Today I started the Couch to 5K app. I am using the app from Public Health England in collaboration with the BBC. I have chosen Sarah Millican as my trainer, because she’s far more chipper (in my opinion) than the others and for me I need someone upbeat to motivate me.
Yesterday I went out and bought all the correct sports gear (nothing expensive but the right clothing). I bought a pair of running leggings, sports bra, phone holder, headphones, and water bottle for running (the fancy hand holding one). As I say you don’t have to do expensive. The leggings were £14 from Tesco (they do a £10 pair, I chose the £14 ones because they were pink and part of the Cancer Research clothing). The phone holder was £6 from Tesco, water bottle £2 from Tesco, headphones £1 from Poundland and sports bra was on sale for £13 in Sports Direct (the only shop in my area to do my size in sports bras). I already had trainers, which are slightly battered, but for starting out they work fine. I already had trainer socks (but if you don’t own any little tip is just fold your normal socks back over your heel and create your own), and for the time being I’m just using one of my really baggy, cheap Primark tops.
I was very anxious about leaving my house to run. I am a big girl who lives in a relatively judgmental small town, I was starting off on my estate where I know people (including an ex boyfriend), so as you can imagine, that makes nerves worse. I was anticipating teenagers being rude, stares, comments in general and so on. For that reason I deliberately turned my headphones up loud, thinking if I can’t hear them I can ignore them easier. I was extremely self conscious (especially of my lower stomach area showing or being wobbly).
The first part (the five minute warm up walk) wasn’t too bad, in fact I only saw one person who was cleaning his car and he seemed so oblivious that it made me feel better. Then as I entered the first park there was an old lady walking her dog, thinking older people are less likely to be judgemental and certainly not comment (like teenagers showing off) I felt relaxed, until she did give me a judgemental ‘fat girl walking’ look, but I kept thinking ‘it’s fine, concentrate on you and the reasons why, you’re getting fit’. Then this middle age man full on stared at me (in fact I don’t think he could have made his staring any more obvious), however I carried on because these people in my opinion just show themselves up. Then the most embarrassing moment came – I was over taken by the former head of PE at my secondary school. This former teacher is over 70, had hip operations and he outran me up a hill to the woods. However what he did show me is runners don’t care. I thought the people running or exercising would be the most judgemental (especially as they are established and I’m starting out) but no he ran on as if I weren’t even there. The same goes for the two runners I saw in the woods, they carried on as if I were a figment of their imagination. The people who stared and looked most judgemental were the people not running but walking their dogs. In short, if you are like me and worried about judgement, comments, and so on, don’t be. The chances are people who are running are either cheering you on inside or really don’t care you’re there and the people who are judging you are so insecure they have nothing better to do than try and tear down your success.
Now on to the physical part. I won’t lie it’s HARD. I should add I’m suffering with an extremely bad back at the moment (by bad I mean even walking is causing pain in my lower back, pain and numbness down my legs), I need to get this checked and probably should before I started running, so please if you are like me be careful. For this reason I treated this app sensibly by stopping when I needed to because I don’t need an injury on top of whatever is wrong. So please do the same, you know your body, you know when you need rests, listen to that, don’t push yourself if you can’t. Because of my back, by the first run I was in pain, so I only managed 30 seconds of the 60. However this was uphill with a bad back so I carry on feeling proud of myself. I stopped for a breather at the entry to the woods because of my back. Carried on after a few minutes. The next run again I only managed 30 seconds, but I then set myself the challenge of 45 seconds for the next run, which I did. Then determined to do at least one 60 seconds, my fourth run was just that 60 seconds. I had to stop half way through day one because of how bad my back was (I nearly didn’t make the walk home). It’s true what the people on YouTube say, 60 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot but believe me when you’re starting out, it feels like an eternity. You do feel proud and accomplished when you do it though. It’s a great feeling and definitely motivates you to keep going.
I’m feeling annoyed that my back caused me so much pain I had to stop half way through day one. However for someone who hasn’t ran in over two years (and even that was running on the spot in my front room), has a bad back, was very anxious and some of the planned route was uphill I am proud to have completed half way of day one. Would I have liked it to have gone better? Yes. Would I have liked to have completed more 60 seconds? Yes. But all things considered I am proud. I am proud I did 30 minutes of exercise, I got out of the house, I faced my fears and I got half way through with a bad back and hills. That in itself is a great achievement.