C25k, Charity, friendship, Running, Uncategorized

Run, Tara, Run.


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.

IMG_6991 (1)
I’ve even got a number!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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)?

PS If you have any spare pennies, please consider sponsoring us here.




26 thoughts on “Run, Tara, Run.”

  1. Tara how easy did you find doing the couch to 5k? I’m doing a 5k in July but cannot run to save my life. It can be walked but I am considering doing couch to 5k with the help of a treadmill during the week so I can run it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the third time I’ve done it. I’ve completed it each time but this last time with a friend was much easier (because of Joan). I think it’s a great programme and I recommend it to everyone. I say go for it! Make sure you have good trainers though, to prevent injury. Thank you for sponsoring me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My own Joan periodically comes out of the woodwork. It’s a cyclical thing for me, I think, where I’ll go weeks or months without hearing her only to then enter a weeks- or months-long period where she tries to get my attention at every turn.

    I giggled when I read that you call this “Joan.” Love it, love it, love it, and am glad to have a way to reference this … the better to sort out what to do when I hear it!


  3. I think everyone has a Joan perched on their shoulder, always chipping in with unhelpful advice. Actually thanks for putting that analogy in my mind. Next time she’s taking that sharp intake of breath and saying “oooh you don’t want to do that” I’ll flick her off my shoulder and carry on regardless.
    Good luck with your run and I’m sure once you’ve given Joan the flick you and your friend will be at the front with the best of the runners 🙂


  4. If I just slightly hear Joan’s voice – usually recognized by a negative tone and before runs on ugly days – I tell myself motivating things like ‘just put on the running clothes’. In the worst cases I sing in my head ‘lalala’ until I am out the door. I never knew her name though! Thanks for the introduction lol.


    1. Great tips! Do you struggle when you’re already running? That’s my worst time. Between 2/3K is when Joan is at her worst. Thanks for commenting, I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog (and gazing at the beautiful sunrises).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much. I usually don’t hear her once I step out the door at least not anymore. I remember back in the beginning it was a loud voice. Especially when running for 20 minutes for the first time. A voice tempting to stop me! Also when trying to run for one hour. Slowing down has helped tremendously as well.


  5. Good for you! I’ve been running for years – 21 years I think! It’s the best thing ever. I don’t have and never have had a ‘Joan’, but I know a lot of people do! As you say, running (however slowly) is so much better than not running! Good luck for Sport Relief! I’m doing the 3 miles with two of my kids and my 14yo is doing the 6 miles! (He hasn’t trained.)


    1. What a lovely thing to do as a family. Maybe I can get Freya along next year, she already loves to run. I hope she’s more of a natural than me 🙂


  6. Running? Me? Are you mad? Actually I did do a 5k fun run with my daughter 4 years ago and neither of us were game again. My Joan beat that out of us. However, I have never ever been a runner, kind of more a walker I think. I walk for 30 mins each morning and sometimes the evenings as well. Per?Joan’s replacement is my dogs as theycan be very persuasive about going for their walks with me each day. How could I disappoint them?


    1. Hopefully I won’t be put off by our sponsored run. I walk loads now I have Freya but maybe I also need a dog? They sound like they would bite old Joan on the bum 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Tara, yes, I have a “Joan” voice telling me all the time that I can’t get in shape. I am not usually an active person, but I’m starting to hike and walk more that spring is almost here in the northeast US. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me that the little voice means nothing and that I can do it. 😊


    1. As long as you’re up and out and not just sat on you’re sofa you’re beating Joan – that’s the way I try and think of it anyway. I’m not a natural runner by any stretch of the imagination but I do enjoy it. Joan must not win! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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