January 1st 2023.
Like most people in the world I decided to also make a New Year’s resolution to get more exercise and get fitter, but this time I was determined to stick to it.
As far back as I can remember (I’ve always wanted to be a gangster) — No not really, that’s just a movie quote that always pops into my mind whenever anyone says ‘as far back as I can remember.’
Drop me a tweet if you know where its from.
Sorry… where was I?
As far back as I can remember I’ve always been a little overweight and unfit. I’ve never really been into any sports and struggled with Asthma as a child which meant I wasn’t very active.
These days, as a Developer I spend most of my day sitting at a desk and since I work from home most of the time I literally have zero commute time or reason to walk around during my day.
But now, as I’ve recently turned 40 and am a father of two children, it’s time for a lifestyle change to get somewhat in shape.
My goal for this year is to run 5K (ideally in under 30 minutes) which may not sound too ambitious but I know it’s going to be a challenge for me.
As an adult, my Asthma has pretty much cleared now so endurance is less of an issue but overall fitness has been lacking in my life for several years.
Building a Foundation
Since January, I’ve been making an effort to go for a 30 minute walk every day. This is usually on my lunch break and whenever I can fit it in on the weekends. Its a time when I catch up with podcasts, plan out blog posts and generally just have a break from working.
It’s been great for mental health too. I find myself feeling more energetic and generally in a better mood after going for a walk and really notice the difference on the odd days where I’ve had to skip it.
On each walk I try and pick up the pace a little or take a different route which might be a little more uphill. These micro adjustments not only keep the walks interesting but over time they compound and make the move to running easier.
After five weeks of daily walks I felt I was in the right frame of mind to start running. I researched the Couch to 5K plan and downloaded a few of the many iPhone apps available to guide you. I settled for the NHS app, which is totally free and has a few famous voices to motivate you and guide you on when to run and walk and cool down, etc.
I’d already been tracking my walking on Strava and I have a few friends on there who are very much into running and some that are taking the 5K challenge too so it really helped to have a bit of a community with me.
The plan is pretty simple (but not easy).
It’s a 9-week programme where you run 3 times a week at your own pace. Each run is a mixture of walking and running and each week the ratio of walking to running adjusts until finally you’re running a full 5K in around 30 mins.
Day 1 was a struggle. My breathing was erratic, heart was pounding and legs felt really sore afterwards. But it’s surprising how quickly the body adjusts. By day 3 I felt that I was breathing much slower, running far more upright and keeping up a higher pace during the walking portions.
At the time of writing this post I’ve just completed week 3 so I’m a third of the way through. Over the next few weeks I’ll be focusing on picking up my pace and trying out some new routes.
So Far So Good
Reflecting on the journey so far, I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made and feel motivated and determined to get through the next 6 weeks.
Running a 5K has been on my goals for at least five or six years but I’ve never acted on it until now.