Get me in the photo there!! Yes, I am wearing shorts. Dear God this fact alone is worthy of the 9 o clock news. Who could have possibly thunked it. Barely 17 weeks ago I was swaddled up like I was Mother Mary Bernadette Therese, terrified that anyone might see me wheeze my way around a couple of Km in those very early first steps on the road to – well jogging on the road.
I knew I was out of shape – I mean really out of shape. And I knew I wasn’t a born runner, not in a million years, and I knew I wasn’t going to like it much. I was right, I didn’t.
However in order to make the transition from slob to jogger easier, I decided I would do the run/walk. The earliest ratio was to run for 30seconds and ostensibly walk for 60 seconds – that very first session I did actually transpired that the walk went on far longer as recovery was slow and by the third lot of 30 second jogs, I realised just how long a road of hoeing I was going to be doing. So much snot and saliva as I tried to breathe and move at the same time.
The early aim was to keep moving. And that meant the run/walk regime, which I stuck to like glue, was honestly the only thing that was going to get me past the initial shock to my system and I changed the ratio as time progressed.
I found I would reduce the walk bit, only to find I had to increase it again when I stepped up the run bit. To me, development seemed inordinately slow. And in retrospect it was. I have no problem with that – but I think I had thought somehow I might improve quicker than I did.
My husband, an experienced runner and marathon veteran dissed the programme, saying, ‘just get on with it.’ But I knew I couldn’t.
Only I started to get fed up. It was true, I certainly needed an early rest break when I first started off on any run route (especially as I was running in very cold morning air often – and that affected my breathing) – but once I was warmed up, I was starting to feel that the walk break altered my natural rythmn.
But I stuck to the stop watch. For about 15 weeks.
At that point I was moving for an overall 5km distance with a run/walk ratio of 140secs/30secs.
But I was starting to feel annoyed with myself. Which is when I started to google search how to stop the run/walk.
I came across a guy who said all joggers who do the run/walk approach, eventually start to angst about quitting the walk – and after reading his advice, I decided I would not take my stop watch on my very next run, and ditch my trusty regime. Instead, I would just run until I couldn’t run any more, and then I would allow myself a walk. I would use way points along my routes and try to aim for those as a means of keeping me going.
My very next run was my home route – and I promised myself a rest if I ran from our village to our next door village – about 1km away. I decided that if I started to feel the need for a walk, I would first slow my pace right the way down and hopefully get enough respite to see me through.
I ran a small route. I tried to pick the way points in advance, although I was prepared to be generous to myself, this wasn’t designed to be a pass/fail test.
I ran 1.56 km none stop from my front door to the pub in the next door village.
I took a breather whilst I took my fleecy top off – you won’t believe how absolutely zinging I was at this feat of brilliance!
I then ran 600m – the gradient started to increase and I realised I was going to need more breaks sadly, but still this was a massive improvement on the 140sec/30sec I had been doing prior.
I then ran 800m- this was hard going, because it climbed steadily and I was seriously knackered once I reached this end point. I needed a few minutes to just breathe.
I then ran 1.08km on the homeward stretch – this was punctuated by a couple of brief stops as I was running on the road and had to move for oncoming traffic.
However the sense of achievement that this run imparted was close to what I felt post child birth. I was sooo proud of myself. I had cracked my reliance on the watch.
Since then I have adopted this approach on all my runs, the breaks are still there, but I try to push myself just that teeny bit further each time, and I am relieved to find myself actually running some real distance.
It’s slow. But I don’t care.
It’s painful but oh so worth it 🙂