I was never a runner. It’s hard to believe I am now, but I have just finished a Couch to 5k (C25k) plan, and can run for a full 30 minutes! This is the second time I have done this plan. (My first time was a few years ago, before my wedding, but I didn’t keep it up.) Jogging has three main attractions- it’s free, all you need to get started is a pair of runners, and it gets results! I figured it was the best way to get back into shape after having a baby- I could do it with baby in tow, at a convenient time and with minimal expense. So I started again…. Here are seven tips I have learned along the way:
Find a good Couch 2 5k programme You can find them online, on podcasts, apps, and in books and magazines… I used the NHS Couch 2 5k programme, which consisted of 9 weeks worth of podcasts. Laura, the narrator, told me when to walk and when to run, as well as giving tips and motivation.
As well as listening to the podcasts, I would use an app like Map My Run or Endomondo to track my progress. This is a real motivator as you can see how many calories you burn after each work out and see your distance increasing as the weeks go on.
- It’s just a light jog C25k programmes usually start with interval training- walking for a bit, then jogging for a bit. The girl on my podcast often said, “Remember, its just a light jog”. I found this really helpful to remember as it took the pressure off.
- Route It’s good to vary the route. This comes naturally as the weeks go by and you are running further. If you are running on a treadmill, why not run outside? If you are already running outside, why not try a lap of the park instead of sticking to the pavement. Sometimes I go for a short drive and run somewhere beautiful, like a nature park or the beach. Changing the scenery mixes things up. Variety is the spice of life, right?
Equipment The first time I did a C25k programme, I knew by week 4 – 5 that I was going to stick with the programme, so I invested in some trainers, fitted at a specialist running shop. This made the word of difference to my feet.
The second time I started the C25k, I would bring baby T along with me. I didn’t need a special buggy for the first few weeks as the running distance was short and I was slow… again, when I knew I would stick it out, I bought a second hand jogger buggy online.
- Take a break I began to enjoy running so much I wanted to run consecutive days. However, it is really important to give your muscles a rest and chance to recover, and avoid injury. Why not do something else with that energy? Go for a walk, or a swim…
- Prayer Initially, I started praying when I was looking up a big hill, praying a decade of the rosary to get me to the top! Towards the end of the C25k, I found that jogging was a good way to incorporate prayer into my routine. Now, I often pray a whole rosary during my jog. And I offer up any suffering! Its also a good way just to get some head space and think about any ideas / problems or figure out what’s for dinner!
- Believe in yourself I am not a natural-born runner. I will never forget the time I ran for two minutes for the first time and looked back on the distance I had covered. I had a real sense of achievement! C25k programmes are designed to build you up gradually, minute by minute, not drop you in the deep end with a 30 minute run. I trusted in the programme and believed in myself. If I had a bad run, I wouldn’t beat myself up- a bad run is better than no run. If I didn’t feel ready to move on to the next week, I would repeat the week. By recognising your progress and believing in yourself, you can do it!
I finished the Couch 2 5k plan this week and I have already set myself a new goal- a 10k run in two months. Watch this space!
Would you like to take up jogging, but have a question? Or, are you a already a runner and have a comment or tip? I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks to Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum for hosting 7 Quick Takes. For more quick takes, head on over there!