If you read my New Year's Resolutions post, you'll know that number two on the list was running more regularly. Having nosed my way through plenty of other people's new year resolutions I've found that loads of you also plan to run in 2015- whether that's taking it up as a complete beginner, or pushing yourself to run further, faster or take on a challenge like a marathon.
As I mentioned in that post, I'd actually already laid some of the foundations for this last year - I treated myself to some new running clothes and figured out a good route to take. I got into running a bit more regularly in about September/ October time but moving away for placement and general end of term fatigue got in the way a bit so I didn't run for quite a few weeks.
There are loads of people out there with great running series on their blogs, plus lots of my friends and coursemates are pretty dedicated runners and this is all great motivation to run. But what really inspires me is when I find someone who I can really relate to. Someone at a similar level and experience to myself. So I thought I'd document my own running every now and again in the hope that someone out there will relate to it too! My aim is to be completely honest and hopefully inspire some confidence in other people.
At school I was probably a lot fitter than I am now and I wasn't a bad runner at all. I was probably a bit of a bad friend on cross country day in PE - promising on the start line to stick with my friends and all run together, but then sprinting off to somewhere near the front as soon as we all started! I also ran for my school cross country team on a few occasions. So the ability is there somewhere, it just got lost along the way.
In order to get back into running, it was really a case of getting rid of all my excuses and simply just getting on with it. It's taken about two years to really sort them all but I'm pleased I did!
Excuse 1: "But I don't have decent footwear. I'll wreck my feet/knees..."
Solution 1: Buy decent running shoes! Actually, mum bought them for me on the condition that I actually use them.
Excuse 2: "I don't have proper running clothes. Everyone else round here does..."
Solution 2: Buy running clothes. Yes they were expensive. But this just made me more determined to actually get good value from them. I don't know about other people, but certainly at uni/ in central Bristol pretty much every runner you see is in fancy running kit. It's not an essential - at home I'd happily run in just tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt so long as they weren't too warm - but it was an excuse I was making for myself!
Excuse 3: "I don't know any good routes..."
Solution 3: I went running with friends who did! There's a nice 5km loop with a downhill bit at the crucial time. It's also not hard to look online and find routes or just plan them yourself.
Excuse 4: "I can't run more than a few minutes before stopping..."
Solution 4: Again, running with other people and sticking on some music (something I'd never tried before weirdly!) was good motivation to keep going a bit longer and actually I realised that I was stopping for absolutely no reason because I was physically able to go a lot further than I thought. After that, I decided to try and keep running regularly to see an improvement, rather than sporadically deciding to go, seeing no improvement and just being disappointed.
So with all that sorted out last year, it should be much easier now to keep to this resolution! And today was the first run of 2015. A gentle 5km in about 35 minutes. I've spent about a month not running and not even having to do any great amount of walking, so my current fitness level isn't especially good. And I'll be honest, I did have to slow to a brisk walk for a couple of minutes at about the 3km mark for a few minutes. But I just reminded myself of a quote I'd spotted on Pinterest - "No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch" - so long as you're trying, it counts as something and it's much better than not trying at all! There were other moments I almost stopped, but then spotted other runners and it gave me just that little bit of a boost of determination to keep going. And at the end, I was pleased and felt much better for having done it. Not only does running make me feel fitter, it also helps improve my circulation in my hands and feet and makes my skin even out and glow much better than any make up could! (Once I've cooled down, obviously. I might be lucky enough not to resemble a tomato after exercise but no one looks their absolute best at right that moment in time...)
I'll wrap it up there, but do leave me a comment if you liked this post!