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At Fire & Earth, we get a fair share of runners coming into our clinics to have ‘maintenance massages’. Almost every day I would come across a runner and question myself – “Why do they enjoy it so much?!” (The running - not the massage. Everyone enjoys a massage!) 
 
Following the first lockdown I felt a need for change, so coupled with the daily intrigue for people’s love of running, I finally pursued running myself. I started with the famous Couch to 5k. Here’s my weekly progress… 

Week One – Death. 

You can call me dramatic or whatever else, but my goodness. The. First. Run. Was. Hell. 
 
I reluctantly put on my running shoes, selected a playlist of bangers (90s and 00s hits I thought would help lift my mood and my feet) and finally fired up the Couch to 5K app. Feeling slightly psyched but mostly apprehensive, I started to walk whilst gradually picking up some pace and slowing back down. Until before I knew it I had done 30 minutes of running/walking and boy I felt pretty elated to had completed my first ‘run’. That was until the demoralising words were announced via the C25K App… ‘Well done, you have just completed an 8-minute run’. 8 MINUTES?! I looked like a Tomato with the voice of Darth Vader for completing just 8 MINUTES OF RUNNING?! 
 
The rest of the week went by with the same thing; run, walk, run, walk, run, walk for 30 minutes until I looked like a tomato. I remember running through my head “I can’t say I love running or understand people’s love for it yet, but I have started.” 

Week 2 – Same Old + 2 Minutes. 

The only difference between Week 1 and Week 2 is there was an extra 2 minutes of running in total. Still no shred of love for running to be found, saying that though, I did enjoy the fresh air considering how busy work was at this point. 

Week 3 - Shhh I might quite like this running stuff. 

Throughout Week 3 the benefits started to come across. I started running as much as I was walking by this point! In doing so I felt good about myself and felt a real sense of motivation to go running. There was no ‘I don’t want to be here’ or ‘I can’t be bothered’ throughout my run. The sense of motivation and genuine enjoyment was a massive turning point for me as I don’t think I have ever felt that before/during exercise. 

Week 4 - At what point can I call myself a runner? 

Nothing overly notable about this week. But I was recovering quicker (thank God!) and started to run more than I was walking. Professional runner in the making? Yeah, I think so too. 

Week 5 - Wow that was a massive jump! 

The week started off like the previous, seeing daily improvements in my walk/run time. Positive vibes! 
 
That was until I was kindly greeted by my C25K App, before my third run of the week, that I was about to put myself through a 20-minute run. NON-STOP. I was dreading this as previously I’d be stopping every other minute to catch my breath. Not this time. But I channeled my inner Mo Farrah and I smashed it - no stopping, no throwing up and no passing out, for a whole 20 minutes. 

Week 6 - You’ve got this. 

I may have just smashed a 20-minute run the week before. But boy oh boy did I feel the brunt of it. Week 6 felt never ending as a result. But I soldiered through it and completed another week of running. 

Week 7 – Pardon? Did you say a full week of just running? 

Yes. I was a certified runner by this point. One whole week of running with no run/walk malarkey. To say I enjoyed it might be an overstatement, but I certainly felt a great satisfaction that I had completed 3 x 25-minute runs throughout the week. 
 
Although one problem was becoming apparent, and it might sound a really minor thing, but I was struggling to find a good route to run. My geography, even in a 25-minute running radius, is terrible. I found I am better if I run back on myself rather than go round in a circle, which was sometimes a little boring but that’s how I gauge the distance I have left before I can stop rather than guessing how far I have to go. 

Week 8 - New shoes, who dis? 

Week 8 started badly. I managed to bag myself 2 very impressive blisters that made it so bad that I couldn’t wear shoes properly - let alone run, so I had to take a break until I could at least put some shoes on. 
 
On the plus side, I decided that I was doing so well in my running anyway that I had warranted the right to a new pair of running trainers and I am going to be honest it made me super happy. 
 
I felt pretty apprehensive following my short spell of no running. Would I complete the full 30 minutes I was expected to achieve? Well as it would have it, I did. Maybe the little break and new running shoes helped! 

Week 9 - Can we hit 5k? 

The Final Week. The week of the illusive 5k run from the couch. 
 
I threw on my new shoes, pre-planned my route, got my 90s music fired up (the one thing that never changed) and made way. 
 
Fast forward to 35 minutes later and I did it. I had completed a non-stop 5km run! I achieved the one thing I set out to do, and I was so proud of myself! So proud in fact I have kept running to this day. I also no longer sound like Darth Vader nor look like a tomato following my run, which might just be the biggest win of all! 

Conclusion & Tips 

I never considered myself a person who would become a ‘runner’, especially telling myself that I wouldn’t every day, but following this running experience I can safely say I feel like a proper runner - and I enjoy it! (Shh don’t tell anyone!). 
 
I might not be an expert in running, as much as I might like to think so, but here are 5 tips to help guide you as a new runner! 
 
Pick some really cheesy music (don’t tell anyone). This tends to be the music that has a really good beat to run to! 
Don’t apply too much pressure to yourself. If you run slowly it doesn’t matter you are running and that is all the aim is. Any running is better than no running at all. 
Run at you’re a steady pace. It’s very easy to go too fast at the start and then regret it. 
Plan a good route, whether it’s a loop or a run there and run back. Running a boring route/the same route all the time doesn’t help with the appeal to go running. If you can see some nature, all the better. 
Above all, this I feel is the most important tip. You don’t have to feel like you should be enjoying the run. Running isn’t all fun and games. If anything, you’re lucky if you do enjoy it. Just try and embrace the euphoria of completing whatever target you’ve set yourself. 
 
If you’re new to running and you find yourself with aches and pains, book an appointment with Fire & Earth to keep you on track. 
 
Good luck! 
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