Inspiring people: The Runner (2)

Am back on the ole C25K and am already almost at the end of the third week.  I am a bit nervous about what is going to be the workout next week - but am determined to keep going.  And here's some inspiration from another friend of mine, H (what is with all these chicks whose names begin with "H" and running?).

When did you first start running?
I first started running in May this year, a couple of weeks after my 37th birthday. But four weeks in I had to stop for nine weeks due to pretty full on shin splints (wrong shoes, hard surface, running through pain aka not listening to one's body!). I restarted in August and haven't looked back.

What motivated you to do it?
I had been flirting with a few different exercise options for the last 12 months, trying to find a way to shed the extra kilos I put on since returning to a full time desk job. But I couldn't stick at anything...until I tried running. I could do it in my lunch hour (its really hard to find time for something new when you work full time and also want to give as much time as possible to family...I have a hubby, six year old and I live close to my, folks and my brother's family) AND I surprised myself by actually enjoying it...even when I couldn't run for more than one min!

How did you start running?
I downloaded Robert Ullrey's C25K podcast and the Nike+ app for my iPhone, strapped the iPhone on my arm, plugged in the earphones and did as I was told. The great thing about the podcast is that you don't have to think, or look at your watch, or even create a playlist of music - its all been done for you, and while the music may not be my favourite, it has the right bpm (beats per min) to keep you moving and drowns out the sound of my laboured breathing!

I started literally from on the couch...I had absolutely no fitness, although not excessively overweight, I was puffed after a flight of stairs. The first day I struggled to run a full minute as required!

What's the most important thing about running for you?
I really value the "me" time it gives me, I run mostly early mornings now and both Anthony and Grace respect my desire to run. Some days I just zone out, other days I mull over work or other life stuff.

But it also has given me a real sense of achievement, in an area I have never considered myself strong in (I hated PE at school, exercise was for others, I never thought I could run). Just seeing through the full C25K program and now each long run I do makes me feel good about myself.

How do you stay motivated?
Having a specific training program that I have to follow. Goals for future running. And running with Coco, my chocolate Labrador, she is so excited when ever she sees me getting my running gear ready, she loves the run and I don't want to disappoint her.

What's your greatest running achievement?
So far, the longest run I have done is 13kms. So I guess that is it, but also just that I have stuck to it, I completed the C25K. I've read of lots of people who do the program but then don't continue and find themselves doing the C25K again because they haven't maintained their running. But I don't want to jinx myself...I don't think I can really consider myself a stayer 'til I've been running for at least 12 months.

What are your running goals for the future?
I have lots! Currently I am following Hal Higdon's 12 week half marathon training plan. I am hoping it will have me ready to run 12 miles on 12 January 2012 as the first stage of the Virtual 12athon that Iris of Stet that run ( is directing. The Virtual 12athon is aimed at running 12 miles, for 12 months on the 12th of the month during 2012. There are bonus points for doing challenges as part of your run (eg wearing a Christmas sweater in a month other than December) and lots of cool prizes - it should be fun!

I am also aiming for the Dilli, Timor Leste half marathon on 12 May 2012, a marathon sometime in the future and most of all to still be running many years from now!

What are your tips for people starting to run?
Not that I am an expert but here is what has worked for me:
- get a training program and some way to measure you is motivating to see your improvement, and it is important to start slow and increase incrementally so you don't injure yourself
- run on grass rather than pavement (much less impact)...although ultimately if you want to run races you need some experience on hard surfaces
- look into minimalist shoes (also marketed as barefoot shoes), it is so much more liberating and, I have found, injury free.
- chose running gear you like the look of, no one says you should look daggy! The wicking fabric is great if you are sweating and I reckon, as a chick, skorts are the way to go, much more comfy and also prettier!
- I always have my running gear set out the night before, it's silly but I am more likely to get up and run if I know everything is ready to go and Coco is expecting it.
- get inspiration from others, there are some great books (e.g. Born to Run) and blogs (eg stetthatrun, run smiley)
- relax and smile when you run - have fun!


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