I promised to write a graduation blog, but have only just got around to it. Now, I’m obviously no expert or fitness guru (!), but I know a little advice that is relevant to other runners can really help when the going gets tough – so here goes!
I’ve been on a ‘Health Kick’ (I’m not using that dirty word, Diet!) since the New Year and have been really good with my eating habits and making myself more active. I was 30 and weighed a massive 29 stone.
Now, I’ve always been an active ‘fatty’ and until now, I have yo-yo’d my way up and down the scales, probably due to being plain lazy with my eating habits and especially binge drinking at weekends. I knew I was getting to the point where my body was slowing down and unless I kick started it into action, I was on very slippery slope to becoming more and more sedentary.
I cut out all of the rubbish in my diet, stopped the drinking and started to walk and from work – approx 1.5 miles each way, but built this up over a few months, dependent on how my body felt. As this became a little easier to manage, I threw a few weekly games of badminton into the mix, just to shock my body into something a little more vigorous.
By this point, I had been dieting for around 4 months and had lost a very decent 3 stone and 4 pounds. I was obviously doing something right! But, it came to a shuddering halt and I knew that I needed something harder to do – step up C25K!
I started the programme on 12th May and completed it on 13th July, meaning that I ran 3 times a week, with no breaks or repeats. I am still flabbergasted as to how I managed it, but I believe that mental and physical preparation is key to this whole journey.
Things I would say to others about doing this:
** If you are finding this extremely difficult from day 1, then don’t be afraid to spend a few weeks just walking for 20/30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week, getting your body used to the movements and stresses that this kind of activity puts you through. At a heavy weight, I knew that I had to be careful how I planned things, as I knew that if I did too much too soon, I would end up injuring my body. (and my ego!)
** Complete EVERY planned run in the programme, regardless of how well you may have done in your last run. By skipping runs, you’re losing out of obtaining both the stamina required and the mental toughness to get out there several times a week for the whole of your running career. Week 5 Run 3 is daunting, but Week 6 Run 1 is the biggest physical task I have faced to date. Week 6 looks easy, but if I had skipped it, I wouldn’t have made it to week 9.
** Get the correct running shoes. I know this can be expensive, but I didn’t buy new shoes until week 7 when the runs became longer. I wish I had bought them earlier as the difference in my claves and knees is amazing. I still hurt after every run like everyone else, but during runs, I feel very little discomfort. For info, I am an overpronator and I bought a pair of Brooks Beast. Fantastic.
** Get good rest and enjoy your rest days. Try and get as much sleep as you can the night before your run and rest those legs on non-running days. I tend to run early in the morning (6:00am) and if I’ve had a late night, it makes things ten times harder!
** If you are struggling during a run, it is more than OK to slow down – try not to walk, keep yourself shuffling along unless you REALLY have to walk or stop and take a whiff. You’d be surprised by how quickly you can recover on the longer runs by slowing right down to a ‘shuffle run’, instead of giving up and stopping. Your body is capable of brilliant things! Running fast, for most of us, just isn’t
** Treat yourself once in a while. Like I said, I have cut out the rubbish and the drink, but I will allow myself a few beers once about every 6 weeks and will have the odd cake once or twice a month if I fancy it! As soon as you’ve eaten it, you’ll regret it, but at the time, it tastes immense! Ha!
** Do not take any notice of weight loss – or lack of it. Since I’ve been on the programme (10 weeks), I’ve lost about a stone in total, but the majority of that has come in the past 3 weeks. Your body will change shape dramatically and build up muscle in places you didn’t know that had any! If you stick to the programme and eat well, you shall see a big difference, guaranteed. (or your money back!)
** Be proud in your running. A lot of people don’t like to be seen – I am the opposite. If I come across someone I know, I did that little bit deeper (get a little faster!) to make it obvious that I am doing something awesome! (Even if I am feeling like death at the time!) So what if you’re red in the face?! You get red in the face sitting on your backside doing nothing in the sun or lying in a hot bath!
I now plan to consolidate my running by doing 3x5k runs a week and then see how my body reacts, along with a few short kettlebell sessions. If I get stronger, I’ll attempt the B210K programme. Hopefully, if I can shift a good bit of weight over the coming weeks, my times will improve beyond reasonable doubt. Fingers crossed. I now weigh 24 stone 6 pounds, which is obviously still pretty damn big, but I can run 5k in 38 minutes and I can honestly say that not a lot of people I know (who are half and even a quarter of my weight!) can do that! My BP is also now a healthy 117/76 and not a ghastly 147/92!
Use this forum as both a sounding board for your successes, failures and frustrations. There are some genuinely inspiring people here who can help you through tough times and will pat you on the back when you’ve done something awesome, which, in all reality is every run that you complete!