When I started running this year, right at the fore of my mind was my three or four failed attempts at trying to get in to running. In the past, I would start running, pick a race (typically a Race for Life or Exeter’s Santa Run), and pressure myself to get to a magical milestone in time for the race. I never stuck with it. I don’t know whether it was the pressure I put myself under, eventually giving in to crippling self-doubt, or whether I just didn’t suit the plan I was using. I suspect it was a combination of both. For a long time, before I’d heard of Couch to 5k, I used Running Made Easy‘s “60 Second Secret Plan”.
This is pretty much the same as C25K, but the big difference for me, and what I think I struggled with, was having to keep track of the time myself. I would constantly be looking at my watch instead of focusing on running, willing the seconds to pass quicker. C25K, of course, being a podcast, tells you when to start and stop so you don’t have to worry about the timing. Yeah the music is a bit odd, but I’d rather that than have to work it out myself.
Armed with Couch to 5k, my kit and some enthusiasm, I headed out at the end of January. I ignored the conventional wisdom pumped out by the running magazines – sign up for your first race so that you have a goal. I didn’t want to. I wanted my running to be more of a regular thing than I had managed in the past, and I thought that would be counter-productive. I focused on being able to get to Week 9 of C25K. I then started a 10k plan. I fell off the wagon, attempted to climb back on, and then slipped off again.
A shift happened, and I started looking around for 10k races. I feel that I am ready to take on that kind of challenge now. I know I can do 5k (ok, not quickly, but I can), and I’ve really enjoyed my parkruns, but I want to look at the next stage.
Where am I now, in terms of my running and fitness? I’m not in my best place. I’m heavier than I’d like to be still, and I have struggled with Slimming World lately. I’ve missed 2 weeks, and had booked holiday for one, so it’ll have been 4 weeks this week since I last showed my face. I haven’t progressed with C25K after coming back from Cyprus. I would roll out my list of excuses, but I need to be more proactive – running is good for my body and my mental state, and I am going to need to take better care of both, especially over the next few weeks. Work is ramping up quickly, and I feel like time is quickly trickling away before the wedding now. Running will help me deal with this.
With all of this in mind, I looked for winter 10ks. I settled on Weston Athletics Club’s Christmas Cracker 10k. I’d read good things about it on the Runners World event review (back in the day, when I was a subscriber), and it is conveniently in Weston-Super-Mare, where I can kill two birds with one stone – run, and drop off Christmas presents for the in-laws (maybe even get fed with mother-in-law’s amazing moussaka after the run). Sunday 15th December will see me huffing and puffing my way along the beach (I’ll need to get some sand running in on a couple of runs) and back along the tarmac, all for a t-shirt and mince pie. Father-in-law is also running it, but I don’t think we’ll be running together, given he’s an 8 minute miler, and I’m 14 at the moment.
My plan? Back to Hal Higdon’s 10k plan. I made it up to 4 miles on the plan earlier in the summer, and I enjoyed the shift in focus on to distance rather than time. I’ve popped the runs in my diary, having tweaked it around a bit so that I can get parkruns on Saturday in and make it to Slimming World. I’m starting the plan a little bit before (it’s an 8 week plan, and I’m starting at 9 weeks before), so I plan to break myself in on Week 1 this coming week, and repeat it the week after.
Now, one thing is that fancy dress is optional, tinsel is mandatory. Any dress-up ideas (which was free or cheap – it is nearly Christmas!) would be most appreciated!
I won’t wear a beard though. I wore a beard for the Santa run, and ended up breathing a lot of it in. I guess that’s why you don’t see too many beardy runners…