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...
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