When my friend and I were sat on the beach last year wondering whether we had it in us to do the couch to 5K programme, I don’t think we gave any thought to what might happen afterwards.
It’s hardly surprising as we were facing eight or more weeks of 6am starts on winter mornings, often running in the pitch black wearing every item of sports clothing we owned.
Even a minute of running felt like a marathon at the start and I don’t think either of us could envisage completing the programme but complete it we did.
While we could have just carried on running for the love of running – because we do love it (along with pretty trainers) – we decided to try and do something good with our new and improved fitness.
On March 20th we will be running a sponsored 5k for Sport Relief.
While I am really looking forward to the event – joining together with all the other people and raising money for such a brilliant cause – the actual running bit is making me worry.
I’m not even sure why as we regularly do 5k or thereabouts at least a couple of times a week now.
I think the negative voice in my head (I call her Joan) has a lot to do with it. She’s telling me we will come last (doesn’t matter), that it’s a new route and I won’t be able to run the entire way (I can walk) and that we’ve been kidding ourselves and while we think we’ve been doing 5k we’ve actually been doing 1k (GPS must be wrong then).
Aside from a dodgy leg, Joan is my biggest obstacle when it comes to running.
She’s not as bad when I’m with my buddy but if I’m on my own she constantly tells me to quit – although I am getting better at ignoring her and have devised ways to blot her out.
Here’s what I do when I’m alone:
- Take stock – I think about how I’m feeling from head to toe. Am I out of breath? Are my legs hurting? Can I feel a blister? Usually the answer is no to all of those things and I know I’m perfectly fine to keep going.
- Distraction – a good playlist can work wonders. On particularly bad days I try and run in time to a beat for the odd song (only if it’s slow enough and safe to do so).
- Set realistic goals – the C25k programme is brilliant for this. Over the eight weeks you increase bit by bit (although some of them feel like a massive jumps) and it’s doable. Even now we’ve finished I tell myself I just need to run to that lamppost and then get to that bin just to keep myself going.
- Stay positive – no matter how much Joan tries to bring me down (and even if I have to walk) I repeat the phrase: “No matter how slow you go, you’re lapping the old you sat on the sofa”.
Usually, once I’ve gone through all of those steps, Joan’s voice has faded (or i’m over halfway and homeward bound) and I can carry on. Having said that I’m really hoping she stays at home on March 20th.
Do you have a Joan? How do you deal with her (sports related or in general)?
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