Well folks I have gone and done it! Last night was the final run of week 9 and I can hardly believe it…or rather I can because when I look back at the weeks and the progress I made it seems as though I was just like Dorothy with her red shoes- I had the ability within me the whole time. Last night was lovely, it had been a scorcher of a day (37 degrees) but cooled down to a more manageable high 20s temp by the time I stepped out. The anticipation for the last run had been building all day and I was excited and very relaxed as I set off. The whole run was a breeze, I got into a good rhythm, my legs felt good and my pace was steady. I finished on an easy downhill slope and with the wind in my hair. It was an excellent way to end the official program and the beginning of a wonderful obsession with running.
Truly the Couch to 5k program is the best whim I have ever had. I started off being envious of the graceful runners in my neighbourhood and now I am one (still working on the grace ) and that to me is amazing. I thought that I might just highlight some of the things I have learned whilst slogging away on the pavement:
1.Mind over Matter- most of the ‘bad’ runs I have had are due to my own negative thinking, letting those gremlins get to me and slow me down. If I repeated even just a simple positive thought (e.g I can do it) while running then it seemed to get me through the stiches, the shin pain, the blisters and the ‘I want to stop’. So it is important to believe that YES YOU CAN do it- no matter how hard week 5 seems .
2.Pace is important- I found that the pressure to pick up speed during runs was counterproductive, it caused more shin pain and I decreased my endurance by getting tired quickly. By starting off slow and gradually picking up the pace I made it to the end of each session without wanting to die and I saw an improvement with each following run. Don’t be afraid to slow down when you need to.
3.SHOES- I started the program with a pair of old sneakers. Not a good idea, the shock of the pavement went straight up my legs into my shins and hips. I lasted a week and went to get properly fitted. It made a massive difference, my feet were supported and they limited the impact of the concrete and shin pain. GET PROPER SHOES.
4.Running is fun- It is why we are all came to this program and continue to run. The freedom, the calm and feeling of flying you get when running is addictive. Putting on my running clothes has become a ritual. I find myself smiling like a weirdo when I have a good run, when everything is easy and falls into place. The sun is out, a cool breeze, a smile from a fellow runner, that hard work feeling you get after a run and of course the choccie milk at the end all add up to a great experience. After every run I have I look forward to the next one.
5.Support- I think that part of the program that I have loved the most is the support that this community has provided not just to me but all over. I have read the blogs and have been inspired to keep going, I have identified with the hard slogs and been excited for other people’s successes. It is lovely to feel that there is a whole community out there (and mostly half way across the world from me) who is cheering me on and who I am cheering for too!
Now I am looking forward to running to my own music. Happy running everyone!!