12 Days of…Running?

Due to illness, busyness and, to be honest, a fair amount of laziness my athletic efforts since my last post have been a bit piecemeal. Before I knew it it was December and Christmas parties were swallowing all my free time. So I decided to set myself a challenge – run every day over the two weeks I was off work over Christmas.

I never really thought I’d do every day of course but I figured if I could do at least half then that was a worthwhile effort and hopefully a good platform to build on when I started triathlon training properly in the New Year. Because I knew that once January rolled around it would all start to look very close and I still couldn’t run much over a mile…

I managed to exceed my expectations and ran 12 days out of 14 – thwarted only by the insanity of Christmas Day and some ridiculous ice. I’ve never been a runner so when I found myself actually enjoying it after a few days I was gobsmacked. I wasn’t running hugely far but I could see myself getting faster and going further which has never happened on any of the previous occasions I’ve tried to “get into” running.

I also really doubted I had the willpower to keep it up.  I nearly failed on the very first day because I was so busy running round doing Christmas things and ended up running in the semi-darkness, on a longer route than I’d intended to run and thinking “I’ll never be able to do this”. I ended up surprised by my willingness to run, regardless of weather or location. Over the holidays I spent a lot of time surrounded by other people so taking twenty minutes or thirty minutes out to run was really good for my soul but also I did start to enjoy it. Even more so once I discovered that stretching after a run meant that I wouldn’t spend the whole of the next day hobbling and wincing…

I’ve never thought of myself as a runner but I do feel like I’ve accidentally become one over the last few weeks. I gave given myself a free reign to rest this week because I started a new job on Tuesday and you know what? I lasted two days before going running again! Maybe I’ll make it though this triathlon yet…

#Runmas Statistics

  • Total distance ran: 23.75 miles (38.22 km)
  • Fastest pace: 9.15 minutes/mile
  • Average pace: 9.50 minutes/mile
  • Furthest run: 3.16 miles (5.08 km)

Witness the Fitness! Or that time I signed up for a triathlon…

I have entered a triathlon. Which may be either a very brave or a very stupid thing to do, given that I can only just about run and haven’t swum in about a year. It’s only a sprint triathlon and not until May 2015 but even so…

Why? Well, it ticks a few boxes on my half formed “things to do before I’m 30” list and should have the added bonus of forcing me to get back into an actual exercise routine. I’m fairly confident that I can do it and with good luck and a following wind I might even be able to do it well!

Exercise has always been my jam. Being able to go and work out my frustrations at the gym or get high on endorphins in a spin class has kept me both mentally and physically fit for nearly half my life. Even now, when I class myself as “unfit”, I’m still walking 5 miles a day and cycling about 40 miles a week. I injured my knee in January though and it’s meant I’ve had to pretty much give up Body Combat which has been my regular high intensity cardio for the past four years or so. In addition until last month my other half was commuting four hours a day which played havoc with both our body clocks and squeezed out time for exercise. As a result I feel less fit than I have since I was 16.

I don’t care about losing weight particularly, it’s taken me a long time to learn to love my body and have a healthy relationship with food so I’m not counting calories, inches or pounds. However fitness is important to me and I’m really hoping triathlon training will help me rethink my exercise approach and routine. Running has been a kind of perennial nemesis of mine and whilst I’ve no intention of running a marathon I’d like to be able to run at least 10K. Swimming and cycling are less of an issue – I already cycle a lot and I’m a good swimmer, albeit an out of practice one! Putting them all together though? Eek!

So my fitness challenges for the next 10 months are:

  1. Compete in a triathlon
  2. Be able to run at least 10 kilometres
  3. Be at least a little bit fitter when I hit 30!

If you’re interested in following my fitness travails no doubt I’ll be boring on about it on Twitter… And if you’ve got any tips for newbie runners or triathletes please pass them on!!