Back in May, I posted THIS blog post all about my journey into running, and I figured we’re a few months down the line, it might be nice to update everyone on how I’m doing/if it’s stuck/what I’m doing with my running legs now.
For anyone who hasn’t read the blog post (or who doesn’t want to haha and just wants a quick summary):
In lockdown, I took up running. I downloaded Couch to 5k and worked my way through the app. I’d go out running on a morning before I had to get my computer switched on for work. It was hard; my lungs and legs hated it. I struggled through. There were some bad runs; there were some brilliant runs. I’ve never seen myself as a runner, but one day I just got out there and ran… my determination and stubborn nature kept me going.
When I wrote the blog post back in May, I was about to start week 5 of Couch to 5k. As I sit here and write this blog post, 2 months later, I finished the whole thing and… the even better news…
I’m still running!
Yep. 5 weeks after finishing the programme, I’m still running. I’m still loving it. It’s still HORRIBLY HARD, but it’s not killing me anymore. It brings me a lot of joy. People are SO WONDERFULLY supportive of me and it helps more than you guys can ever know. Whether you’ve commented/liked/messaged me, it helps. I’m doing this for me, but sometimes we all need that bit of encouragement to know we’re going well! So if you’re one of those people… thank you! You are all brilliant!
(The many faces of me post-run)
I got to the end of Couch to 5k (it’s a BRILLIANT app, so well done… build brilliantly well and I can’t recommend it enough. I might do just a blog post all about Couch to 5k one day!) and I kept running. The last week of the app is 3 lots of 30 minute runs. I think on the very last run I managed 43 minutes (I think!) and I never would’ve managed that without the app.
I downloaded Strava at some point during Couch to 5k to track my runs, purely out of curiosity rather than to be a SERIOUS RUNNER and I find it really helpful. I love seeing how fast I’m going/how far I’ve gone. There’s a wonderful community of teacher runners on Strava and they’re brilliant. They even awarded me Star Runner of the week – ME! STAR RUNNER! RUNNING STAR! LOL. I’ve since subscribed to their subscription service to track things and while I’m still not entirely sure what all of it means, I like being able to set myself goals. I’ve set myself a weekly goal of 12k a week – achievable for me at the minute and I can change if things change!
(Post-run elation… and the obligatory Starbucks treat!)
I finished the Couch to 5k programme quite beautifully the weekend before I went back to work. I wasn’t sure how my body would cope with going back to work AND running, but I made myself get up early before work so I could go for a run (30 mins every Monday, Wednesday, Friday) before work, have a shower and scoot off to work. I initially thought it was WAY TOO AMBITIOUS a plan. Who was I to think that I would be able to work and run? Who was I kidding that I would keep up running when someone wasn’t telling me to do it?
I did it.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday before work (except the very last day of term), I got up at 5:30/5:45, had a cup of tea, put on my running stuff, and took myself off for a run. I was averaging about 2k and a flat run at the beginning of the 5 weeks, but by the end of the 5 weeks, my average was 3k and I was adding hills (both uphill and down – Newcastle is a HILLY PLACE). I even found that I was adding in extra bits of running (running around a little bunch of houses) so that I was getting in more distance in the time of my run.
Don’t get me wrong, there were days I didn’t want to get out of my comfortable bed to go out for a run, but there was never a day where I absolutely didn’t want to get up. There was never a day where I didn’t get up. I just got up and went out. I would plan out my runs the night before (I found a brilliant website which would help me calculate distances… let me know if you want it) so I knew where I was going/how far I was going and didn’t need to worry about that.
That was my during the week runs sorted, but what about a weekend? I used to be the girl who would go out for breakfast every Sunday, but with no breakfast getting allowed and nothing to do, Sunday became my run day: Sunday Runday. On Sunday, I go further distances. Sunday is my 5k+ day. I’ve managed 3/4 5k runs in the past 5 weeks. There have been weeks my legs just haven’t been in it and that’s OK. Last week, I ran 7k. It wasn’t ENTIRELY a run, there was some walking, but I went a brand new route and it was SUNNY as anything. I had planned the route beforehand so I knew it was going to be my longest run ever, but I wasn’t sure if I’d have it in my legs/lungs to run 7k… and I did. I’ve planned an ambitious 10k for the next few weeks (I’m signed up for a virtual 10k so I need to at least attempt it ha!)
Right, I’ve cracked Couch to 5k, what’s next?
I might be a runner now, but my god there is still SO MUCH TO LEARN. I still haven’t really cracked the whole breathing thing. I’m still learning a load of things…
- I don’t NEED to run 5k to be a runner, I just have to run.
- I’m not RACING anyone, I’m just running (I find that I always go out HARD and then remember that if I pace myself I can run further).
- I don’t need to run everyday.
- I’m allowed to go for short runs, and long runs, or some runs in the middle.
- Speed doesn’t matter (I’m a bit of a stickler for things like this…).
- Slow runs are just as valid as faster runs.
I’ve done 2 of the Great Run Virtual challenges. I did the 7k in 7 days challenge when I was in the first few weeks of Couch to 5k, and then I signed up for the 50k in 28 days challenge. I managed both of them! I have 2 gorgeous medals to show for it! I’m currently signed up to their Great Run Solo challenge, which is 40 runs in 78 days (it’s their 40th birthday I believe!). As I write this, I’ve completed 12 of the runs (and ran 46k in total) and I have til September 13th to complete them all. I’m confident I can do it.
I’ve also signed up for the ASICS Virtual 10k (HAHAH). This one scares me a lot because I’m not entirely sure if I can manage it. My 7k this weekend proved to me I’m capable of a lot more than I think I am, but I’m not sure that a 10k is quite achievable RIGHT NOW. We will try nonetheless. I’m not going for a TIME for these runs because I don’t bloody know haha! I’ve planned a 10k route and I’m going to give it a go over the next few weeks. I’ll let you know if I manage it!
I think the biggest challenge for me will be running in the Winter. I’ve been blessed with light mornings so I’ve been able to get out… but I’m not quite sure how it’ll go in the winter. We’ll see.
(Post 7k run last Sunday)
For now, I’m just loving running and getting out there. It’s the Summer holidays now, so I’m hoping to get in a load of runs/running over the next few weeks. Now that we’re allowed to use public transport a bit more freely, I’m going to go to the seaside and run along the coast (I’ve missed the beach a lot). I’m going to keep running my old routes, and try some new ones. I’m going to keep trying to mix it up with some fast and some just well-paced runs. I don’t have a plan I’m following. I’m just enjoying the freedom of running for running sake.
If you’ve got any running questions, I’m happy to answer them. I’m no professional, but I’m happy to give my take on being a runner!