27 May 2014

Running: Cutteslowe Park

As you've probably read in one of my previous posts I really struggle with running. I mean, who doesn't? But I've recently got back into it and I'm going to share with you my progress. It's embarrassing, because I know that I'm running such short distances with really long times, but I'm proud that I'm finally doing it.

My running progress; I will get there!
If you don't already have the "Nike Running" app, then I urge you to download it. It tracks your running progress, you earn Nike Fuel Points, you can challenge your friends and best of all, it's free. I honestly think this app is the reason I enjoy running a little more than I did before. I like the fact it asks you how you found your run once you've finished and you're able to write notes about the run so you remember next time where you went. And as annoying as it is, it does show you how slow / fast you ran on the map.

So anyway, I've been running around Cutteslowe Park in Oxford, because it's always empty and no one can see how silly I look when I run (yes I kick my heel up weirdly). It's also absolutely beautiful on a sunny day. 

When I pause during my run I find it really helpful to do some "mat work" such as lunges and squats, it limbers up your muscles and you don't feel like you're "cheating" whilst on a run. If you're a new starter to running I suggest you download the app and stop every time the personal trainer on the app tells you you've hit your next km. That way you know you've got a break, so you're likely to keep a steady pace in each km. In between each km, aim to do 3 sets of 25 reps of a certain exercise, for example, sit ups, push ups, mountain climbers etc. My favourite is tricep dips on a park bench. 

Running outside has made me realise how unfit I am. At the gym I'm a keen believer in less cardio, more weight training, which I still stand by. However, when I went on my first run this time last week I realised how out of breath I was within the first 1km. I think this goes to show that running on the treadmill (which I can do for a long period of time) and running outside are two very different things.

When I get back from running (sweaty, red and so out of breath I feel like I might be having an asthma attack) I like to do 10 minutes of skipping to warm down. I'm lucky because in my garden we have windows everywhere, so I'm able to see my leg muscles working whilst exercising - I'm so vain it's actually a crime. 

I thought that I wouldn't be able to comfortably run again due to back pain, but running has actually eased so many aches and pains, as well as keeping me in shape. I am determined that I will be able to easily run 15km within 2 months time. I'll let you know how I get on!

I hope this post has opened your eyes to running and you might consider it going forward, now that it's coming up to summer it's a great way to get into shape AND get a tan! Let me know if you have any tips or favourite places to run. 

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