Like many people approaching middle age I have taken up running. Charlie Brooker’s written about it, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal has just published a great comic (and coined a wonderful new phrase), so here’s my go.
I’ve been “stocky” since my teens, and despite generally healthy eating and occasional spells of gym membership, I’ve never really managed to shed it.
In 2011 I started running more regularly using Runkeeper to track my activity, with a fair few miles under my belt in June and July, and a reasonable time of 30mins or so for a 5k. Sadly, that soon tailed off, mainly due to the fun of a baby, house move and a new hobby of decorating. Last May I did the Moonwalk with my wife, and so I told myself that running would be the wrong exercise for training. Over the rest of the year, runs were sporadic, occassionally slightly faster at 28 min but not consistently.
Shifting up a gear
The turning point came in January, when I decided to try out one of the Runkeeper training plans, mainly to lose weight, but also to start aiming for a 10k race some day. This was over 8 weeks, starting off with some steady runs every other day at a pace where you can converse, then gradually increasing the time for those. Steady runs were alternated with more intense workouts: interval training (several cycles of fast then slow), tempo (just out of comfort zone) and fartlek (pretty random!). The steady runs remained comfortable as they increased, but the intense workouts pushed me each time – just enough, without being absolutely exhausted afterwards.
By the end of the training plan, I’d run a Parkrun race in a reasonable time, and actually completed the 10k distance a couple of times, so my next aim was for half-marathon, with a steady increase towards the summer. In March I did a cross-country run with a friend who’d was training for the London Marathon, and that ended up being around 13km, again a reasonable time when someone is keeping you going.
I was starting to get into the longer, easy runs, and was seeing a lot of London at night. In April I did a couple more long runs, 15k and 20k, without much planning so I was able to shrug off the minor niggles for each and learn from these. E.g. not enough water, knee twinge, blisters because of wrong socks. So I’m confident that I’ll be able to do the distance, and in a respectable time if I train properly.
Target in sight
I have approximately 10 weeks now until the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October, where I’ll be running to raise at least £500 for Child Bereavement UK. I will be writing more over the next few weeks here about that charity, my training progress and a few thoughts about the threshold concepts in running.
In the meantime if you’ve just stumbled across this blog and want to make a donation, you can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/DTW2013 or by text: send the code DTRC81 and your donation amount to Vodafone Justtextgiving. E.g. “DTRC81 £5″ to 70070.