-Op, bought some milk and went straight home for a celebratory cup of tea.
You have to repeat each run three times, which sounds absolutely dire. BUT I’ll tell you a secret.
It gets easier. You might even find yourself wanting to go out for a jog.
That little voice that says people will be peeking through their curtains to laugh at you does go away eventually.
And before you know it, it’s time for week 2.
I’ll let you know how that one goes.