Just the thought of putting on trainers and ‘going for a run’ seemed terrifying. Where would I go? What if I got lost? What if people laughed at me? Turns out no one could be less interested in someone going for a run outside, no one laughs at how slowly you’re going or your ridiculous outfit. But to build up my confidence I went running in along the quieter back roads near where I lived, which at the time was round the grounds of the Imperial War Museum.
I was never an athlete at school or university so this idea of pushing yourself physically was a completely alien concept to me. It wasn’t until I started running with my boyfriend and he pointed out that pushing through the hard bits were what helped you build up and would make it easier next time, that things started progressing quicker.
The company I was working for participated in the JPMorgan Chase run in Battersea Park and you could either run it or watch it but either way you were going. So I thought well I might as well run it!
So I started running with my boyfriend after work, which really helped as when I had the worst stitch and couldn’t breathe or felt sick, he encouraged me to keep going. I say encouraged, it was mainly by pointing out how long it would take to get home if we walked instead of running, and that’s where dinner was! But it made me realise that my limit was actually a lot further than I thought it was.
I’d love to say it was great and I felt amazing but I hated every second of it! It took huge amounts of persuasion to get me out. Looking back now, it’s a hilariously small distance that I used to moan so much about!
But it did feel great afterwards:
- I felt like I’d achieved something
- I was building up fitness
- It helped me sleep better
- If I’d had a particularly stressful day at work, it felt great going out for a run, as that was all I could focus on when I was out
And, one night I just felt like going for a run, so off I went along the River Thames, we counted to the bridges to build up each time, and this time I managed to run 6k. Uh Oh, I think i’m a runner now!
To be honest you don’t need to do a lot of preparation for a 5k:
- obviously drink plenty of water during the day (my race was late afternoon)
- don’t eat a massive heavy meal before race (unfortunately you don’t need to carbo-load for a 5k)
- you don’t need any gels or special energy drinks (I actually find they really upset my stomach, so I keep well clear of those)
- wear the trainers and clothing you’re used to running in
- make sure your music device of choice is well charged nothing more disappointing than running out of Kenny Loggins half way round
- if someone is coming to watch you, arrange a meeting place as you probably won’t want to carry your phone and it’s very busy, most races have alphabetised signs so you can easily find people afterwards
- go to the loo beforehand, you can be waiting a while to get through the enclosures in the beginning, and you don’t want anything throwing you off your stride
I put myself in the slowest enclosure at the end, but I should have gone one up to be honest as it was packed and I ended up having to run around a lot of walkers.
It was the first time i’d run with markers and they are soooo off putting, for the experienced runner they are very useful for pacing yourself but for me it was just reminders of how far I still had to go! But I kept running the whole way round, I knew if I stopped to walk, there was no way I was going to get started again.
It was pretty ok until the last km and I so badly wanted to stop, but the boyfriend was there cheering me on and I dragged myself over the finish line. I made the mistake of immediately stopping dead and then I fainted and had to go the ambulance tent like a wally. I do have very low blood pressure which I’m sure didn’t help but I would recommend you ‘walk if off’ no matter how knackered you are afterwards.
Looking back that was by far the most difficult run. With that one under my belt, the only way was up and I started working towards a 10k.