Now I am nearly a "Niner" ( I start week nine tomorrow) I thought I'd use this non- running day to share nine tips from my own experience for those on this incredible C25k Journey . I wonder if others will agree or disagree with them ?
1. LISTEN TO LAURA
I thoroughly recommend the podcasts with the lovely Laura and her choice in music. Yes you will shout and swear at her and beg her to let you to stop (it doesn't work) but she will become your best friend and somehow knows exactly what to say to encourage you at the right time. Her tips in the early weeks are also very useful!
2. DON'T PEEK AHEAD
Don't read ahead what's expected of you on future weeks. Especially week 5. You will panic. Just trust the programme that you won't be asked to do anything you can't manage physically when you get there. Yes, you may need to repeat runs sometimes but that's fine.
3. PLAN YOUR RUNS
Schedule in your runs for the week ahead and try to stick to them. I found planning when I would do the next three runs ( eg after work Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning) worked well and after I did a run I'd check the next two were still Ok and plan a new third. If it's a commitment you are more likely to stick to it whatever the weather and life throws at you!
4, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
I learnt this the hard way . A sharp pain and heaviness in my right leg in week 5 run one and I continued running - led to a calf injury and NINE yes NINE weeks on the injury couch ( plus expensive physio!) if you feel something is wrong when running stop and assess if you should continue and don't take any risks . You may just need another rest day - better than nine weeks I tell you . People started and finished the programme in that time!!
5. WEAR RUNNING SHOES!
Don't run in those old scabby trainers .. Treat yourself to proper running shoes which support your feet. It took me all my courage to walk into a running store and ask them for help , but I had a full gait analysis and got advice on proper footwear which means I have NEVER had sore feet or foot injury when running. Plus, you get to post a photo on the forum and everyone oohs and aahs over them
6. INVEST IN RUNNING CLOTHES
Running clothes - even cheap ones - are fab . They wick the sweet from your body. They have no uncomfy seams or fastenings . They are bright and reflective so you can be seen . They also make you feel like a runner! Plus, once you have spent your hard earned cash on them you will want to wear them! I treated myself to a lurid pink top and capris while on the injury couch (see 4 ) and was determined to get well enough to use them! Oh and ladies - make sure you have a good supportive sports bra!!!
7. REMEMBER IT IS YOUR JOURNEY
c25k is not a race against others . It's a personal adventure ! Don't measure yourself against others- you may need more rest days, you may need to repeat runs, you may be covering less distance ... It's all about YOU and the journey to be able to run for half an hour however long it takes. I started in March . All being well I will graduate next week - five months later!
8. HYDRATE WELL!
Drink plenty of water . Before you run. After you run. On rest days ... You need it ! I haven't been taking water with me on runs though I just bought a hand held water bottle for when I do longer runs, or runs in the heat (a rare event here in Scotland)
9. GO SLOWLY THEN SLOW DOWN
This is a key bit of advice in the forum - as I've said its not a race! It's all about stamina and keeping going so do not run too fast ! If you have energy at the end of a run Laura lets you speed up-(that hasn't happened to me yet) but don't start off too fast or you will tire yourself too quickly ... Slow down then slow down some more !!
Onwards to week nine and thirty minute run tomorrow, on the trail of the graduating musketeers!