I’m Paul Judd and I’m a runner!!
I never thought I’d say that and to be honest I’ve been a bit of a running sceptic for some time. But I had a real awakening after finally deciding to give running a go when it became too dark to cycle in the evenings.
I had taken up cycling again in April in an attempt to get back into exercise... and had been swapping notes with Lindsey Tuley about cycling vs. running during the summer. She introduced me to stretching (still not great at it), Map my Ride/Run (which I love as you’ll know if you follow me on Facebook), and the Run To Be Discussion Group.
My first run in mid October was a real eye opener though. I thought I’d be fine having been cycling all summer and I set off at a galloping pace, but I was soon gasping and found I couldn’t run for more than just a few minutes without having to stop. I also felt I was running like a toddler arms and legs all over the place and a danger to other pavement users!
Lindsey and the Run To Be group were great with advice and guidance at this point... and almost became agony aunts. Should I run on my toes or heels? Should my calves hurt so much? Should I drink lots or not? Is my choice of clothes helping or hindering? They had links to articles about things like interval running, running technique, eating and drinking, running gear, tips for new runners... and I gradually became more comfortable and confident.
It took some time and I had a few set-backs, but I gradually started to run further and further before my first stop, and my walking intervals were getting shorter and shorter. My biggest breakthrough came when I ran a completely new route on a Sunday morning... with more turns and changes of direction, less hills, and less long straight soul destroying sections (I’d grown to hate Fishponds Road with a passion!)
I stopped carrying so much stuff with me weighing me down, took off layers I really didn’t need, and concentrated on running rhythmically and with even pace particularly early on and have found that I can often finish quite strongly now. I also started to win the mental battles of “run tonight” or “sit on the couch”?.... and more importantly “stop now it's hurting” or “keep going, you wuss”. How tough are those mental debates though sometimes at the end of a long day?
I still felt a bit of a fraud as I wasn’t running the whole route but it was getting closer until the final fantastic breakthrough last week. I was on holiday in Scotland and decided to go for a run (who knew I would ever do that), and ran a 30 minute route without stopping for the first time. It was through the grounds of Huntly Castle and down by the river which probably helped but it was the first time I allowed myself to say... I’m a runner!
I’ve only ever run on my own so far but have set myself a goal to enter a 5k in the new year and maybe build to a 10k race. I’d love to be able to join one of the Run To Be sessions one day... I love the idea of starting a run at Frankie & Benny's!
So keep running, keep enjoying the buzz it gives you, and as so many people say... you never regret having gone out for that run!!