Thursday, 8 December 2016

5 Miles Is Easy (Now).

Image result for Woman Half Marathon Running Quotes


I remember thinking, when I decided three months ago that I would do the Winchester half marathon next year, what an enormous task lay ahead. At that point, I hadn't run further than three miles and the idea of doing 13.1 was daunting. I really did doubt that I'd be able to do it. It felt like a challenge too far. But training and determination change your ability and therefore your perception of what you're capable of. They give you the confidence to have a different view so that what once appeared difficult becomes achievable.

Preparation makes all the difference. I'm now ten weeks in to my thirteen week 10k training programme (including having two out for illness) and I'm running eight miles without really noticing it. The 10k at the end of December (which was to be a staging post to judge how my running was going and whether I'd be up to doing a half marathon) I'm barely thinking about because I already know it won't be a problem, and I'm looking forward to the five mile race we're doing this weekend for the same reason. Three miles has become insufficient for my regular run, and next week I'll be extending it to six. The one ten miler I clocked up before the flu hit, although hard work for the last two miles, was doable and I know with more training I'll be able to make that a regular distance. Once you've done ten miles, thirteen starts to look within your reach, and that is a good place to be, mentally.

The point of telling you all this is to encourage anyone reading this who'd like to start running or wants to try a marathon or a half but lacks the confidence because they think they won't be good enough/ it's too hard/ they'd never be able to/ other people do it better. And also to encourage those of you who have started running but aren't sure where you're going with it. You really don't know until you set yourself a challenge what you are capable of doing. The trick is to start small and work your way up, do it steadily and don't worry if you have an off day when nothing seems to work.

And who cares what other people think? I ran past a group of workmen yesterday and one of them smirked as I went by. In the past I might have felt intimidated, but knowing you can run ten miles without collapsing in a heap at the end gives you an inner buzz of satisfaction and a certain sense of steeliness. I found myself thinking: when you're running too, buddy, then you can smirk at me, but while you're walking and I'm running, don't (he wouldn't have smirked had he been running, because runners don't do that to each other). I gave him my best Paddington Stare as I went by and he had the good grace to look down :o) Channel that my dears if anyone smirks at you when you're out running!

M has been instrumental in helping me improve, by setting tough targets and treating them as if they were not out of the ordinary, or particularly challenging. He does congratulate me afterwards by saying that was quite a tough one, or, I was a bit naughty and set that harder than it could have been, but only because I know you can do it. He doesn't mollycoddle me which is what I need. At the end of Parkrun he runs the final stretch yelling at me to push on and go faster, because I have asked him to. If he started making soothing noises and saying nearly there, love that wouldn't help at all. You need to harness aggression and adrenaline at the end of a race when you're tired and other people are trying to overtake you, and someone shouting at you telling you to keep going helps with that. I grew up riding horses and every riding instructor I ever had was tough, straight-talking and no-nonsense because you can't afford to be less than 100% committed when you're competing on horseback. I guess that approach has stayed with me and I respond well to it.

Yesterday we met up at M's office to go for a lunchtime run together. I'd just assumed it would be a three miler and was a little taken aback when he said oh no, I thought we'd do five and set off.

Anyway, we did it and it was fine and I felt good afterwards. When I was tired, I walked, when I wasn't, I ran. We got back in around 45 mins which was a lot quicker than I'd expected and works out at 9 minute miles, which is OK for off road (and for someone who was a little tired after running the day before).

And this is my point really: you can run however you want to. You don't need to run all the miles, or set a fast pace unless you want to. To be a runner and to get all the wonderful benefits that come with this free and straightforward exercise you just need to start. Who knows what you might achieve?

CT.




32 comments:

  1. I do admire the way you have stuck at it to achieve your aims. My son was a fell runner up here in the Dales for many years but his knees began to trouble him, so he has bought a mountain bike and now goes out on that instead.

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    1. Big respect for fell runners (and mountain bikers too, come to that). Years ago I was struggling to walk up a steep hill in the Lakes and a woman appeared, ran straight past me and ran on up the hill like it was flat as a pancake. I felt very unfit indeed!

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  2. Your running ability really is a wonderful achievement, you have accomplished so much x

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    1. At least half of it is in making the decision to do it and sticking to it, come hell or high water! x

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  3. It's been lovely reading about your progress each week. I agree that you need someone to set you targets that do stretch you, to gain the distance. As they say no gain without pain. I'm sure the half marathon is in reach. Then a whole one :) B x

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. I'm not sure about a full marathon, that's a very different beast. We'll see how the half goes :o) x

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  4. 131? You mean she would run the extra mile just to kill you?

