If you had said to me one year ago that I would be losing weight, starting running and having to spend hundreds on new clothes I would have laughed you out the door.
And yet, as I approach one year on my weight loss program I have lost 4 stone 10 pounds (66lb or 30kg), I have had to purchase a whole new wardrobe (and will have to do so again if I lose too much more weight) and, part way through the Couch to 5K (link to NHS Choices C25K) running program, I can (interval) run 5k in around 35 minutes.
I have purchased “proper” running shoes – Saucony Guide 10, more running tops than I know what to do with and this morning I ran an extra run. Yes, I broke the program and instead of having a rest day today, I completed Week 5 Day 3 (referred to as “hell day” amongst those on the program) for the third time. Week 5 Day 3 (W5D3) is the first real milestone for any C25K runner. Now you understand why I say I lost my marbles!
The thing about rest day though is that it’s all a mental block. When you start the program (W1D1) you’re running for just sixty seconds. You then get to walk for sixty seconds and then run for sixty seconds again. That is hard enough for most people at the beginning. They will finish their run, boast about it on Facebook or Reddit (R/C25K is a fantastic sub by the way) and then start looking at what’s coming. Okay, week two is ninety seconds run, two minutes walk. Week three, week four are similar, and day one and two of week 5 are not too bad. You feel like you might just about manage it, then you notice day 3:
What the actual ***??? There’s no way that I will manage that!
This is where it becomes all mental. You have spent five weeks training for this moment. Physically you ARE ready. Mentally though, twenty minutes might as well be an hour. Or four.
Now, here’s the thing. I was supposed to run W5D2 last Wednesday. I was a little distracted as I was heading out the door, pressed the start button on the NHS C25K app (Link to NHS iOS app) and out I went. It was only when Jo Whiley said “you’ve been running for five minutes, keep going” that I realised that I was running the bastard D3. I could do nothing about it without screwing with the app, losing tracking and starting again, so, I kept going. I ignored the tracking, took the encouragement from the app and listened to some awesome tunes as distraction. And I did it!
Completely by accident I had completed hell day.
To get me back on track I needed to do it again on Friday. So I did. (link to the Strava tracking) In new running shoes. And I set a new PR for half mile, 1km and mile. When compared to people that have been running a while the times were crap, but, this is me. Ex 18 stone sedentary smoker ran a mile in 9 minutes 16 seconds.
Then I ran it again on Sunday morning. Yes, that’s three times I have completed the so called hell day. It’s all mental. Get over it, get your runners on, stick some music in your ears and go do it!