Running woman

I look just like this when I run – happy, relaxed, no hint of tomato face, flyaway hair or flailing limbs (clearly a lie)

This weekend I ran 5k. Believe me, no one is more surprised about this than I am. I’m not a runner. At all. Eight weeks ago I struggled to run for 3 minutes, but now I can keep going for more than 30 minutes. One day I decided I wanted to improve my fitness so I thought I’d go out for a jog, and decided to give the Couch to 5K (C25K) programme a go – I used a C25K mobile app. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do the full programme but out I went and I actually quite enjoyed it. I went out three times a week, stuck to the programme, trusted it and made progress. And this weekend, at the end of my eight weeks, I ran the full 5k. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t fast, but I did it. The process has taught me so much about myself and I wanted to share that. This blog post isn’t about telling everyone to get out there and run (though it is surprisingly enjoyable), but what I learnt during this process applies to so many things in life and it was good to have those reminders.

  1. If you set your mind to doing something, and it’s a realistic goal, you can do it

I honestly didn’t think I was ever likely to be able to run for over 30 minutes, but I believed the c25k programme and stuck to it. Each time it got a little harder, I went out with part of me thinking I couldn’t do it, but I went out regardless, put my trust in the programme and my body, and I managed to complete every single one of the training days.

  1. Sometimes, having people who don’t think you can do it can be a really useful thing

After my second run (where the majority is still walking rather than running), I got back and my partner joked, “Well you’ve done it twice now, is that it?”. I do go through fads so it was a valid comment (and also to be fair to him he is incredibly supportive of anything he knows I want to achieve). That comment however seemed to change my blasé approach to the programme. Suddenly I had a challenge; to prove to him, and myself, that I can stick to things and can improve my fitness. IT IS ON!

  1. You’re probably more capable than you think

How often do you think you’d like to do something but decide not to try because you don’t think you’d be able to do it. Next time you find yourself in that situation, I urge you to commit to trying. I bet you can do a lot more than you think. I honestly never thought I’d be able to keep running for that time or distance, but it actually only took 8 weeks. You won’t know if you don’t try so give it a go, and believe in yourself.

  1. Lots of small, incremental developments can lead to much greater progress

Common sense, I know, but sometimes it just seems like a goal is so far away, yet if you break it down into tiny progressive steps, you’ll have achieved the larger goal before you know it. I take this approach with many things – I have a number of large projects on the go but I break each of them down into smaller tasks which help get me towards the bigger goal.

  1. Learning a new skill or achieving a goal is incredibly fulfilling

I love learning new things. Over the past year or so, I’ve taken up a few different hobbies, and the one thing they all have in common is learning new skills. Every knitting project I do for example, I learn how to do something new, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. Running has taught me a lot about myself – mind and body – and getting to the goal of being able to run 5k was a fantastic feeling.

So what aims do you have? How are you going to get there? You can do it, I know you can!

  • http://twitter.com/libalyson Alyson Tyler

    Great post, and very useful to show links with your lifestyle to a work/general life approach. I too have gone from affirmed non-jogger to a moderate jogger and can now run without stopping for around 40mins. With a couple of friends I managed 55mins but could barely function afterward!

    I agree that sometimes the desire to prove someone/thing wrong can help motivate to do it! Good luck with your next goal … a 10K?

    • http://twitter.com/libalyson Alyson Tyler

      PS – Great picture! I’m not sure ANYONE looks like that and runs, seriously.

      • http://www.joeyanne.co.uk Jo Alcock

        Doesn’t everyone look like that when they run?! ;)

        55 mins is great going, well done! My 5K was extremely slow so I’m hoping to improve my speed over the next few weeks and see if I can get that down a bit – I’d love to get it down to 30 minutes but I’m quite a way off that at the moment. May try some longer runs too, but I like the fact that my workouts are around 40mins – maybe a longer one once each week is manageable. Whatever I decide, I’m much more confident now that I can get there if I set my mind to it.

  • http://twitter.com/lotty_star Lotty Bell

    Great post! I’m in the 3rd week of this programme and it gives me hope I’ll finish. I too am terrible at starting and not finishing things.

    • http://www.joeyanne.co.uk Jo Alcock

      I’m sure you can – just trust the programme, it will prepare you for the longer runs towards the end and you’ll be running 5K before you know it I’m sure. Good luck!