I didn't really believe I could learn to run. I hated it at school and in the 15 or more years since leaving school the most exercise I had attempted was the odd Zumba class, a leisurely swim and a few hikes.
So I didn't tell anyone. And I downloaded a c25k app on my smart phone and started doing it either first thing in the morning or late at night when no one was around - that was February 2013.
Running was the only option I felt I had open to me at that stage in my life. I hated gyms, and even though is lost a lot of weight by then, going from a size 20 to a size 14, I still didn't feel comfortable enough in my skin to exercise in front of other people. I also had an 18 month old child and was squeezing my growing freelance work in around raising the boy, nursery hours, help from the Grandparents and everything else that goes with Motherhood and life. I just needed something that was quick and easy. At the time I lived in a pretty little village - lovely for running and walking down the river, but a drive to a gym or pool or exercise class. So running just seemed the only option.
I set myself the target of a Race for Life 5km run in late May 2013, and just went for it.
I vividly remember those early sessions. Cold dark mornings, trying to avoid bumping into anyone. I would lap the village cricket field until the man with the ride-on-mower showed up, and I would aim to get home before the commuters came out to head for the station, in case anyone recognised me.
I remember the first few sessions where I jogged for 90 seconds and felt like my lungs were on fire, a band was tightening around my chest and I would never ever do this. I kept going. I have no idea where I found the motivation from!
I remember weeks where I just couldn't do it, couldn't pull myself out of a warm bed, couldn't manage to keep going for a whole 5 minutes, couldn't get my breath, couldn't find the time. It took me 16 weeks to do a 9 week programme as I just kept having to repeat some sessions.
But as winter became Spring, something clicked. I remember running around footpaths skirting wheat fields as the sun came up and birds sang and bunnies scattered from my path and realising that I could run for 20 minutes without stopping! And I LOVED it. I felt euphoric.
I never expected that to happen. I fully expected to fail, expected to hate it and give up.
My aim in posting this is to show that anyone, yes even you, can learn to run. The c25k programmes are amazing, building you up slowly from less than nothing really quickly. Whether you join a running club and follow a programme with a coach, or do it on your own as I did... You can do it. It's not easy and yes at the beginning you will find it very very very hard work. But any one can do it.
The key (here's my top tip)... It's all about the pace! (Did you wonder why the blog has this name?!), well wonder no longer. I am slow. Although I'm a little faster now than when I started I'm still never going to break records. And sometimes when I struggle, I slow down even more. But that is ok. Because when I'm slow and in control of my breathing, I love running and feel like I could run forever. It takes me to a happy place and my spirits are lifted for the rest of the day.
When you're starting out, it's ok to go slow. Slow enough to be able to chat is the main guide. Speed can come later.
And using a c25k programme and following this top tip you too will be running 5kms (3.12 miles) in no time. And maybe even further... Which is what I'm now doing. More of that to follow ....
Thanks for reading