ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
[personal profile] ladyofastolat
So we appear to have accidentally started doing Couch to 5K, a 9 week programme endorsed by the NHS, which aims to ease couch potatoes slowly into running. Two weeks ago, we had just finished a game of Defenders of the Realm (which, by the way, is a far more satisfying game when you include a few of the optional "make the game a bit harder" rules) when Pellinor commented that he should probably try Couch to 5K one day. "Why not start it now?" I said, and within half an hour, we had located suitable shoes and appropriate technology, and were heading out the door.

While in some ways I'm not a couch potato - I regularly do brisk walks of 20 miles plus and Morris dance twice a week - I am rubbish at running. If I do have to run to catch a ferry, I flail like an ungainly flappy thing and am shattered after 50 steps. (Pellinor's a lot better, due to his habit of running down monsters while wearing armour, but wants to improve his stamina.) I kept up a programme of workout DVDs for most of the winter a few years ago, doing them as soon as I got home from work, and have done them occasionally since them, but I always really disliked doing them, and they well nigh killed me in hot weather. When my work moved and I started coming home a little later, it was easy to use that as an excuse not to do them. I love walking, but it does take up a whole day, and in winter you have to get out at first light or you run out of daylight. Getting up early isn't a problem for me, but getting out is, since I love reading in bed with a cup of tea for an hour or two in the morning. So while I have no intention of stopping walking, I wanted some additional form of exercise that would take a lot less time than a 20 mile walk, and could be done on a week day, too.

With Couch to 5K, you run just 3 times a week, for half an hour at a time. So far, "run" isn't really the word for it. In week one, you walk briskly for 5 minutes, then alternate 1 minute of running with 1 and a half minutes of walking, keeping this up for 20 minutes, before another 5 minute walk. I was pleasantly surprised to find it not remotely arduous. It turns out that running in running shoes is a LOT easier than running in town shoes, while wearing a flappy coat and carrying a bag. Week 2 lengthened the running segments to 90 seconds, and was a little harder. Tonight we start week 3, which will include some 3 minute stretches of running. There is a terrifyingly steep learning curve ahead of us over the next few weeks. Whether I'll be able to do it, I don't know. I might need to get special shoes, since my feet roll inwards and this causes me problems when I walk more than a few miles without my boots. I don't want to splash out a lot of money if it might be a whim that I don't stick with, but on the other hand, if I hurt myself due to NOT having the right shoes, then I'm less likely to stick with it, so... well, it's a bit of dilemma at the moment. But for now, I'm not having any problems.

I understand that for many women, the main thing that scares them about running is embarrassment about being seen. "What? In PUBLIC?" is the reaction I've had from most women when I've told them I'm doing this. No man has said that. Doing it in the dark helps, and doing it alongside Pellinor helps even more. At the moment, I'm really enjoying it. It's just a nice half hour walk and chat, with occasionally bits of running added in. I fear this will change once the running gets harder...

Date: 2017-01-22 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I always suspect that the worse the running or swimming "style" the harder you have to work to get anywhere. This isn't great from running away from things or swimming from sinking ships, but for cardiovascular exercise might be a plus. At least that's what I tell myself.

Date: 2017-01-22 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was certainly true for me in school swimming lessons. I couldn't swim, since I was terrified of getting my face wet. (Amongst other reasons. It was mostly a confidence issue, made much worse by some very bad teachers.) Anyway, at one point, one of the bad teachers announced that NONE of the class would be allowed to leave the pool until I'd swum a width. I managed a width of wild, frenetic, terrified doggy paddle, with my head and shoulders out of the water, and it took SO much effort and work. I'd never have escaped the sinking ship, but if calorie burn was what was wanted, my "style" was excellent!

Date: 2017-01-22 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I got into running via Couch to 5K. Week 3 was my worst week (my calf muscles really hated it) but I get the impression most people find its weeks 4 and 5 that are really hard to get through - G certainly struggled and eventually gave up once 5 minute runs entered the equation.

