Running wrong

Last night we went running and for the first time Grant ran behind me, and took a look at how I ran. He realised something a bit odd – I wasn’t picking up my feet or swinging my arms the way you should if you’re running. I hadn’t realised, but when I thought I was jogging I was in fact doing something closer to race-walking.

I know it sounds completely ridiculous to suggest I wouldn’t know what my body was doing – but this is part of why this is a real challenge for me. I don’t have a great relationship with my body at the best of times. I don’t know it well; I don’t know its capacities or capabilities, where it works well and where it doesn’t; I don’t know how to use it. Yet. I’m desperately sad that it’s taken me 26 years to work out something so basic as this, but happy that it’s finally happened.

On the way home I ran properly. I ran downhill and Grant sang the free-running music from Assassin’s Creed, which is fantastically free-flowing and evokes big wide-arm-stretched I-am-running feelings, and I ran, and it felt good.

So this is a good thing, because I’m finally getting to know my body. And it’s a bad thing, because I’m doing nowhere near as well as I thought in terms of training. But it’s good in the long run, because now I know what was going wrong, why my calves and knees were hurting but my thighs weren’t, why I couldn’t keep up with Grant. Now I can get better at this.

So yay. Mostly.

Training, week 3

Yesterday, Grant and I went for a walk. It’s the third week of training, and I’m using the Couch to 10k app on the iPhone as a way to get me started. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve never done exercise before, and luckily the app isn’t kidding when it says it starts off at the lowest level.

Just before New Year, I started the programme. I wanted to start before January 1, because otherwise I’d be one of those January people who get all overexcited and overdo exercise in the first two weeks of the year and then stop completely and never start again. To be honest, I doubt the one 54-minute session actually made much difference in real life, but it did make a difference psychologically – by the time I started putting this website together and talking about A Series Of Tubes on Twitter, I’d already started. That helps.

The idea behind the programme is basic interval training. To begin with, you run for 30 seconds and walk for 4 and a half buy ambien online without prescription minutes, repeated 8 times over the course of nearly-an-hour. Slowly you increase the time spent running and decrease the time spent walking, and after 13 weeks, the theory goes, you can run for 55 minutes without stopping.

I am, frankly, sceptical – but so far it’s going well. After three weeks I’m up to running for a minute and a half at a time with 3.5min recovery periods – and I haven’t asphyxiated or fallen over yet. I’m clearly not ready to run a marathon yet, but I’m already able to run further than I’ve ever managed before in my life. (This should tell you quite a lot about how much running I’ve done before in my life…)

I’m also using Runkeeper to track my training, and looking into it as an option for live-tracking the walk itself, but so far I don’t have any friends on there. I could use some encouragement, so if you use it and you’d be happy to buddy up, let me know.