That's not a slip of the keyboard by the way...

G'day all you lovely HU forum folks, Aussie here with a Runiversary report. On the 9th March 2014, I made a decision to get a little bit fitter. I hated gyms and the spring weather in Finland (where I was working) was lovely and there was a lake opposite the hotel with people doing this "running thing". One of my colleagues said "you could do that Aussie"... I laughed (a lot), and then before I knew it, my colleague had downloaded the woman called Laura onto my phone...

I listened to her in bed before my first ever run and thought "60 seconds is a really long time, not sure I'll cope". I really wanted to do something for myself though and the years of burgers and beers needed to stop. Week 1, Run 1 and out I went - on my own, around the block... I thought I was going to expire on the pavement... 60 seconds seemed like forever and by the end I was sweaty and struggling for air, but Laura told me I'd "run for 8 minutes"... and I thought "wow - I've never run that far before and I'm 41 years old"... I reckon I could do that again...

Weeks 1, 2 and 3 went okay and then in about week 4 I got sore knees... I started searching the web for some information as I was still liking this "thing called running", but being in a bit of pain wasn't good and I was struggling with the stairs in the office... I found a group of like-minded people at various stages of doing C25K here on HealthUnlocked and "Aussie was unleashed"... All of a sudden I had a support group, a cheer squad, a medical advice team, motivational speakers and a group of virtual friends to go and run with... This forum got me through the highs of Week 5, Run 3 (20 minutes don't you know) and saw me all the way through graduation... I struggled sometimes with illness, shin splints, tiredness, jet lag and every time I felt I couldn't run another step, you guys told me I could and that this was all normal.. I was fast becoming hooked and settled into a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday run schedule - packing my running gear for Finland and running in rain, snow, and glorious sunshine became the norm. Who would have thought running in the rain could be so much fun?

In June I graduated and celebrated by going to a Parkrun a week later... after 10 weeks of running, I managed a 29:19 on my first ever outing... I was beside myself... I ran the whole way, I felt fitter than I'd ever felt and this "running thing" was very much a part of my life now... My wife and kids were supporting my running and my body was changing now - thinning down, toning up and I felt like a well oiled machine...

Where to from my 5K then? Well, thanks to this forum, I discovered the concept of "the long run" where you have one run a week that's slightly longer than the one before it (sticking to about 10% increases) and although I started on a B210K programme, that had far too much running in it and TurboTortoise and others had mentioned that there "was another way" (the weekly long run) and soon I was settled into that (2 x 30 minute runs and a long run)...

By July I'd worked up to 10K (about a kilometer extra a week) and I ran my first ever 10K along the Thames riverside on a scorcher of a summer day. 1:07:26 - considering the heat and this being my first ever 10K, I was really happy with that.. I'd gone from zero to 10K in 4 months...

I got carried away over summer and logged too many miles, did too many hill repeats and too many speed sessions. I was loving running and I wasn't going to let anything stop me. I was unstoppable! Except I wasn't - and my body wasn't quite ready for what I was asking it to do... The result? Injury couch... Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis and a swollen ankle... Had to cancel some races and I was out of action for weeks... did some cycling but I was in a rut... you guys pulled me out and I lived through you guys and your running while I was on the injury couch!

I was back soon enough and managed an 8.2 miler through Kingston as my comeback race... 13.2K.. the distance was going up.. Following on from that, I re-did the Riverside 10K in Autumn (knocking 6 minutes off my time) and continued to increase my long run...

By around November, I'd signed up for a Half Marathon in February and had given myself some time to train... I ran every day over Christmas (just for fun), managed a super fast 56:22 10K at the London Winter Run (and met loads of you folks) and by Feb 8th I'd pushed my distance out to 14 miles on one of my long runs (and I'd run over 13.1 miles twice)... 2 weeks later I lined up at the Hampton Court Half Marathon and ran non-stop over 13.1 miles (21.1 kms) in just over 2:10... I'd set a goal of "under 2:15" in September so this was an amazing achievement... I'd done the miles, I'd done the training, but without the support of other runners I wouldn't have done it... I don't mean "others I run with" - I love to run alone... I mean my merry band of "virtual runners" - you!

Fast forward to today and on the eve on Week 1, Run 1 being 12 months ago - I ran 15.5 miles (25 km) today on my long run.. hydration belt, sports gels, Garmin watch, heart rate monitors and all the gear! I now know when to push the speed, when to slow down, when to rest and I've just discovered the joy of running without headphones in - a revelation!

