It’s one of the hottest days of the year and I’m preparing to go for a 5k run with my local running club this evening.
Nothing remarkable in that you might think, except that 6 months ago I couldn’t even run for a bus without getting really out of breath and triggering my asthma.
Those of you who have done Crossing Thresholds and remember the Wheel of Life exercise in Module 2, exercise was something I really wanted to pay more attention to. About 6 months ago I was feeling low in energy, unhealthy and needed to start looking after myself. It was winter, we were in yet another lockdown, and this was the time to make some changes and do something about my health. So, I downloaded the NHS Couch to 5K app onto my phone and decided to go for it.
For those who don’t know, the C25K (as it’s known) is a 9-week programme designed to get anyone from a non-runner to running for 30 minutes without stopping, and it’s free to download. It involves a run/walk programme, going out for 30 minutes three times a week. You can also decide which celebrity voice you would like to encourage you round; I chose Sarah Millican and she was great. I love being outside, and I’m very lucky to have beautiful countryside nearby where I managed to get to the goal of running for 30 minutes.
Once I was able to keep going for 30 minutes without stopping, I took the next step and joined a local running club. I was worried I would be the oldest and the slowest there, and thought I would feel really intimidated, but they were so encouraging, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I go, getting out there with others is what counts.
The first few club runs were really tough, I was running 5k (with a few walk breaks) and it was further than I had run before. Now I can honestly say I enjoy running! In my case it’s rather more of a slow jog than a run, and I can’t run 5k in 30 minutes, but that really doesn’t matter. It’s about getting outside and doing what I can. It’s been a lifesaver during lockdown, the social aspect as well as the regular exercise has helped me enormously mentally as well as physically.
Now for my next challenge … rather rashly I have signed up for a 10k run in October. It’s a sponsored run – Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research. This is a cause very close to my heart as I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. I was lucky, after 6 months of fairly gruelling treatment and five years of hormone therapy I got the all clear and I’ve been cancer free since then. Others aren’t so lucky, so if you would like to donate to support Cancer Research, the link is here: https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/niccys-race-for-life-2
It’s no exaggeration to say running is part of my life now. I (mostly) love it, I certainly love how I feel when I get home from a run, and it’s a great way of improving health and fitness. All you need are decent trainers, a sports bra, and the C25K app on your phone. If I can do it, anyone can.