The thing that has put me off running for a long time is the way it jars my body and the feeling that I’m slogging along clumsily and in a really uncomfortable way. Thing is, I’m fat, there’s not two ways about that, and if I jog using the heel strike method of running like I was taught, all that extra weight bounces up and down which makes me feel terrible. I always enjoyed Track and Field running more than Cross Country, even though the dirt track we trained on gave me terrible shin splints, and I think it’s because I got to run rather than jog.
To get myself mentally into running I began to read about it before I started. The first book I read was Running With the Kenyans, which is an ok book and an enjoyable read but not the best running book I’ve read (I’ve read a few more since then but I’ll talk about those at a later date). However, he talks quite a bit about barefoot running which I found interesting. Now, I live in the North East of England where it’s pretty cold in the winter and at the moment I run in the local woods on uneven paths dodging dog shit, rocks and muddy sections, so actually running barefoot isn’t something I’d ever contemplate, but the style is. From my first run I began to try to run landing mid-foot rather than on my heel and I can’t tell you the difference it has made.
See, the name Anna means graceful. If you ever saw me in person you’d find that as hilarious as I do as you watched me drop things and run into furniture, walls and doors. The only time in my life I have felt graceful is when I’ve been running, not jogging, running. In each of the runs I’ve done to date (which aren’t many, we’re talking 2 months and 5 weeks of the Couch to 5k Programme due to early injury and being extremely out of shape) I have tried to make sure that for a short while, sometimes less than a minute, I just run. I stretch out my stride, I land mid-foot and I just run. It’s holding onto that feeling and wanting to increase the amount of time I can do it that often keeps me going, the feeling is incredible.
I am starting to look at barefoot running shoes, not the no padding separate toes ones but shoes with little to no drop and enough padding in the front to survive the woods. I also would like a pair so I can run on the roads if I feel like it, at the moment my running shoes (a pretty cheap pair of New Balance ones that I love) are trail shoes so I’m limited to where I can go. I won’t be able to afford them probably until after Christmas now (maybe January sales will be kind to me) but I’m looking and trying to figure out what I’d like to try, and if I can find anywhere around here to actually try them (very limited on Sports shops except the big chain ones).
Today I ran for the first time in a week due to half term (I’m a single parent and limited to when I can run as my kids aren’t old enough to be left alone yet). I also had a really bad cold that totally wiped me out so actually half term was well-timed as I probably wouldn’t have been able to run anyway. I started with the first run of week 5 of C25K and am intending to go through the week completely this time and stop avoiding the 20 minute scary run that should happen on Wednesday. Today was three five-minute runs with three minutes of walking between them. The middle run sucked and was really hard, but the third run was actually pretty great and enjoyable and went much faster than I expected. Running towards home is always easier! My right foot fell asleep during the end of the third run though, it used to do that when I started the plan and I had thought it was because my old shoes were too small. I’m hoping that it’s just because I’ve not stretched every day or run in a week and it’ll go away again soon. It’s horrid trying to run with a dead foot, makes me feel like a zombie lurching along.
And finally, thank you to the walker who made a lot of noise as he came around the corner of the path and obviously saw me finishing a quick wee, by the time he emerged I was actually done and had my trousers back up but it was nice of him to warn me that he was there!