(Note: I wrote the title for this blog this afternoon before I went to the gym. Once I put it into words, it became a lot easier to stick to!)
Twenty minutes without stopping seems ridiculous. Even now, after I’ve done it, it seems ridiculous.
I’ve been working my way through the NHS Couch to 5k app in order to go from ‘Alex who dies after running for the bus for 30secs’ to ‘Alex… y’know, the girl who runs everywhere’.
I’ve just completed Week 5 and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the app, you are given three runs to do a week over, I believe, nine weeks while the disembodied voice of ‘Laura’ spurs you on.
Weeks 1 through 4 challenge you to complete the same run set three times. Week 5… is where it gets interesting.
Run 1 – 5 mins run, 3 mins walk, 5 mins run, 3 mins walk, 5 mins run.
I actually ran this set twice. Once on the treadmill last week and once outside at the weekend. My lungs prefer I use the treadmill in this cold weather and this became apparent when my outdoor run on Saturday near killed me. Bring on the summer!
Run 2 – 8 mins run, 5 mins walk, 8 mins run.
I completed this run on Tuesday to work out the aches from a weekend of yoga (more to come on that later) and I was impressed with myself that I’d managed to run for eight minutes… twice! And I realised that it was becoming more about the mentality than the physicality. Yes, it became a bit of a struggle toward the end; a bit achey and what-have-you but it was more about where I let my mind go in order to keep me going.
In the end, I just lost myself to the music and told myself to keep going.
Run 3 – 20 mins run.
When I saw this was the run for today, my stomach swallowed my heart. How could I go from 8 minutes to 20?! Where was the gradual incline?! Where was 10? 15? Where was my recovery walk in the middle?!
I’m unfit. I’ve never been the fittest person. I played Hockey at school but that was short blasts of energy more than anything continuous such as running. And when it came to running, one of my friendship group would usually have a ‘breakdown’ and we’d all have to console her while the rest of the school ran cross country in the cold. Teenage girls… amirite?!
But still, I put myself on that treadmill, turned up the music and went for it. And though I had written the above sentence, securing my ambition, I was still sure I wouldn’t make it.
“I’m going to fail at this”
“No Alex… it’s not failure. It’s… ummmm…”
“It’s failure, brain. Deal with it.”
And on I ran.
5 minutes was alright. At 5, I told myself that making it to 10 and quitting would still be more than I had ever run in one go.
At 10, I decided to go to 15. I still had enough energy for 15, surely?
At 15, I was high. Buzzing. I could do this. I WOULD do this. So I did.
Then I played squash. Then I cycled home having cycled to work. Then I lay on the sofa, exhausted yet buzzing. Then I… zzzzzz…
So that’s Week 5 complete. I ran for 20 minutes, non-stop. TWENTY EFFING MINUTES! That’s nearly an episode of FRIENDS! And though my legs may have fallen off at some point between the front door and the sofa, I’m itching to run again. And again. And again.