5km – done!


A while ago, I blogged about my decision to train for a 5km. I wrote about how I’m really not a natural runner, and how every single step seemed hard. I had signed up to run a 5km run for Millie’s Trust, a charity set up to provide First Aid for parents and carers. Millie, who the trust was named after, died after a choking incident in nursery last year, and the charity was set up by her parents. I wasn’t fit enough to simply turn up and run 5km; I would have to train for it.

This morning, I, and around 40 other mums, some with buggies and prams, ran 5km as part of Pramactive’s One Big Push event. 3 laps of a local water park might not sound a huge amount, but for me, it was a challenge. Still, I completed it.

I had done all my training on a treadmill at the gym – seeing as my training time is limited to the evenings, I wasn’t very keen on running around my local area. I hadn’t really appreciated the difference between running on a treadmill and running outside. The ground, and the hills, weren’t a problem, but the cold air was! On the plus side, it was lovely to see all the signs of spring, and running around a lake isn’t a bad way to spend a morning.

Tim and Ben came along to cheer me on, and Ben held up signs to cheer me on at the end of each lap. I don’t have any photos of the signs but here’s a photo of Ben:


It was one of my aims to run a 5km, and I’ve done it. My time was good – 29:45 – although I think the distance may have been just under 5km if I’m honest! I’d like to continue at this level of fitness, but I still don’t honestly think running is for me. I feel good after a run, but I really don’t enjoy it, and it is definitely a case of mind over matter.

However, the cause is the main thing, and I managed to raise over £150 in personal sponsorship, which I think is pretty good. And I was still smiling by the time I reached the finish line.



Finding my pace

The date for the 5KM run is looming: it is now 8 days away. I do think I can do it; I’m not convinced I will enjoy it. I can’t imagine it being the start of an addiction to running.

I’ve done 2 runs already this week, both on the treadmill at the gym. 4km and 4.25km, both around the 30 minute mark. I’m pleased, because it means I’m on track. I’m definitely getting fitter, and I almost enjoyed the first 3km tonight. Almost.

I ran the first 3km slightly faster than my normal speed – 8.5 instead of 8. It seemed to suit me better somehow. I don’t know if it was psychological, giving me a sense of beating my own progress. Perhaps it was more in keeping with the soundtrack in my headphones: Girls Aloud, if you’re interested. Perhaps it suited the length of my legs. Perhaps it’s just my body getting fitter.

Keep running…


I ran 3.5km today in 28 minutes. To most people, this wouldn’t be a big deal. To people who have run marathons, like my husband, this is like walking down the street. To me, it was quite a big deal.

3.5km in 28 minutes means I’m on track to complete 5km in three weeks time, with a time of around 40 minutes. I’ve built this up from 2.5km in a few weeks, despite having been ill and other things having to take priority. I’m making progress towards my goal.

I’m starting to think that running is a bit of ‘mind over matter.’ With the right soundtrack, and the right programme on the TV screen in front of me, the distance passes fairly quickly. If I think too much about each individual step, about my heart rate, my pace, my breathing, and exactly how far I’ve got to go, every single step is painful. So distraction is the key to it for me.

I saw a poster today inviting people to go for a 5km trail run on a Saturday morning around one of the parks in Greater Manchester. Rather than thinking, “Why would anyone want to do that,” my first thought was that I will be able to do things like that.  That would mean a real change of mindset for me. The challenge for me will firstly be getting to (and through) the 5km run; the greater challenge will be to maintain and improve upon that level of fitness.


A running start


I am not a natural runner. Swimming, totally, I could swim for ages and love being in the water. But running does not come naturally to me. Running hurts. Running makes your lungs scream for oxygen, your legs shake, your face go red. For me, running is not glamourous, relaxing or fun. It’s sheer hard work.

So I’m not sure why I’ve signed up to do a 5K next month. Partly, I suppose, it’s to give me some motivation to improve my fitness. I’ve doubled my swimming stamina since Baby Ben was born, but have barely improved my running at all. Partly, it’s because I was invited. A 5K isn’t something I would ever volunteer for without some pressure. Mainly, it’s because it’s for a good cause: Millie’s Trust, a local charity established following the death of a little girl in a choking incident at her nursery. The charity aims to improve first aid knowledge, particularly of parents and carers.

My training started this week. A friend who knows much more about running than I do suggested that my target time be around 40 minutes. I think this is about manageable. So on Monday night, I ran 2.5km on the treadmill at the gym. It took me around 18 minutes. Tonight, I ran 2.75km in 20 minutes.

My training plan is basic: increase the distance I run by 0.25km each session. I looked at Couch to 5K, and realised that if I only trained to run a 25 minutes stretch I wouldn’t be close to running 5K – more like 3 and a half. This way, I know where I am, I know what I can do, and I like the fact that the treadmill counts me through the distance. I can think, “Right, that’s 60% done; over half way.”

I am fairly certain that I will not enjoy the training. I don’t even know if I’ll enjoy the experience. But so far, knowing that I’ve run further in one go than I’ve run for well over a year is very satisfying. I feel a sense of achievement, and like the idea that in 9 more sessions I will be running 5K.

It’s only a 5K, and I know lots of people could run that at a moment’s notice. But not me. So this is a real challenge for an unnatural runner.