Things I wish I'd known before I started running:

1) I wish I'd known about C25K about 10 years earlier!

2) Missing a run might make you feel bad but it won't affect your running future

3) Some days are awesome days, some days you'll wish you stayed in bed (but you'll get out there anyway)

4) Run slow, then slow it down, then go slower during C25K... speed comes later

5) Hills suck - but train on them and they'll help you speed up on the flat...

6) Cross training is really important - strengthen the non-running muscles to reduce strain on them! Cycle, Swim, Row, Lift Weights... it'll also improve your Cardio fitness and your runs will be easier...

7) Distance running is awesome!

Lastly, it never gets easier - but you get stronger!

Thank you HU and thank you C25K for saving my life and showing me that the impossible is absolutely possible... with hard work, dedication and the help of some great advice, some virtual running buddies and a lady called Laura, anything is possible...

Even talking after running 15 miles... :)

Happy running y'all...

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22 Replies

  • Twelve months can make such a difference. Well done Aussie, that is quite a list of achievements. I hope plenty of new runners read this. It was posts like this that made me think it was worth having a go and like you, I can't praise C25k enough.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • What a lovely post and 25km is awesome!!! Great video too, you look very relaxed and calm after running for 2hours and 40minutes. You and JJ make it look so easy these long distances.

  • Fantastic inspiring post Aussie! and 25 k!!! Well done - was out with no headphones today, it is good to hear the birds!

  • What a fabulous report and a great indication of what a difference a year can make. Well done you, fantastic achievement.

  • Nice story. Uplifting stuff. Well done.

  • Great stuff and v.inspirational.

  • Oh Aussie- what a year you have had! Lovely post and video. How many Ks have you covered in total over those 12 months?

    Is a. Station next on the agenda then?

  • I find that so inspiring and can see how my story even at week 7 is similar....thank you for posting and watch out 5k I'm coming!!

  • Fab post aussie. So inspirational. You've done so so well at this running thing and you clearly love it. I hope you have many, many years of injury free running and happy first birthday!

  • Thanks for sharing your running journey. I'm just about to start week 3 of c25k & I'm grateful for advice. So thanks so much & well done you for all you have achieved!

  • Great read and very inspiring post :) Congratulations on a brilliant runiversary!!

  • Aussie, you were one of the forum team who helped me through the trials and tribulations of C25k and beyond. Congratulations on your anniversary and thank YOU for all your support and advice x

  • Happy Runiversary Aussie, you have achieved so much in this first year, I wonder where you will be in March 2016. See you in Richmond in 2 weeks time.

  • Very inspirational, thank you for posting. And even greater things lie ahead of you. Great run today too! It looks like you are just getting warmed up!

  • What a lovely post and what an achievement. It just goes to show what amazing things our bodies are capable of if we give it a bit of support. where next for you, that's the question? Can in see ultras in your future?

  • A really fabulous post, an inspiration to everyone here and on Our FB group. I love the vid, and it's great to read and see how you've progressed...well done you :)

  • Aussie this is a wonderful post. We started c25k at more or less exactly the same time and what you've achieved this year is remarkable: a tribute to your tenacity and drive, and your absolute enthusiasm for running. Very very well done Sweetie, you should be so very very proud of yourself. :)

  • What a brilliant post - I hope every new runner starting out on C25K reads it because you demonstrate just what's possible in 12 months, and you give so much good advice. Inspirational may be a much-overused word, but it is absolutely spot-on in this situation. You have done so well - and good heavens 25k is a LONG way.

  • Amazing inspiring story. Im starting week 8 on tuesday. Will think of your story to keep me going.

  • Wow Aussie what a great post! you tell your running story so well, and have achieved so much in that year-BRILLIANT!!!! And a lovely bloke too! :) long may it continue!!! 25k blimey!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  • Fantastic Aussie :) here's to the next 12 months!

  • Blimey ! A year , where does the time go ? :-)

    Its been a pleasure reading of your progress , Aussie. You have come so far and done brilliantly xxx

    Its been a life changer hasnt it ?

    Thanks for sharing your experience, you are an inspiration to us all, and a top, top guy.

    Congratulations on your 1st Running Anniversary xxx

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