I've heard second and third hand that women are embarrassed to be seen running which flumoxes me a bit, I've never really given much thought to what I look like when I run especially since it's hardly a glamour activity. I sometimes wonder if other runners are judging me for my speed or lack thereof (depending upon whether I've overtaken them or they've overtaken me) but then I tell myself that that way madness lies. I do occasionally wonder if its entirely safe in a couple of places I run but then that depends a little on one's definition of "safe" (since random falling meteors are always a possibility). There's always plenty of people in the park I most often use at the time I run round it so I find it hard to imagine that is dangerous though the girl's at G's school have strict instructions never to enter it on their own.

Date: 2017-01-22 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Women are more likely to be shouted at while running (*), though, so when you hear they are also more likely to feel embarrassed about being seen running, you have to wonder if the two are causally related.


(*) So at least I gather from EverydaySexism and the like, although I don't think I personally have ever been harassed while running.

Date: 2017-01-23 11:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nope, I've never been harassed while running. But then I'm only aware of having been wolf-whistled once in my entire life and I don't regularly have men attempt to talk to me in the street or on trains or anything of the kind. I can't quite work out if I walk around in a little cloud of obliviousness or if I somehow exude subtle "no point trying to engage this person" vibes.

Date: 2017-01-23 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've never had anything like that, either (except when interrailing aged 19, in various non-UK cities.) I've done hundreds of hours of solitary walks, and I know that quite a lot of women hate the thought of lone walking, too - whether because of safety fears, or just feeling self-conscious about being alone when doing a "sociable" activity. (More the latter round here, I think, since most of them are happy to walk alone if they've got a dog to justify their presence.) But I've never had any problems. Walking etiquette is to smile and say hello to everyone you meet, so I do that, even to (most) solitary men, which perhaps I shouldn't do. But despite this, no problems.

Date: 2017-01-24 01:39 pm (UTC)
ext_189645: (Brythen)
From: [identity profile]
People sometimes laugh at me when I gallumph madly along the lanes accompanied by the hounds, to get to a safe passing spot.

But frankly I would laugh at me too, I imagine the sight of me being paced by two swift sighthounds while gallumphing before a car in wellies is deeply hilarious.

I've never had the nasty insults or actual objects thrown, which you hear about, thank goodness.

Date: 2017-01-22 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We've just done our first week 3 run, which pleasantly surprised me. I'd expected to really struggle with the 3 minutes, but it was fine - well, apart from the fact that the pavements were beginning to ice up and were a bit slippy (though worse when walking than running.) Whether it will still feel fine tomorrow, when the muscles have had a chance to stiffen, I don't know. The prospect of week 5 scares me.

I'm somewhat embarrassed about being seen to do it, but I think that's mostly because I feel slow and ungainly compared with all the fast runners who whizzed past me when I was out for a walk this morning. I'm accustomed to being The Fast One when out walking, overtaking everyone else and never getting overtaken (except by the aforementioned fast runners) so it will take me a while to adjust to being the slow newbie.

Date: 2017-01-23 11:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was actually in quite a bit of pain while running those 1.5 minute segments. I think once I got through that the longer segments were easy in comparison since it was breathlessness rather than calf muscles which wasn't quite as bad. G., poor thing, got stitches in the 5 minute segments which are pretty unpleasant and lots of the regular tricks didn't seem to really help her with them.

I remember when I first started I used to worry about what runners would think about me "walking in a tracksuit" in the walking segments, but I somehow convinced myself that they were in the wrong because I was in one of the bits where I was supposed to be walking. I think most runners worry more about being judged than are actually judgey. I'm sure there are a few 16-year-old lads that are super fast and haven't learned that runners come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with all sort of different ideas about what they want to do and what they want to get out of it. But I've found most runners are just really encouraging and pleased that anyone else is running.

Date: 2017-01-22 05:46 pm (UTC)
ext_24338: (Tree Sunlight)
From: [identity profile]
Exercise is not good for people with ME/CFS, but one day I hope to be better and then, well, swimming is probably what I'll do - mainly because I hate getting sweaty and hot (also why I stopped cycling many years ago).

I suspect women with, er, 'big tracts of land', so's to speak, might worry about how they look. I'm not so worried about how I look, but dislike the feel that running has on that area - and before you say 'sports bra', if you can find one that's a 34K, then you're doing better than me!!

