I’m a beginner.....and each run brings with it more fun!
My friends at work are all into running. They always used to come into work and tell me about their run the previous day, and how far they’d gone. After laughing about how I haven’t run for years (a short spell playing Sunday league football was my last exercise), I decided to see what it was all about. Now, I'm a 32 year old guy who hasn’t exercised (other than looking after a toddler) so I decided to take it slow. I had read about Couch to 5k, an app for your phone aimed at getting beginners up and running over 9 weeks, but I get a bit bored following that type of routine.
As I work 8-5, it’s difficult finding time to get out for a run which I find is the biggest problem when you have a busy work and family life. So I decided the only option was 5.30am…this gives me time for a short run, then shower and ready myself for work. Sadly I made this decision to start running after New Year (yes, it was one of those 1am New Year’s resolutions to get fit!) It turns out that at 5.30am it's quite nippy! I put on my old running trainers, warmed up (in hindsight quite poorly) and started off. It’s quite funny the first time you start running…breaking from a walk into a jog! Quite a self-conscious moment.
After about 500m I was blowing! It was freezing and the cold air gave me an instant stitch. After some spells of walking, jogging, walking, jogging, I managed a 2km “jog” around my village. Damn I felt proud. I did this a couple of times that week, each time the walking got less, the jogging increased and as the distance upped to 3km, the times starting to improve.
Unfortunately I’m the kind of guy who likes to look the part. Running at 5.30am in the winter it was dark (headlamp running required), but as the mornings got lighter, I passed other runners in all the gear – I had to join them! New shoes (amazing new shoes), new shorts and t-shirts, and a fitness tracker running watch. Whilst these aren’t all necessary for a successful run, good running shoes didn’t half make a massive difference. That extra bounce from a decent running shoe gives you a bit more confidence…that extra motivation. A watch also helps, especially with pacing yourself. As my fitness level improved, visibly seeing my pace whilst running certainly egged me on. Seeing lap time improvements, segment times, it’s a great way to analyse and share your achievements.
After a few months I tentatively entered into my first 5km Parkrun at Great Notley in Essex. My aim was to complete it as the furthest ever run was 3km. The atmosphere of being in an organised event is great – in fact that’s what got me through it. The enthusiasm from other runners and marshals is also a massive help, especially for a beginner. I completed it in just over 30mins which I was over the moon about. I have now completed 5 Parkrun's. With a busy work and family life during the week, early Saturday morning runs are perfect, and my times have improved. I’m aiming next week for a sub 28min, which won’t get me into Team GB – but it’s a small goal in my strive to become a runner.
Each run brings with it more fun, better times and quicker recovery. Running as a hobby is great – the Wife says it’s all I ever talk about!
Thanks to Paul for his view on what it's like to get started as a runner.
You can follow how Paul gets on via Instagram @paulmarcus83 and feel free to leave him a comment below.
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