Note: You can see all of my runs and progress towards the Great North Run in September on my Strava profile, which can be found here.
February marked that I had been running for 6 months. It’s now the end of March, but I thought I’d take a look back over my progress so far.
How did I get here? Good question. I certainly didn’t think I’d still be going. In September I realised that I’d continued to put on weight during my time as a student, and also didn’t really have any hobbies. I had dabbled in cycling the previous summer, so I at least knew that I liked the idea of exercise, but I was also convinced that running wasn’t for me; it was boring, hard and bad for your knees. But I also knew that I’d be getting married in less than a year and I wanted to look a little better than I did at the time. I’d known of a few others who had started running and had told me a bit about it, so it seemed like a decent place to start.
So I downloaded the NHS Couch to 5k App and on Wednesday 16th September, I went for a run. I can’t say that I enjoyed it, or that I stuck to the program and ran consistently. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought. So I kept going. By the time I’d ran enough to have covered 3 weeks of the 9 week plan, I decided just to keep going and ran 5k. The sense of achievement was amazing, the idea that I had ran 3 miles unbelievable. This was in October.
Time: 2h 52m
Time: 2h 42m
By November, I was really starting to enjoy it. I was running 5k 3 times per week, hitting PB’s and increasing my distances. I continued to track it all so that I could track my progress.
Time: 6h 42m
December was much the same – faster 5k’s, My first 10k, I even got a Garmin running watch and ran on Christmas Day. Looking back, did I overdo it? Probably, but I was having fun.
Time: 5h 27m
In January I signed up to do the Great North Run in September. No problems yet, but I titled my run on Thursday 7th ‘Cut short by a sore knee’. The first sign that I was pushing it! A great month overall, but I hit some trouble at the end and didn’t quite meet my goal of consistently running 3 times per week. I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t run far and fast at the same time! I did a pretty speedy 10k, but it messed me up in the longer term.
Time: 8h 13m
February was probably at once my most and least successful month of running. On one hand, I ran for the longest and furthest that I ever have, and successfully increased my speed on average. But I also hit a bit of an injury scare again towards the end of the month – and have been working back up ever since. I wrote a separate post reviewing the month in a bit more detail.
Time: 7h 5m
Time: 35h 34m
(As of right now, I’ve ran 10 more minutes and 7km more this year than I did in 2015!)
So that’s me so far – genuinely enjoying myself and considering running a hobby rather than a chore. This month I’ve cut back my distances and am trying to establish a base, but I hope to feel fully recovered from my dodgy knee soon and able to up the pace.
In the future I plan on writing a bit more about why I’m enjoying it so much and how I’d recommend that complete beginners can go about starting running, but for now I have only one piece of advice after looking back over my running so far: don’t push yourself too far! Running slower, further and enjoying yourself is much better in the long term.