Date: 2017-01-22 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't swim. I do keep thinking that I ought to learn, but am scared to, and also can't find any adult lessons at times I can make. I've not sat on a bike for over 25 years, and this year I have resolved to hire a bike for a day, just to test if it's true what they say about never forgetting how to ride one. I fear I'll fall straight off it again.

I've tried several different versions of sports bra in the past, but they all proved to be less comfortable and less, well, supporty than my normal ones. So far I'm not too troubled in that way with running, though it was sometimes an issue with the more leapy parts of my workout DVDs.

Date: 2017-01-22 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The couch to 5k program seems to be pretty good. Not that I have ever tried it! Running hurts my knees. But friends have enjoyed it, completed the program and kept running.

I can't imagine being embarrassed about being seen, unless there are cameras. I do get rather self conscious about how I look in a bathing suit (I am really good at looking ungainly and lumpy just as someone clicks the shutter) but I don't let it stop me. There are plenty of unflattering pictures of me on Facebook to prove it.

Do be careful about the feet. If you pronate, the investment in decent shoes (or at least some orthotic inserts) will protect your knees from lasting damage.

Date: 2017-01-22 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I really should get some proper running shoes designed for my feet. The first time I did over 12 miles walking, I did it in trainers, and ended up hurting my hip and knee joints so much that I could barely dance for several months. Once I bought proper walking boots, I can do 30 miles without any problems. So that should be an awful warning to me. There's a specialist running shop virtually next door to where I work, so I've got no excuse, really.

Date: 2017-01-28 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was going to suggest that in my experience, being fitted by someone in a specialist running store is worlds and worlds better than just trying to buy decent shoes on your own. They're trained to help fit shoes for odd feet and odd gaits (speaking as someone who has both), and so they are especially useful for those of us who have a bit of disfunction we need to be protected from.

At this point, I don't buy sneakers or running shoes unless I can buy them at either a running store or a 'comfort shoe store', which is people with more or less the same training but focused on other types of shoes. My work shoes and walking shoes came from a comfort shoe store that has sadly since closed.

Date: 2017-01-22 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Having done c25k a year ago, I warmly recommend finding a specialist sports footwear shop - the kind which will do a quick video analysis of your gait and use that to steer the recommendations. Money well spent, and no more expensive than I was expecting for a pair of running shoes.

Date: 2017-01-22 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for the tip. I really have no excuse, given that there's a specialist running shop with that sort of technology just yards from the library where I work. I was worried that such shoes would cost an arm and a leg, so it's nice to know that they're not that bad.

Date: 2017-01-22 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awesome that you're running! Am sure you'll soon be as fast as Louise. Second everyone else that it's worth investing £50 in some trainers that won't knacker your knees. - N

Date: 2017-01-22 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! There's a specialist running shop right next to work, so I've really got no excuse. I was afraid that it would cost a fortune to get my gait analysed and get shoes to fit, and was reluctant to do that too early, just in case I gave up after 2 weeks. But even I DO give up for whatever reason, I guess such shoes would be useful for dance practices, too.

Date: 2017-01-22 10:22 pm (UTC)
ext_189645: (Mollydog goes boing)
From: [identity profile]
I was about to say that surely you don't go barefoot the rest of the time, so surely you could find some other time to wear them?

Given your record on knackering your feet, running shoes really do sound like they would be worth the investment? I mean it's not like you will be able to buy new feet so easily!

*prods you in the direction of the runningshoeshop*

Date: 2017-01-23 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I get the impression that running shoes often come in "loud," "very loud" and "impossibly loud" colour schemes. My current ones - bought a few years ago for workout DVDs - are bright blue with fluroescent yellow laces and highlights, and these were the dullest I could find at the time. They don't really shout of ordinary, day-to-day, wear-to-the-shops sort of uses. But I guess there's no reason why I CAN'T wear shoes in fluorescent rainbow colours to the shops... :-D

Date: 2017-01-24 01:32 pm (UTC)
ext_189645: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Why not! I think the shops would be cheerier for their presence, personally. I love it when I see people wearing bright shoes, they cheer my day even if my own shoes are rather dull.


ladyofastolat: (Default)

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