Can I call myself a runner now?

I am one of those people that the word ‘obsessive’ applies to. When I find a new interest, I get very excited and learn all I can about it; talk about it constantly; practice it as much as possible… only to become bored of it within one to two weeks.

This can be applied to many things in my life: the Brownies (I attended one session), my wish to join the Navy (LOL), choirs, university, Zumba… it’s fair to say that when I tell people I’ve started something new, they know to not expect much.

There are, however, a few things I have stuck at. I finally got my degree (6 years after I embarked upon that journey), I was a member of am dram for 2 years (until the ‘drama’ got to be too much: literally) and I am in my second year of Swedish classes.

So, needless to say, when I started trying to run, I thought I’d keep it on the downlow. Nothing is worse than having to admit defeat after you’ve told everyone about your new passion.

Nicola and running are not two words that traditionally go together. I was one of the very few kids in high school who never completed the mile challenge. I’m pretty sure I could have done it, but I gave up. Ever since then, the only times I’ve ran have been when being made to have organised fun in adult rounders games.

But I got bored of not having a structured exercise programme. I am one of those people that needs a routine, and my typical gym repertoire was not fulfilling that need. Zumba aggravated my neck problems. Swimming aggravated my knee problems (and gave me orange hair). I quit the 30 Day Shred when I somehow hurt my back. I despise the Cross Trainer with a fiery passion, and bikes hurt my bum. So a few months ago I tried running at the gym, and I lasted the fabulous total of three minutes.

It’s now 7ish weeks later and I can run 22 minutes at 7.5km/h. Not bad, hey?!

I started the c25k (couch to 5k) programme, which I believe was set up by the NHS. I did some research, and there were people twice my size and twice my age (and more!) doing it, which sort of embarrassed me into giving it a go. I downloaded an app instead of the podcasts (I am not one of those that responds well to ‘motivational’ speeches, which the podcasts are apparently peppered with), popped my music on, and away I went.

It’s hard work, I’m not going to say it isn’t. Sometimes I hate it. Most of the time, though, I really enjoy it. I don’t think I will ever run 5k in 30 minutes (which is the plan’s aim) as I am short and running at 10km/h is so not happening. But the distance isn’t the point; the endurance is.

There are two weeks left of the programme, dedicated to get you to running a solid 30 minutes. I’m only 8 minutes away from that. It’s totally doable.

I think what sets running aside from other forms of fitness I have tried is that it’s very easy to review your progress; especially on a treadmill. Last week, I ran 20 minutes at 7.5km/h but for the last 5 minutes I dropped off to 7. This week I refused to slow down. And that feeling of accomplishment is fantastic for someone who is so used to quitting things halfway through.

I don’t see me ever running marathons, or even running outside (I’m so unobservant that I would probably get run over by a car. It’s in my best interests to stay off the roads). But to know that I can do this and to see my fitness and endurance improve so much in under 2 months is seriously exciting.

So if this blog post has given you any longing to be able to run after a bus without looking like a prat, here are some links:

The NHS’ c25k page, including podcasts
c25k forums
The app that I use
The Nike+ website, which is one of the best motivational tools I have ever come across

think I might be able to tell people I ‘run’ now. I might even be able to call myself a ‘runner’. I shan’t get too carried away though. I know what I’m like 😉

Nikki x

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