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Stepping up the pace

On a dark and wet January night last year, I decided it was time to get back into running. My last foray into running was over 10 years ago, when a friend decided she wanted to run a half marathon and she cajoled me into joining her. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with running, but with a young son and husband who works long hours, running seemed like a good exercise to choose as I can fit it in more easily than committing to classes.

Kick starting the process with the Couch to 5k

The Couch to 5K felt like a good place to start, but I knew I’d need a bit more than an app to get me going. So I booked a 6 week course with a local trainer who promised to get me to 5k at the end of the course. The first few weeks were tough, dark, cold, rainy – and even snowy, but I kept going and was really pleased to do my first 5K in week 5. It was more by accident than planning as the app I was using went silent so I kept running and waiting for it to tell me to stop, I finally gave in and checked it only to see I’d smashed the 5K. I now use a different app called mapmyrun to track my progress, it’s never let me down and is a great way to look back and see how far you’ve come on your running journey.

Taking my running to the next level

Since achieving my first 5K in over 10 years, my running bug has only grown. 18 months later, I’m running 3 or 4 times a week mostly on my own and then once a week with some girlfriends where we put the world to rights whilst pounding the Devil’s Punchbowl! I never thought I’d be able to run and chat, but actually, when we run together the time and distance is much easier with a good old chat to pass the time.

I’ve also really enjoyed doing the Parkrun, which is a free organised 5K every Saturday, held at over 600 locations across the UK. Hogmoor Inclosure Parkrun is our local and you will often find one or two people from Mzuri running there on the odd Saturday. It’s a great initiative and a fun way to try and improve your time as although it’s not a race, you get a time and can track your progress. Since my first Parkrun in February last year, I’ve shaved just over 9 minutes off my time to sneak under 29 minutes. My next goal is to get under 28 minutes – and even 27! 

Running with the little people in our lives

If you have little ones keen to join in with your running, why not go to Junior Parkrun together? It’s a 2K course for 4 – 14 year olds held at over 280 locations across the UK. All you need to do is get everyone registered, print your barcode…and run…jog…walk…skip…hop – and enjoy! 

The Great South Run in my sights

As well as regularly doing 5K, I’ve been pushing myself to run further and have signed up to do the Great South Run in October. It’s a 10 mile course around Southsea, so I’m hoping for a nice flat route, an overcast day and a sea breeze to help me along! I’m running for Cancer Research UK, so any sponsorship is greatly appreciated! Donate here.

Inspiring others to run

If you’re thinking of getting into running, or like me, picking up where you left off several years ago, the couch to 5K is a fantastic place to start. And get along to your local Parkrun to meet fellow park-runners and be swept along in the fun! A couple of others at Mzuri are now running and I’m happy to wax lyrical to anyone else looking to catch the running bug. 

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