Ever since I started running I’ve aspired to run for five kilometres without stopping. It’s what you’re supposed to aim for, and where all the running guides suggest that you start. I’m not sure why 5K is so magical. Why not three? And why is it always kilometres? I live in a country where we supposedly measure distance in miles. Although I learnt in metres at school, which means I can’t actually estimate length of any description.
I’ve ‘learnt to run’ three times now, with varying degrees of success, but each time with that magically elusive five kilometre goal in mind.
The first method had me start off by timing myself jogging and walking, and I had to buy a watch to sound an alarm when I was supposed to switch. This was great as I’m much better at buying sports equipment than I am at doing sports. I think the eventual idea was that I’d run more than I walked but I stopped way before we got there.
The second method was a variation on the first that involved running more than walking and a faster progression. But again, I never made it to anywhere near five kilometres before I got bored with the whole thing and gave it up as a bad job.
The third method was much better, and came in a book entitled ‘Run, Fat Bitch, Run’. The author, Ruth Field, pulls no punches and basically kicked my arse out of bed and into my running shoes five mornings out of seven for two months. She made me choose a route that took me 45 minutes to walk around, and then told me to keep running until I was tired. Then I was allowed to walk until I’d got my breathe back, at which point I had to run again. These were easy instructions for me to follow, and I loved her no-nonsense attitude. My favourite line from the book concerned people who weren’t partial to the taste of vegetables: “oh, spoilt as well as fat, are you?!’ !! Brilliant! But after a few months I fell first ill and then out of the habit. I still ran occasionally, but the lack of commitment meant that I hadn’t run for more than four kilometres.
Until Tuesday 10th February 2015 that is!!! On Tuesday I ran for five and a quarter kilometres!! Hooray! So how did I do it? What method did I use? What’s my secret? I’d love to tell you that I’d been building up to it. That I’d been following a plan. But the truth is that the week before I’d taken Kimber for a run, and just kept on running. When I got back I was amazed to see that I’d run 4.7K and still had legs and breath left to spare. I suddenly realised that 5K wasn’t so elusive after all. I’d created this magical barrier in my head, a distance I didn’t expect to be able to run. It suddenly felt like something that would be easy for me to do. So on Tuesday Kimber and I went for a run and added a couple of bits to our route, smashing the 5K marker! Yay! I can’t believe that I planned and aspired to 5K for so long, when all I had to do was run! 🙂