Couch to 5k...and beyond
There I am. An all too familiar scene. I realize it has crept up on me, without really noticing. Sure, the classic 'my jeans must have shrunk', amongst other excuses, have kept me going for a while. But now there is no getting around it. Summer holidays pics get dodged. If we go to the beach 'It's too cold to take my shirt off'. I find myself tending to just ignore that guy in the mirror. A brisk climb of the stairs leaves me breathing more heavily than I remember. There I sit, 40 years of age, out of shape, and disappointed in myself.
This was my story 6 months ago. The pressures of a modern working life had progressively been taking their toll. The best part of twenty years working hard as a dentist had left me disillusioned by the profession. I tried to hide my discontent with snack after snack during the day, and drinking too much of an evening. The occasional cycle or jog just left me sore, because I wasn't committing to regular exercise, and didn't fully understand warming up, warming down, stretching, balanced training of opposing muscle groups etc. etc.
It had become clear to me that something had to give, if I was to have the lifestyle that I truly wanted. So, I took the plunge. I left my lifelong career. I put all my efforts into my property company, and worked on it full time, which I love. (It's going really well, many thanks for asking!). But most importantly, I decided to take exercise seriously again.
I did have some experience of relatively regular running, back in my twenties. However, that was sadly quite some time ago. So, I tried the odd jog by myself, but my weight, coupled with my leg muscle imbalance just left my knees hurting all the time. It was clear that a gradual, correctly organized and coached strategy was going to be necessary. I was directed to my local run club, Run Knutsford.
Whilst apprehensive at first, the friendly gang soon helped me settle in just fine. I knew I could barely jog, let alone run longer distances. However, the beginners "couch to 5k" group was perfect for me. I realized that this section of the group was made up of people very similar to me. We worked through gentle balanced warm ups, mixing jogging with walking, all in a laid back supportive environment. I soon found myself going every week, and then twice a week. Soon the walks in between the jogging shrunk, and eventually were not required at all. I was then able to move up a group, and did indeed complete my first 5km distance run for many years!
Since then, I truly feel I have developed a great group of supportive club members around me, who welcome me back time after time, and really concrete the will to continue returning time and again. I would even say that proper friendships have been made. The experienced professional coaches are excellent, and help guide warm ups, different routes and training techniques every time. The clubs social side is great too, be it treasure hunt style running events, summer garden parties, the Christmas quiz and chili night, or even just a pub stop at the end of a session.
In the space of six months, I have gone from my couch, to the couch to 5 k group, to repeated 5k+ distances, and I am now enjoying getting much faster over a 10k distance. If you can relate to any of these experiences, or if anything here resonates with you, please do just come along and say hi. We only ask that you bring a smile.