Want to live a bit healthier? Fed up with lockdown and being cooped up in your flat? Always wanted to start running, but tend to give up? Don’t worry, help is here!
A little recap: I started running in 2014. Then I got injured, purchased proper running shoes and drew up a training programme. In 2017 I successfully ran a half marathon. Afterwards I kept running and developed the crazy dream of once running a marathon. In 2019 I finally signed up and started training. As we all know, in 2020 corona hit. I got injured, my marathon got postponed & ultimately cancelled. Followed by the summer heat, not having any running goals and nothing to train towards, I gave up running altogether.
In December my colleague and friend Silvie mentioned she wanted to start running. I let the idea float around in my head for an evening and the next day I told her I’d happily join her in her efforts. Because really, all you need to get (back) into running is
Call it motivation, encouragement, support – but really, peer pressure is where it’s at. The social control that helps you succeed. Because we held each other accountable. For 10 weeks we showed up. Three times a week we would layer up, don a high-vis jacket get out in the dark and in the cold. And as we couldn’t physically run together, we would send each other photographic evidence of our achievements (and occasionally pain and exhaustion).
How did we do it? With the Start to Run programme (Flemish equivalent of Couch to 5k) . I still had the lessons on my MP3 player from a few years back; Silvie downloaded the app and followed the lessons there. It took us a few weeks to figure out that the lessons on the app have been updated since prehistoric MP3 versions, but it didn’t matter: we both covered the distance.
And so we faced cold and wind and hail and even a little snow and ice (we did take a break for a week until the snow and ice had melted). Some morning runs were dark and a little scary, some runs were accompanied by blue skies and lots of sunshine. But starting from a 20min run we moved up to about 35min with the goal of running 5km 10 weeks later. And we did it!
So find yourself a running buddy! Encourage each other, and celebrate your achievements together if you can. Silvie was very proud of herself (and so was I) with this major accomplishment. I had completed the programme in the past but wanted to do it to get back into a regular running routine with little risk of injury.
So what are you waiting for? Call your friends, put on your running shoes and go!