Newbie Runner... well, let's face it, new to exercise, actually

I've just completed the third run of week 6 (the 25 minute one) and I am so amazed at how far I've come since I first took the plunge and downloaded those podcasts.

I'm 41, and have never enjoyed exercise particularly - did a little bit of badminton at school, did judo for a couple of years in my teens, then that was pretty much it. Life was becoming more and more sedentary - especially now my kids are of an age where I don't have to run round after them so much. Hitting 41, and about to start 3 years of study, I realised something had to change.

Having little spare cash available for regular classes or expensive kit, I thought the idea of running was more appealing than other alternatives I could think of - and also the fact that I wouldn't have to travel from my house to somewhere else in order to go and do the exercise - I could run from there. This would mean I wouldn't have to spend time travelling - fitting exercise into a busy work and home life felt like a challenge.

So I googled 'beginners running plan' or something similar - and found the link to the podcasts. I liked the idea of the voice in your ear telling you what to do when, and I liked the fact it was only half an hour at a time. I particularly liked the fact that the initial sessions involved much more walking than running.

I was nervous about starting. I'd had a go at running once a couple of years ago, hadn't warmed up properly, overdone it (although not gone far at all) and my knee had swelled up - it took weeks to get right again. I also knew how unfit I was - although tall and slim in build, I had no stamina and really struggled with believing I could ever run for 1 minute without keeling over. I had also never stuck at any form of exercise as an adult - the best I'd done was swimming once a week for about 4 weeks in a row. I really didn't want this to be another flash in the pan.

I told a couple of friends I was starting the plan. I thought this might make me stick at it if I had to suffer the embarrassment of telling them I'd jacked it in! One of my friends said she'd do it with me - now I had a running buddy. This has made a huge difference - we have kept each other at it when we were tempted to give up when the session feels tough, or skip more days than we should between runs. When one of us has been unable to do one of the runs in a week, the other has repeated a run to allow them to catch up.

I look back now over the past few weeks and I can't believe how differently I feel about exercise. I do feel healthier, my stamina has vastly improved, I have more energy in general, I sleep better, and my wobblier bits are - well, getting less wobbly!

The biggest change for me has been in my attitude. Exercise used to be something I dreaded - or at best did because I knew it was good for me. Now, I look forward to my running days - and I feel a little out of sorts if I can't run when I was planning to. Yes, some sessions have been tougher than others, and there have been several times when my legs seemed to have a mind of their own and it didn't all quite feel like it came together properly, but I've kept going. I don't have big plans to aim for a marathon or anything - I just want to be able to run for half an hour 3 times a week. That will keep me fit, and fit into my lifestyle.

My running buddy and I plan to do the Race for Life at some point to celebrate finishing the C25k plan. But for now... week 7 is calling...

9 Replies

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  • Hello poulet and welcome to the blog site. Congratulations for going 25 minutes! I'm due to do that tomorrow so always pleased to see someone else at my stage.

    I have a similar experience of sport to you - never done anything sporty since leaving school and I'm 51 now. I'm also tall and was reasonably slim until the age of 40 when I stopped smoking and put on about 24 pounds. I was hoping to lose that excess weight with the running but so far only lost about 9. I'm hoping that running 30 minutes three times a weeek will achieve the rest!

    I can't believe how transformed I feel with this programme. All you say is true - and why didn't we do this earlier?! It really seems an ideal, low-cost, natural, enjoyable thing to do. When I tell people about it and they look uninspired I wish I could convince them how incredible a thing it is to run.

    Keep us up to date on how you're getting on. Hopefully we'll graduate around the same time. I'm doing this at the same time as my twin sister(although we live in different countries) and so far we haven't missed a run, but that may of course change.

  • I hope your run went well.. That's so cool you are doing it with your twin, although in different countries. Yes, I too can't believe I didn't get off my bum earlier. I am positively evangelistic about this - especially as I'm the last person I ever thought I would find running... and so I figure if I can do it, so can ANYONE. Good luck and keep going.

  • That's brilliant - more than anything the change in your attitude.Well done on your achievement so far. :-)

  • Well done!! I'm sure that regular running will help with the study. Good luck cruising to graduation.

  • I fall into the tall and slim category as well - I just wish people wouldn't assume that automatically makes me a super-runner! And well done on W6 R3 - I've got that one at some point next week, argh! :-(

  • I was dreading it, but actually I rather enjoyed it - more so than the run before. I think Laura says it's a mental barrier rather than a physical one with that run - and I told myself I knew I could get to 20 mins as I'd done it before, and that every minute after that was just going to be a bonus even if I didn't make it to 25... but of course, by that stage I was just determined to finish. I did pace myself right from the beginning though and didn't take it too fast, which I think helped. Good luck with it! If you can manage it, you'll feel amazing!

  • Thank you for all your encouraging comments! I'm glad to have found this forum too - all the best to you with your running as well.. looking forward to continuing to share the highs and lows along with everyone!

  • It's always nice to see that someone else has the exact same thoughts as I did before I started! I'm only on week three now (just come back from run 3 of this week), but already I feel happier to run and definitely a bit fitter, even if walking up stairs etc now aches my legs, rather than getting me out of breath!

    I'm 20 at the moment, and will also have to fit this around studying come September, which I'm hoping will help with the stress, but also give me something to look forward to.

    I really hope that near week 6 and by the end of the program, I'm just as upbeat as you and everyone on here seems to be!

    I'm hoping that if I can get into the running habit now, then I'll have it with me for the rest of my life. And even at 20, I'm wishing I'd started this when I was younger! It's a great habit to have, and the convenience is always a plus.

    Still awaiting all the physical benefits - weight loss, change of shape, better skin, toned bum, etc, but I'm definitely already feeling the mental improvements!

    Well done on getting this far, and I hope you and your buddy graduate with pride!

  • Well good for you starting as early as you have - I totally agree - I'm trying to set a pattern for future life too, not just for 9 weeks - I think that's what I like about the plan - it's challenging for folk like us, but POSSIBLE :) I'm sure we'll welcome the ability to chuck on the trainers and get the endorphins going when all the books get too much next term!

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