When I first came up with the topic for this post, I was convinced that it would be fully positive and I’d be gearing up for a great race to happen on the Saturday. Unfortunately, however, this is not going to be the case as last Tuesday, while on my final run before the big day, I twisted my ankle and went down, fast. Bruised and in pain, I had to hobble back home. I then changed the date of my Race for Life run because I knew there was no way I’d have been able to run on my ankle on that Saturday. I still haven’t run on my ankle but am planning to do so tonight to see how it goes but I’m worried and sad as I’m fairly certain I may not be able to run the 10K which I have been training for since February. But I promise to let you all know how it goes.
As I don’t want this to be a Boo Me post, I will talk about my training and how well I was doing and how proud of myself I was and hope that my words may be able to help someone who may find it a bit of a struggle to keep motivated and moving.
The Couch to 5K
When I first started running in 2009, I did so because I stumbled across the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts. I thought they looked simple enough and so I tried them out. It took me a while to get started, I’d make it to a certain week and then get busy at and then feel incapable of starting where I left off and so returned to week one or week two. I finally finished the podcast in 2012 but I never continued with it further and went straight back to the old routine. Then in February I decided to up my game and try to run 10K instead of the 5K I had always trained for. So this time I knew I needed to get to the end of the podcast, No excuses.
I started at around week 4 because I had been running previous to that quite well. Then I got a knee injury (unrelated to running but it did halt my progress) and was struggling to walk, let alone run. A week later things were looking up so I went back to week 4 and tried again. Then I continued through the weeks as I should have done at the start. After I set a date for the 10K with my sister, I realised that I needed to up the ante a little bit and so instead of doing three runs the same, I started only doing two until I finally reached week 9. I can not tell you how proud I was to reach the stage where I could run 30mins without stopping. However, I soon found that wasn’t even 5K so I still had a long way to go.
Getting Past the Podcasts
Without the podcasts, I had to find a new way to get myself running for longer distances. There are many ways to achieve this but I decided that I would increase my running time by three minutes. At first, I continued doing the same run twice and then changing it but as we got closer and I had a few missed days under my belt, I changed my tack and increased it by three minutes each run. The minute that I reached 5K, I grinned like an idiot. It took me 45minutes at a pace of 8.32mins per KM but I was doing it. When I ran for an hour without stopping, I was exulted. Never in all my life did I think I would be able to manage that.
Then when I reached 7K, I realised that I was rapidly running out of time before I needed to be running 10K. So I changed my training again and decided instead of increasing my time, I would increase my distance. So I aimed to increase by 0.5km for each run. I made it to 8K but then I had a bad day and only managed to make it to 3K before I had to stop. This left one run before the race and 2K to cover. So, having heard that it is sometimes better not to run the distance before the main event, I decided to run to 9k on my final run before reaching 10K.
But, as mentioned above, instead of reaching 9K, I ended up injuring myself within the first kilometre. But I think, even if I don’t manage to run the full 10K on Sunday, I am still staying proud of myself because I made it to 8K and one hour and fifteen minutes of running without stopping. A feat which I never in a million years thought I would ever achieve.
So today I am going on a run to test my ankle and then on Sunday I will be faced with my first ever 10K run and only time will tell if I’ll be able to run the whole thing.
My Advice To You
If you’re a new runner, or a mediocre runner, I just wanted to give you some small tips that I came across along the way. What you eat will affect your running. If you want to keep your energy up, carbs the day before (if you run in the morning) or the day of (if you run in the evening) will help your performance as your body will burn this to keep itself on track. Protein after your run will keep your energy levels high and stop your body from completely crashing. And, if you’re running for longer than an hour it is adviced to have carbs while you run, which for me meant drinking Lucozade Sport. This will replace the things you lose in your sweat while you run.
Everyone has bad days and bad runs. Even professional athletes will have a run which isn’t up to their speed but just don’t let the bad run stop you from getting back out there. If you feel you need to, take a few days off and then get back onto the horse again. Don’t let a bad run define you.
Endurance is key. In the NHS Podcasts it definitely teaches you how to build up your endurance but the idea is that even if you feel yourself flagging, to continue running just a little bit further. Slow your pace down but don’t stop completely. This will help you in the long term as you increase your time and speed.
Stretch before and after your runs and always have a warm up walk (5mins) and a cool down walk (5mins). This is to allow your muscles to deal with the different temperment you put them through and stop them from pulling and to lessen the chance of causing an injury.
And, if you can help it, avoid paths where the pavement isn’t flat or you may end up twisting your ankle like I did.
But most importantly, don’t give up. Have some faith. I am certain that you’ll reach the end of the podcast and feel triumphant. But even if you don’t, feel proud of yourself because you’re not sitting on that couch anymore.
That’s all from me today.
Wish me luck for Sunday maybe?
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