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    1. 13.1 (half a marathon).

      Have you had your hair cut yet?

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  5. When in my 20s I used to run 30 miles a week. Now in my 50s I run 10 . Knackered joints have taken their toll. The main point is to get out and enjoy yourself and do not worry how slow you go, I was the slowest runner in 3 boat clubs and 1 running club and soon learned that while I enjoyed rowing I was not going to spoil my day trying to catch light limbed sprites. As you are probably not running for vast financial gain go at your own pace and enjoy it, I challenge anyone to run slower than me!

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    1. I agree completely- it's about having fun. There's a guy at our local Parkrun who takes about 50 mins to get round and everyone cheers as loudly for him as for the fast boys who do it in 16.

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  6. Fab post :-) I have signed up for a HM next year (Cambridge), something I never thought I would even contemplate! But it's surprising how far a bit of self-belief will go. Hope the training continues to go smoothly!

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    1. Go, girl! Well done you. Do let me know how you get on :o)

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  7. Thank you for all of your continued encouragement, and well done you, you're doing absolutely amazingly. CJ xx

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  8. Brilliant. I've just been to Winchester, I hope you won't be running up the High Street, it's so steep. x

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    1. Down the High Street but up plenty of other hills! x

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  9. I do find your posts very inspirational. You have come so far and I'm sure that that half marathon will be a breeze for you. I really need to cultivate your Paddington hard stare for when I'm out and about. xx

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    1. Thanks my dear :o) I'm v glad the posts help. I find reading other people's experiences nudges me on to try new things. Paddington Stare- very handy :o) xx

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  10. Well done you, what a great inspiration you are and a great inspiration for yourself too! I hope that all of the runs you are planning go really well and that you enjoy them and the results too!

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    1. Thanks Amy. I hope these posts encourage others to go for new goals in whatever sphere xx

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  11. You seem to be back on form now and building up the running gradually I believe is the answer. M is a great encourager and you're lucky to have him. Keep up the good work and you will achieve the half marathon.

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    1. Thanks Margaret. Training for a competition or certain distance is a funny mix of building up slowly and pushing yourself. It works :o)

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  12. Inspiring stuff, CT. I'm so impressed by your grit and determination. I have stalled recently -I run when I'm happy and feeling on top of things, I slack when I'm overwhelmed by stuff. I will get back in to it. I need to be more disciplined, like you! S x

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    1. It's very easy to get out of the habit when life gets cluttered, but I find running really helps me with that. It's a great stress buster and uplifter so you should def get back to it, girl! :o) xx

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  13. Hey CT,
    I'm now up to 5 miles, and hope to achieve my 6 mile goal by end of Jan. I'm factoring a very busy Christmas, which will most likely get in the way of things. I've changed my goals too. I'm now not arsed about a half marathon. I figure 6 miles, four times a week and a game of badminton and daily dog walks and house stuff is more than enough. I'm thrilled with what I have achieved in such a short space of time. I've surprised myself at how much I enjoy running, how I've stuck at it, how I've pushed through a few psychological barriers - solo running was one - how I can still enjoy the natural world as I exercise, and how my clothes are getting looser! It's given my life a bit of structure, and helping with the black dog that's been snapping at my heels this past month.
    But hoorah for you and all your endeavours!! You should be a life coach! Have a fab werkend.
    Leanne xx

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  14. Hello lovely. You've done amazing things in such a short space of time. You'll be at six miles before you know it and running 24 miles a week is highly respectable, on top of everything else. I was really interested in what you said about running providing life with structure because I feel that too. And the benefits for mental health are right up there as well. Good on you! Xx

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  15. I like your sign at the beginning. Congratulations on always striving for more. I don't think I could run that distance, however, I can walk fast or hike it. I do enjoy your "run stories" very much.

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    1. Thanks my dear :o) Glad you approved of the sign! x

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  16. you're an excellent motivator, my dear. and you're so very right. we can amaze ourselves, can't we?

    so chuffed for your achievements -- am cheering you on!! xo

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    1. Thanks lovely girl. It's always nice to surprise yourself with what you can do when you put your mind to it. xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x