At the moment I would class myself as an unfit runner, a total beginner. After a couple of enforced breaks from running this month due to illness (I had no idea I would turn into Miss Migraine at the age of 35) I am back pounding the pavements of Four Oaks and Marylebone. I have just struggled to complete Week 7 of the Couch to 5K; Week 8 with its three sessions of 28 minutes of continuous running awaits me. I really need to nail Week 8 of the C25K because due to an epic planning fail my half marathon training starts this month!
I decided to share some of the more random thoughts I have been having during my runs. I want to make sure that (a) I’m not going totally loopy* and (b) that other runners have totally random thought processes.
Each C25K training session starts with a brisk 5-minute walk. I assume that this brisk walk is meant to form some sort of warm-up, but during the winter the brisk walk has made me cool-down rather than warm-up.
During the “warm-up” my first thoughts have been “Bloody hell its cold today, I haven’t put enough layers on” followed by “I feel like a right plonker walking down my road in my running gear. Perhaps I should buy an “Injured Runner” badge?” and then “Stop flattering yourself Emma. People don’t give a shit what you are doing”
I eventually reach the end of the 5-minute “warm-up” and start running. I’m paranoid so I like to check that all of my injury prone “bits” are feeling OK “My foot feels fine, my groin feels fine and my calves are feeling fine. I’m good to go”
As I run downhill towards the local Nature Reserve, the world is a happy place “Running is easy, I have no idea what all the fuss is about” and “I‘ve only got to run for 25-minutes, any idiot can run for 25-minutes, I can do this, I will be fine” and then “I don’t remember having all these wobbly bits before, I need to buy a decent sports bra, if only Shock Absorber bras weren’t so expensive”
I reach the main road and have to stop running as there is a car heading towards me, the car turns into a side road without indicating “Stupid** Audi driver, why didn’t you bother to indicate? I could have carried on running. Why is it always Audi/BMW/Mercedes drivers?”
After eventually crossing the main road I glance at my Garmin “I can’t believe I’ve only been running for 8-minutes, it feels like I’ve been running for ages”
As I reach one of the numerous hills*** in Four Oaks I experience running in London envy “I really miss living and running in London. London is so flat that running is a piece of piss” and “I guess that all these hills will eventually make me a better runner”
As I eventually reach the top of the hill I’m feeling pretty awesome “That’s one hill beaten, only another five to go” followed by “I can hardly breathe now, slow down Emma”
I suddenly spot another runner in the distance and switch into competitive runner mode “Put your foot down Emma, you are so slow it’s embarrassing”
I furtively glance at my Garmin “Wow I’ve reached 15-minutes without stopping, go me!”
After 15-minutes of running, however, I’m really starting to struggle and the totally random thoughts start. I suddenly think about Paula Radcliffe “What was it Paula Radcliffe once recommended? I remember, counting to 100; Paula used to count to 100 when she hit a tough patch in a marathon”
“1,2,3,4,5,6,7…. sod counting to 100, I’ll try reciting the alphabet A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I… actually no, I’ll think about my research”
At this point I’ll usually have an amazing idea for the research paper I’m writing. The idea is so amazing that by the time I reach the end of my run I’ve forgotten it (I also have great ideas in the middle of the night but have usually forgotten them by the morning).
I’ve now reached Blake Street train station, the midpoint of my run and have a route dilemma… “Shall I run through the train station and back towards home or shall I run along the main road? I know, I’ll run along the main road as I’m less likely to walk if there are loads of people and cars”
I’m now feeling really, really tired, I hate being this unfit. The Lichfield Half Marathon is a distant dream. Although I’m only wearing a t-shirt and thin jacket I’m feeling far too warm. I look at my Garmin for the millionth time and discover that I’ve only been running for approximately 20-minutes. Arse! I turn away from the main road, one minute I’m running and then suddenly…“I can’t breathe, my legs are like lead weights, I really, really need to walk”
I’m walking and once again I have bailed out of a relatively easy training run. I have failed again. Emma you are a failure. I allow myself a 30-second walking break to recover and then force myself to run “Come on Emma, you only need to run for another 5-minutes, you can do it, don’t be so bloody lazy” and “If you can’t even manage 5-minutes you should quit running”
I finish the final 5-minute run and arrive home feeling like I’ve failed to successfully complete another training session. I look in the mirror and discover that I look like a lobster “How on earth do all these runners look perfect at the end of a marathon?”
I’m now thinking about investing in some decent sports headphones. I suspect that listening to music while I’m running will help. Can anyone recommend some headphones that will enable me to listen to music whilst remaining aware of my surroundings? I don’t really want to be squashed by 85-year old Mavis reversing off her driveway without looking. I really want to defend my PhD thesis. Otherwise I could always find some slightly less undulating training routes,
Things can only get better!
*I’m already slightly loopy.
** I may have used a different word.