Running Novice to 10k - with the help of The Park Royal Health Club

Some of you, I hope, will recognise me from my role as part of the Park Royal Leisure Club Marketing Team and, for those who do not then, Hello, I am Jayne (Dickens).

Firstly, a warning … but no apology. This is my first attempt at writing a 'blog' and my aim is to share with you my journey from being a 'non-runner' to, hopefully, being someone who runs my first 10k in May 2018. At 54 this is certainly going to be a challenge, especially as my exercise regime over the past few months has been a few lengths of swimming and the occasional long walk. The main reason I have undertaken this challenge is with the aim of raising funds for the NSPCC, but also to take myself out of my comfort zone and to try a form of exercise that lots of people seem to rave about.

In the past I have tried to get into running, mainly on my own, always finding it something of a chore, even when listening to music. Most of the time I have quickly been out of breath and, after a few half-hearted attempts, usually given up within a couple of weeks.I do not think that I have ever gotten the kick out of running that many runners claim they do.

And so, in order to start the New Year with some optimism and the resolution to 'give it another go', on the morning of Sunday 7 January I went with a friend to Victoria Park, Warrington, to join in the Park Run for beginners. I should quickly add that I nearly cried off when I saw the temperature outside was below zero and it is true to say that I also felt a little nervous.

However, guilt got the better of me and at 8.45am me and my friend (who is a regular runner of 10k or more), who had very kindly agreed to support me on my first occasion, joined a group of about 20 people walking out of Victoria Park, all commencing on a nine-week training programme for novice runners, with the general aim of being able to run 5k at the end of the programme.

The training session involved us firstly running for 60 seconds, then walking at a fast past for 90 seconds and, thereafter, repeating this until we had finished the 'run'. Everyone was friendly and encouraging, and I really enjoyed meeting a real mix of people; some were experienced runners but others, like me, were totally new to the event. Chatting (or attempting to chat whilst running) certainly helped me to keep going. 

This morning, Sunday the 14 of January, had me joining the group of beginners at Victoria Park once again. Was it any easier this morning I ask myself? To be honest it did not feel like it and I still cannot imagine being able to run 5k without walking or stopping in between runs. However, the coaches who lead the run and others regular runners have all assured me that if I stick to the weekly programme I will accomplish the 5k at the end of the programme on the 10th of March.

In between the two Sunday morning sessions I have followed the suggested programme and also ran twice during the week on my own; which is not quite the same or as enjoyable as running with a group. I found wearing headphones and listening to suitable music for solo runs really helpful; this was certainly the case when I struggled and wanted to give up and just walk home.

As a general note, running in the dark is something new to me and I advise carrying a torch so that you can see where you are going and to avoid obstacles, such as uneven footpaths, etc. A fluorescent jacket is also vital so that you can be easily seen, particularly when crossing roads. Oh, and water … you need some to stay hydrated.

I know that my morale will more than likely be up and down over the coming weeks and I look forward to hearing from those of you who do run and those of you who do not, with tips on how to best progress or even if just for general support, that would be most welcome.

I have yet to get that feeling of euphoria when completing a run, but who knows maybe the running bug will get me yet! Over the coming weeks I will be keeping you updated on my running progress and my plans for generally getting more fit.

My next blog will document my time with The Park Royal's personal trainer Anthony, who will look at my nutrition and carry out a personal MOT to help understand my fitness levels.

Bye for now, Jayne - Newbie Runner.

Quote from Jeff Galloway, US Olympian, Runner and Coach

'The more you frame the marathon as a stressful experience, the more negative messages you'll receive.

'But it is just as easy to frame it as a positively challenging journey.'






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