C25k weeks 7 and 8 – the ‘I know the secret’ runs.

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Sorry, that’s not meant in a creepy Silence of the Lambs kind of way.

Good shoes? Essential. Nice weather? Preferable. The odd spectacular sunrise? Inspiring. But the key to C25k, for me this time anyway, has been finding a running buddy.

If you’ve been reading through the posts – and I’m surprised by the number of people who get here by searching “running C25k and feel like I’m going to die” – you will notice my last official run was some time ago. While I have been doing a bit here and there I didn’t make it all the way last time, which I was sad about.

When my friend came to visit overnight while we were on holiday in September we sat on the beach in the glorious sunshine talking about the fact we were both 40 next year (have I mentioned that?). My friend said she wanted to get into running and asked whether I would do the programme with her.

Initially I jumped at the chance but then reality hit. When would we run? She works full time and because of Freya’s (non) sleep patterns, come 6pm I’m knackered.

“How would you feel about running early in the morning?” I asked, tentatively. “Like really early. Before Mark has to go to work.”

Surprisingly, because I now can’t contemplate getting up if I don’t have to, she was IN.

We started running one week day and Saturday and Sunday, which is not ideal but as we had both done some running and at the beginning were walking more than we were running we thought this would be fine.

When we made that week 4 jump we switched to two week days and one weekend day.

Most days we run before the sun comes up (we were seriously considering buying a head torch) although the thrill of watching a winter sunrise is enough to get me going. The hail and sub-zero temperatures? Not so much.

I have to say though, while we occasionally felt the burn during the early stages, neither of us wanted to let the other down so we carried on. And really that’s the key, for me. Even when Joan was shouting at me to stop, I knew I didn’t really want to and because I had someone right next to me who was carrying on, I did too.

Obviously you can do it on your own – that’s the way I did it the first time – but it’s much more fun with a friend. We haven’t had to repeat any days this time and I feel like I’ve genuinely found my love of running again, especially seeing it through the eyes of someone doing the programme for the first time.

We’re not breaking any land speed records but we are running 35 mins without trouble – something I could only imagine eight weeks ago when we couldn’t even make it to the end of that road in the picture

Once my eye had healed, the plan is to get some speed (ideally 5k under 30 mins) before, and I seriously can’t believe I’m saying this, we start 10k training in the new year.

It’s taken two years but I think I can call myself a runner again.

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