Cold Weather Running

It is seemingly a contradiction, since most runners seem to dread the approach of winter, but I seem to find a strange pleasure in it. I am now in my second season of winter running and I take much more pleasure in it than at any other time of the year. If you are a runner, do you feel the same?

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Running 10k – How I Feel

Kilometre Number 1

Starting out with some optimism, but a fair share of trepidation, I take it easy. I need to conserve my energy, I don’t normally run this far. I know I can do it but it is a once a month affair and it takes me a long, long time.

Number 2

My legs are starting to move now, I am getting into my stride. The mental game is the one to avoid, questions arise regarding my sanity. It is too early for that nonsense now I tell myself.

Number 3

It is important to have some distraction, I cannot allow my thoughts to overtake me. A good podcast or audiobook, something inspirational. I need to just keep moving, one foot in front of the other.

Number 4

Now things are starting to get serious, between 5 & 6 kilometres is my usual distance. My mind begins to ask me, “Do you really want to do this? Wouldn’t 5k be enough?”

Number 5

This is it, quite often the end of my run would be approaching but today it will be the halfway mark. I try to tell myself that it is all downhill from here.

Number 6

Things are starting to hurt now, especially on a hot day. Keep checking that watch or I could be running backwards before I know it. It’s too easy to step off the gas and take it too easy.

Number 7

Do people really do this for fun? I need to keep reminding myself that yes they do and I am one of them. I’m in the forest, almost alone, stretching my legs and my lungs. Now I am pushing myself beyond what is my comfort zone.

Number 8

OK, just keep going, you can do it. You’ve come so far, if you stop running now you will still have to walk the rest of the way home anyway. All these things keep going through my mind, podcasts can only be so interesting after all.

Number 9

I am going to do it, there is no doubt now, but my legs are feeling heavy and these knees are feeling like they have another 20 years on them all of a sudden. What do I look like to others? Who cares? I’m doing this not them.

Number 10

Oh, thank god, I’m almost there. I keep imagining how good it will feel to stop in the shade, get my breath back and have a good stretch. Also how the glow of satisfaction will spread throughout my body, even if the grimace will take a while to leave my face.

I did it! The end. When can I go again?

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© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

5k, I made it!

After finishing the 9-week Couch to 5k program, and being able to run for 30 minutes, I have been continuing to run and slowly built to running 4k. And believe me I was more than happy with that. But 5 kilometres still seemed like a long way away.

Then one day I thought, why not just keep going? Just a little bit further, just another 250 metres, easy. Well it wasn’t so easy but I did it. Now I had run more than 4k for the first time, and my comment on my running app was ‘5k here I come’. Little did I think that it would come with my next run.

When I went for that next run I felt good and thought, why not go for it? So I ran for 2.5k, turned around and started running back. Now, in the back of my mind, I was always thinking that if I didn’t make it there would be no shame. But as I started to visualise the feeling of achievement if I made it, I just knew I had to go for it. And I did it.

Now, there wasn’t an immediate sense of elation, I was too tired for that. But, as I recovered and my legs stopped wobbling, it soon began to dawn on me. I just ran 5 kilometres, me. 47 years old, still overweight, never been running in my life before this spring. And I ran 5 kilometres. Was it really me? I still can’t quite believe it.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

C25k: Progress

First things first, no those aren’t my legs, maybe one day. For now I am into week 6 of the Couch to 5k training plan and I am loving it. Apart from a short break, due to a back spasm, it has all gone smoothly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been hard but I havn’t failed to complete any of the runs.

I’ve gone from struggling to run for 1 minute to being able to run nonstop for 20 minutes. My next run will be for 25 minutes, that will be a challenge. But the beauty of this plan is that I am sure I can do it. It seems to have formed a mindset where running is just putting one foot in front of the other. Simple as that.

The challenges will keep getting harder and eventually I will be trying to run faster, but for now it’s slow and steady wins the day. Overall, the sense of accomplishment is amazing. I’m built like a rugby player, and a retired one at that, not a runner. So no matter your size, this plan works. Why not give it a go?

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish