Couch to 5K (in 9 long and painful weeks). That is the name of the programme I am following, minus the bit in parenthesis of course but I wanted to give you the full picture!
So I am on week 3. My calves are like knots of steel and my achilles tendons are the length of those of a small field mouse. And just for added excitement, my elbow joints are killing me. If nothing else, running has woken up a few parts of my body that have been snoozing for the last, I don't know, 30 years!
But, did you hear, I AM ON WEEK 3 (That is me shouting in a celebratory fashion!) I am so proud of myself, if that's allowed, me being a very self-deprecating English girl!
Now for some of you seasoned athletes who think nothing of doing an easy half marathon in your lunch hour, you may be subduing a smirk right now. Listen, iron men, you may well pooh pooh my meagre 5K but let me tell you, for of some us lesser mortals, this is a big deal.
This is my Everest, my New York Marathon, my Inca trail.
You see I like to think of myself as an indoor athlete. I am happiest in a studio, with no eneven terrain to deal with, no inclement weather to battle through, no route to navigate. Give me a yoga mat or a pair of dance sneakers and I can keep up with the best of them. I am also well aware of my limitations, so when I set my goal to become a runner (And I use that word in its loosest possible sense!) I knew I would need help. Low and behold after trawling the internet for about, I don't know, 3 seconds I had a veritable smorgasbord of different training schedules to choose from. I immediately scratched the Marathon training schedules and the 10K programmes ( I am not mad!) and settled upon The Couch to 5K Running Plan. Mainly because I like the name. It made me feel like you could be the biggest sofa slob in the world and yet still stand a chance of running your butt round 3.1miles. And I figured, I am pretty fit and healthy, should be a breeze! So the deal is, you have to do 3 sessions a week each of between 25 and 32 minutes, working up from running for just one minute to running for 30 minutes straight.
How hard can it be, really?
Weeks one and two were totally excellent. I was mainly in awe that I could actually run! The best part is that John cycled next to me for support like we were Rocky and Mick, and he added words of encouragement along the way, like "Your bottom is definitely getting smaller" and " Move it fatty!"
The end of week two and the start of week three happened to be when I was on a ship so I headed up to the gym in between sun bathing and drinking cocktails (so rubbish being in 80 degree weather in November!) and ran on the treadmill. Just a little tip from the pro...don't do that! It is SO much easier to run on the treadmill, you see, it's the indoor thing again! No wind in your face, no pot holes to dodge, just a lovely bouncy surface and a TV to watch! The next two training sessions on dry land, since making that elementary mistake have been killer...and the most I have had to run in one go is only 3 minutes!
I have also realised that route planning is not my forte. At the end of my last run we found ourselves 3 miles from home. I had done my programme and was not running a step more, so I hopped on John's handlebars and he cycled me home all the while singing, "Raindrops keep falling on my head" while all I could think was, "How the bloody hell am I going to make it through week 4?"!
But never fear freedom lovers, I am up for the challenge. This modest 5K training will not be the breaking of me. I am armed with my Nike Pegasus trainers, my stop watch and my trusty sidekick and nothing is going to stop me...unless it snows a bit when I get back to Blighty for Christmas and then I may have to postpone!
Namaste running buddies!
PS Here is a great site for a few yoga poses to help stretch out your hard working body after a run: http://www.iyogalife.com/slideshows/slideshows/The_10_Best_Poses_for_Runners.php#1