SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE's Valerie Paton had always said that she wanted to run a 10K race, but never had the will to go out there and do it. She had all the gear, she just didn't know where to start. So when the opportunity came around of doing a 5K beginners course with the Glasgow Running Network, Valerie grabbed it with both hands...
I started the beginners 5K course seven weeks ago and when my jog leader, Allison, told me that by the end of 10 weeks I would be able to run 5k without stopping, I didn't believe her. 7 weeks later and I have done it, with three sessions to spare. Allison now wants us to step up our distance slightly and she is over the moon at our progress.
I've always wanted to run, but never really knew how. So many people gave me so much advice, it got really confusing to know who to listen to and figure out what works best for me. Before starting this course, I would go out and run, not make it very far and get disheartened that I couldn't do it. I would try to run as far and long as possible, but then I would be so tired, that I couldn't run for another minute, even after a break.
The first week of my beginner course, Allison took the group out with a stop watch and a whistle. She had us run for one minute, then stop for one minute and built that up to two and three minutes running, around a 1.6 mile route. Week two, the route was extended, as were our running times, we ran up to five minutes at a time and, although I found it a bit of a step, it was giving me a lot of confidence.
By week 4, we were running a 5K route, running for longer intervals, but always stopping for just one minute in between. Last week, I managed the 5k route with just two stops and on Tuesday night, I didn't feel the need to stop at all! The satisfaction and feeling of achievement is incredible.!
I think the main things I have learnt are that I just needed to take it slowly and listen to my body. I had been told in the past to concentrate on breathing and technique, but in the end, it all just came naturally to me. I know that when I start off, I will feel pain through my legs for the first 5 or 10 minutes, then it will pass and my breathing will settle itself.
That is the main thing when you are a beginner runner, don't force yourself to run fast, take your pace down and build up your running intervals slowly. If you want to start running, look out for beginner courses in your local area, or go out yourself or with friends and take a stopwatch with you. You will soon see the progress, it will come naturally.
I am now looking to do a 10K in the new year, I am going to keep running, build up my stamina and pace and do the best I can. Running a 10K race has been a dream of mine for quite a while, I have the confidence now to go out there and do it. I have definitely caught the running bug and will continue to run as part of my weekly routine, its fun, good for me and gives me a real sense of achievement.