April 13th 2015
The beginners' running diary: part one
August 19th 2014 / 2 comments
Three members of the Glossy Posse have embarked upon an almighty fitness journey to complete a 10k run, and it's not all plain sailing
Deciding that it was finally time to trade in our Twix bars for trainers, Kiran Branch (Health and Beauty Editor) and Hanna Ibraheem (Community Co-ordinator) and I agreed to take part in Sure Run To The Beat - a 10k race around Wembley park on September 14th. No ordinary 10k race, Sure Run To The Beat is based upon the importance of music in exercise and includes DJ sets playing all around the course, whilst a headline act waits to lead a celebratory party at the finish line. More importantly though, all the money raised for the event goes towards funding life-saving research into blood cancers, specifically Leukaemia and Lymphoma research - an extremely worthwhile cause.
Unfortunately, to say that we three are inexperienced in exercise is an understatement of epic proportions. Recently, after waking up late for work I was clambering around my bedroom throwing clothes on, and I got a stitch - yes, a stitch from dressing myself. The finish line was looking very, very far off.
So, filled with enough trepidation and self-doubt to sink a small ship, we set off for our first meeting with our Fitness First personal trainer, Andy McTaggart (we’ve taken to calling him Handy Andy which I’m pretty sure he finds fairly irritating) to discuss our workout plan.
“Ideally I’d advise beginners to train for about twelve weeks when working up to running a 10k," Andy informs us, shortly after we establish we have around six - well, five given that we’re not allowed to train in the week before the race, as otherwise “you’ll run the risk of wearing yourselves out.” So that’s five, just five measly weeks to breathe some life into our limp and feeble bodies - but hey, what’s a challenge without a disastrously close deadline?
Before embarking upon our exercise journey though, Andy had a few horrifying demands up his sleeve - a weekly food diary, so that he could monitor our nutrition intake and an appointment for him to collect our weight, height and *gulp* body fat percentage. In theory, being shamed into improving our diet along with tracking the changes to our bodies was a good thing, but having to actually step onto those scales and then confess to devouring not two but three Mars bars wasn’t cool.
In the first week of training the aim was to get our bodies moving but not to go too hard - it was about regular workouts, not ruthless ones. We were tasked with completing three half-hour interval runs based on a run-walk principle whereby, over the next few weeks, we will gradually increase the time spent running and limit the time spent walking. For our first ever run, the machines were ‘coincidentally’ placed by a window overlooking a sunny pub garden filled with beer drinkers and chip scoffers - a test of our commitment and mental endurance I’m sure. By some miracle however, we managed to cover 3k - not bad for a bunch of sissies.
In addition to running, we were also under strict instructions to complete a yoga or Pilates session each week to help stretch out our never before used muscles and mentally ‘wind down’. I’m not so sure about the downward dog or halasana move, but when called upon to adopt the corpse position, we really came into our own.
We switched things up in week two by swapping in a cycle session in place of one of the runs so that we kept up the level of cardio, but gave our joints a breather. The runs were slightly lengthened too. Two minutes of running became three and we started increasing our speed levels after noticing that 7.0 on a treadmill was actually more of a quick march and that even the borderline obese man alongside was smoking us at a speed of 11.
Our new found cockiness was shortly outlived, however. Early on in the week Hanna suffered an allergic reaction to something which, after having calmed down, reared its ugly head again after a gruelling 70 minute workout in the gym - we concluded that she’s in fact allergic to exercise and are concerned that it may be highly contagious... (official conclusion still to come).
We skipped our compulsory yoga session (whoops) for an early morning HIIT class with Handy Andy himself. I’ll admit, I turned up thinking ‘how tough can a half hour class be?’ Extremely is the answer. It’s now been nearly a week and I’m only just regaining the feeling in my thighs and walking less like a constipated turkey. The lesson here? Never underestimate the power of an intense HIIT class, and burpees are the work of the devil.
So, we managed to complete our first two weeks of training without anybody crying (publicly), projectile vomiting or dying - largely it all went much better than expected. Join us in two weeks' time when we'll let you know how we've improved...
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