Tabitha shares her personal feelings about taking on the running challenge
Until four months ago, I could not have conceived of calling myself 'a runner' – I was sure that it was something obviously, even inherently impossible. I'm not sure what made me so sure, since I've led a fairly active life and have exercised in many different ways. Yet for some reason the thought of jogging for 30mins straight seemed insurmountably difficult.
Somehow, the idea of learning to jog began circulating amongst my friends and family. Many were total beginners, and enthusiasm occurred across the whole spectrum of age, shape and size. I was intrigued, and discovered a quiet envy for the joy and achievement that runners reported. I was also looking for a way to increase my overall fitness to combat the pain I feel from old sporting injuries – the relationship between increased fitness and decreased pain experience has been a valuable lesson I have learned from The Fix Program.
Soon afterwards, a friend recommended the book Running like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley. Initially it reads like a runner's memoir, telling the tale of Heminsley's own journey in becoming a runner – from the first agonizing jog to her marathon peaks and troughs. She demonstrates that while running requires some commitment, its rewards are many, particularly for your self-confidence. She encourages the reader to tie up their laces, give it a go, and keep running regularly. Ideal for novice runners, this book's heartfelt, conversational and hilarious style guides you through your concerns and assures you that they are both common and unfounded. It also includes very helpful practical pointers about running, debunking ineffective practices and thoughts that beginners (such as myself!) could fall into and offering positive advice in its place. I took her advice and resolved to start running.
To help me along the way was the popular smart phone app called Couch 2 5K. This isa complete jogging program that aims to turn a beginner into a 5km runner – about 30mins of continuous running – in just nine weeks. The app directs you through audio cues, easily heard over music, to alternate between walking and jogging in prescribed intervals over half an hour. The lengths of the jogging intervals are slowly increased throughout the sessions, and the change felt gradual and entirely manageable to me. This handy, practical tool uses the principles of goal setting and pacing (as discussed in many Fix Program classes). With this you can slowly and steadily achieve your jogging goals while giving the body time to recuperate between sessions. This helps in avoiding the boom-bust cycle of yoyo exercisers and the associated injuries and discouragement I had both experienced and been warned about in Heminsley's book. By the end of nine weeks I had read the book twice and could jog without stopping for a full half hour – I was completely transformed, both mentally and physically, and feel fitter and more confident than my pessimistic past self would have believed possible.
Maybe you too can become a runner?