This may be a bit of a pre-emptive review, but it feels like I could do with a bit of a boost, so it seems a good time to look back over how far I’ve come.
This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted the C25K programme. Over the past four years I’ve had three stalled attempts at starting. The first two times I went for slightly overambitious early morning runs, not realising that I was running too fast, that while it was exhilarating, it wasn’t much use if I couldn’t finish the first 60 second interval, nevermind the whole session and was too discouraged to try again, convinced that I was just too heavy to run. The third time, I finally slowed down sufficiently by running indoors, and was incredibly proud of myself for making it into week 4, when I moved to a new area and had a lot less time on my hands. The programme slipped away, but at least I knew that I could do it, if I gave myself a break and didn’t push too hard.
Starting again this time was a bit of an accident… but a happy one. I was texting a friend about how reasonable the programme is, and when he asked me why I didn’t finish it. ‘Sod it, I’ll start tonight,’ I replied. I’d known for a long time that it was something I could and should do, but telling someone about it, knowing I would be asked how it was going over the coming days, was real motivation to actually get going.
Being fairly overweight (230ish lbs), I’m incredibly self-conscious when it comes to exercising in front of people, especially outdoors, so I knew I’d need a plan to get started and build some confidence before I hit the streets properly. I’d been thinking about starting C25K again for months, so I had already downloaded a batch of podcasts and scoped out a multi-storey car park next to my street. It was a reasonable size, good surface, quiet and safe; so in the evenings I could huff and puff, plodding along as slowly as I needed to without worrying about being overlooked.
That first run was harder than I’d expected it to be. I was disappointed at how tired I got during the 60 second runs, and how slowly I had to go to finish them. I was determined not to beat myself up though. All that mattered was that I did the time and finished the intervals, I had plenty of time to build up time and speed, but it was only going to happen if I persisted. Besides, the slower I started, the more impressive my improvements would be.