Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Couch to 5k? Here’s my advice.

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First of all – good for you! It’s the right decision.

Leaving the couch has so many benefits, I can’t believe I am here, sitting on my couch, blogging.

Why am I not circumnavigating the village, getting my step count up? I could be out there, seeing the sky, breathing the air, feeling the health and wellbeing seeping into my pores…

It’ll be great. If you ever have to run for a bus, you’ll be able to. If you ever need to escape from a weird bloke, you can just leg it. It’ll be great. Schoom! All this without getting three paces, peching and thinking “I can’t run.”

You can in fact run. But, there’s one thing that you have to get right before you even bother to lollop into that first stride.

Ladies, it is all in the underwear. An off the peg own brand sports bra will not suffice. We are talking ROBUST here. SOLIDITY. It’s a strong and stable government that our figures crave, not the coalition of chaos that ill-thought-through underwear brings.

Without the right underwear, you bound into that first stride, and your foot lands, and then the wobble of unfettered weight lands a split second later, swinging you off balance and destabilizing step two. It’s not the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other that’s the issue, it’s the management of the unruly, untamed, soft and dough-like flesh, wherever it happens to pool on one’s body.

Once the underwear is sorted, it’s all about shoes. I’m not so good with the shoes. I should say that you should go to Run 4 It for a gait assessment . I did that and bought some beautiful running shoes, but they took longer than their recommended mileage to actually break in. So, good luck with the shoes.

So, you have your shoes and your bra. Both expensive. Both essential. And then clothes. Take your pick.

Now you are ready to break into a run.

If the target is a 5k, you are building up to running for half an hour without stopping, at a reasonable pace.

The first job is to be active for half an hour without stopping.

You can do it by lampposts: run for two, walk for two – alternate until half an hour has elapsed. Do that three times a week and then run for three, walk for two – alternate until half an hour has elapsed. And so on…

When the lamppost counting gets too tricky, move on to minutes: Run for two walk for two – and then build it up – run for three, walk for two. Get your body used to being active for the length of time you think it would take you run 5k.

Future you will thank present you for making this decision. Future you won’t get breathless going up stairs. Future you will never be late when a wee burst of speed is all that you need. Future you will enjoy the ironic endorphin high that comes with repeated running: everyone hates running; everyone loves ‘having run’.

Plenty of people don’t want to run. Fine.

Many people would love to run but are not medically or physically able.

However, sometimes people want to run and it doesn’t happen and here are my suggestions if any of these reasons are the reason you don’t run:

  1. Time – there’s always the crack of dawn; there’s always last thing at night.
  2. Knees – run on grass – it is kinder to knees than the road.
  3. Weight – Use a fitbit or similar to figure out your calorie intake and calorie burn. Do the math and respond appropriately.
  4. Weight – to lose weight you have to move more. Start moving or your weight trajectory will continue as it is.
  5. Boredom – get a friend to run with you.
  6. Age – It is just a number… but stretch properly at either end of a training run or your calves won’t cope.
  7. Weird idiopathic belief that one cannot run – Deep down this is probably the underwear thing. Honest.

Fancy going for a run?

What’s stopping you?

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