If you said to me 5 years ago that 2017 will be the year I'll run 15k I'd have smacked you. Why would you even mock me like that?! I ain't no runner, I hate running just as much (or even more) than mushed up hot spinach with cream on top (yes, Czech people do eat that, bleurgh). You mean little thing!
Fast forward to February 2017 & I'm trotting around in my little Nike trainers like there's no tomorrow. Why? I don't really know. It just happened. Partially I blame that PR lady behind the Color Run that gave me press tickets for it 2 years ago, partially I'm convinced I fell over and hit my head real hard because this is so out of character that even my parents suspect I'm making it up because their child would never ever do that. Maybe it's like spinach after all - once you get older you grow into liking it when it's done YOUR WAY (definitely not mushed up, hot & with cream).
🏃🏻 Why's running the absolute worst?
I find it very difficult. It rips my lungs apart. Every. Single. Time. It gives me dead sore ankles and hips - that kind of pain that wakes you up at night. It makes me feel like I'm on the verge of death when I'm running up a hill - why do hills even exist? What are they good for?! And good trainers that don't ruin your feet are expensive. I mean bloody hell, why you so expensive?!
🏃🏻 So why do I keep doing it?
It makes me feel strangely happy. An hour of running makes me feel like even if I don't do anything else for the rest of the day I haven't completely wasted it. It gives me salty beach hair without a holiday in sight. It makes me feel like I can do something that I deemed utterly impossible. You know when you were a kid and you thought you could do absolutely anything if only you tried hard enough? And then you grew up and realised that not everything is actually possible (e.g. eating pizza for dinner every night and getting that promotion you've wanted for 5 years). Reaching into the deepest weakest parts of self and dragging yourself up that bloody steep hill makes you feel like EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE again.
I ran 15k. And if I can do it, so can you.Last Sunday I went out to try and run my second 10k run ever. I tried it on a treadmill before and it was long. And boring. But then the week before last I tried it outside and it wasn't all that bad. I was absolutely shattered for a few days afterwards but it made me feel like an actual superhero. So I decided that in summer I'd run a 10k race for charity. But it didn't feel right to commit to it unless I knew I could do it again (you know - just confirming it wasn't just a glitch in the universe). So we went out to the Cannock Chase and we ran (FYI, Shaun did a casual Sunday half marathon because he's a boss). By the time I did 10k I thought I wasn't too tired so I carried on for a little bit. Before I knew it I hit 15k! WHAT.
🏃🏻 How to run your first 15k?
👊🏻 Pick a beautiful location - one that will keep your mind occupied and that will make you feel safe (it's the worst when you have to concentrate on not getting run over by a car)
👊🏻 Get a decent pair of shoes - definitely NOT a pair of Primark trainers. I've learnt this the hard way (running on what felt like bare feet).
👊🏻 Get a running app - Map My Run or Strava are the ones I'm using - leave your Strava handle in the comments below if you'd like to be Strava friends!
👊🏻 Find someone who knows how to run and ask them how to do it properly (breathing, mainly breathing)
👊🏻 Eat a little about 1.5-2 hours before running. Many people say they run better on an empty stomach but I have experienced a post-running exhaustion depression (I was running on empty for too long) and it sucked. It bloody sucked.
👊🏻 Aim for less - rather than being discouraged by running less than what you set out to do surprise yourself!
👊🏻 It's okay to stop or walk - when all you can see is dark dots floating in front of you and your chest is on the verge of implosion - just stop and take a breath.
I hope this has inspired some - and proved that even though we have grown out of the invincible way of looking at the world we used to have as kids, there are always little things that we can do to get that feeling back every once in a while.