If my life was measured in running years……

I’d be approaching my 3rd birthday. I find that quite a reassuring concept. Although in general I feel like I’m getting a bit old and jaded, It’s cheering to think that there’s a part of me that’s new and sees the world as an interesting place full of wonder and potential.

The date of my first ‘run’ eludes me although the details of the event are clear in my memory. If I’d known that it was going to be such a turning point in my life maybe I would have jotted something down but I  couldn’t tell that on the day. It was springtime.

It was a Sunday morning and the rain was blowing horizontally. I decided not to wait to see if it stopped  because this was the day I was going to start so it had to be done. On a tidy up I’d found a walk/ run plan cunningly removed from one of the Sunday papers at new year. All that was required was 20 minutes of run/walk. Layers were piled on, cotton t shirt, fleece top, cagoul, tracky bottoms and my old trainers that had been through the washing machine a few times. Wrist watch on.

I couldn’t do the 2 minute run so I just did what I could, run walk, 10 minutes out, 10 minutes back, it was done. Although my skin was bright red from the cold and rain when I showered, (and my trainers had leaked!) I felt great. I’d done it and survived. I made reasonable progress and did my first 5k 3 months later. It was such an achievement, something that I never thought I’d be able to do.

despite all my reading I ignored most of the advice. My husband bought me a GPS watch with a heart rate monitor though I soon ditched the heart rate training zones in favour of pushing myself to run, I thought that I’d still be walking if I stuck to those zones! I managed to build up the miles but I wasn’t getting any faster. I had a permenantly stiff lower back, despite doing a few stretches.

Last Summer I hurt my back severely and it really knocked my confidence. I lost some of my enthusiasm for running too. I wanted to feel fitter, not hobble around in pain!  And so I accidentally slipped into cross training. Yoga to keep me stretched and supple, rowing to work the opposite muscle groups to running, swimming because it’s impact free.  Then the strangest thing happened. My running got faster!

So now I’m taking a few steps back, revisiting some of the theories I have read. Still doing the yoga and rowing, but the heart rate monitor has come out of retirement so that I can see what speed constitutes a ‘jog’ or ‘comfortable ‘ run, and keep 80% of my runs at this pace.  ( for me a HR of about 130). Then I have to work out what constitutes high intensity for the other 20%!

It it feels like I’m on a cusp, that finally I may achieve what I have wanted too, being a better runner ( ie faster for longer) but that ironically it may happen because I am learning to work smarter not harder  and push myself less.

If only I could do this in other areas of my life!!!!!


About mawil1

Hi my name is julie and I took up running at the age of 46! Hence 'mawil' Middle Aged Woman In Lycra. I did it at first because someone asked me to do a charity run with them. I couldn't run at all, but pride wouldn't let me be seen to be unable to run so I started a walk run programme. I stuck with it and to my surprise I found that I liked it- after a couple of weeks of progress I was hooked! My blog is about my progress in running and how I fit it in with the rest of my life.
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6 Responses to If my life was measured in running years……

  1. pwhent says:

    Fantastic post Julie. I read lots of blogs, some of them written by elite runners, people who are naturally gifted athletes, paid to train and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. But I will always get much more of a buzz from an uplifting post like this, than I will from all of their posts put together. You go girl. Just go!!!

  2. oscardiamond says:

    Exciting, isn’t it, to feel you’ve got new potential because of doing something differently. You are very motivated to work around a problem. That’s good, innit?

    • mawil1 says:

      Just like a 3 year old I can’t be told, I have to work it out for myself!!!
      Turns out my mother was right ( she says I’m very stubborn. Now I’m grown up we say ‘tenacious’). But yes in the end it is good. Lol!!

  3. Nev Boyle says:

    I am always impressed not by the people who come first but by the rest of us .. well yes by the people who come first too .. I wonder what that feels like. Fitness health and good friends, running has it all. Good luck with your new cusp.

    • mawil1 says:

      Thank you nev. The good thing about running is that you can either run against yourself, or against others. I do wonder what it must be like to finish a 5 k in under 20 minutes! But I enjoy things like Parkrun where you can see other peole do that, but if you are at the back just trying to finish that’s ok too. Everyone supports everyone else because they remember what is was like starting out or being injured or in some cases being a county runner in their youth!

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