You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. – Winnie the Poo

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Week Four, Day Two: 16 April

Being the Easter Bank Holiday I decided to have a lie in on the Monday, so I still haven’t managed to sort my running week out. Oh well, there is always next week. Having finished week 3, I have to admit I was feeling quietly confident. It had been hard but I had done it and so far the weekly increase had been quite gentle and manageable. I prided myself on thinking I had got into the rhythm of this and started to guess what week four had in store. My best guess was that the 90-seconds run would be replaced with 3-minute runs, I can do that I smugly thought. But what do they say about pride? That it usually comes before a fall! Almost as a last-minute thought I checked the schedule for week 4 and was flabbergasted. They had taken out the 90-second runs but had replaced them with 5-minute runs and reduced the walking time. This seemed like a huge jump to me, and not one I was ready for. The new schedule in full is as follows. 5-minute warm up walk, 3-minute run, 90-second walk, 5-minute run, 2.5-minute walk, 3-minute run, 90-second walk, 5-minute run, 5-minute cool down walk.

So, it was with massive trepidation that I set out (butterflies the size of albatrosses!). After the recent lovely warm weather, the temperature had seriously dropped again so I was back in the fleece and gloves. The morning seemed a bit dull, which reflected my mood as I started out with grim determination. I started the warm up walk to Spiritualised to see if my theory of more relaxed music made for a steadier pace. And you may be pleased to know that I listened to them all the way through…yes, I had found out how to stop shuffle! How you ask? Well, very simply, I Googled it. What did we ever do before Google???

The first 3-minute run felt like a long time, but I got through it, then only 90 seconds of walking before the next run. Time is such a strange thing, in week 2 I thought that 90 seconds of running lasted forever but now 90-second walking seems like no time at all. Before I was ready, the 5-minute run started. I kept my pace slow and tried not to think how long it had been/I still had to go. I tried to distract myself by looking at the cloud formations in the sky, but that didn’t last for more than a few seconds, and then it was a sheer force of will just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Somehow I got to the end, I was puffing hard but did not sound like a goose (have I cracked that??) 2 and a half minutes of walking felt like bliss but then it was time to do it again; 3-minute run, 90-second walk, so far, so good. Again, way before I was ready it was the start of the last 5 minute run and that, I think, is what kept me going. It was the last run; I just had to get through this and I could enjoy the 5-minute cool down walk.

I have to admit that there was one occasion when I faltered. I have to cross the river, and the lead up to the bridge and the bridge itself is quite steep. Up until today I have kept going, albeit slower, up that hill but today I knew that if I did that I might not be able to complete this run. So I walked (quickly) up it, which in my book is as good as running because of the incline. Then Sarah Millican said ‘1 minute to go’ and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I did it…My legs felt very odd when I slowed down to a walk. It felt like they didn’t belong to me! Well now I have done it once I guess I can do it again…I’m just not so sure I want to…

If you are thinking of doing something similar take care to stay safe.

To do this I am:

  • Keeping social distancing. I aim to get out by 6.30am (I am a lark not an owl), so there are very few people around, and if I do meet them I stay 2 meters away.
  • I have my phone with me, and someone knows where I am going and when I am due back.
  • And, of course, I have Dog with me.
Top tips to keep you safe and well during this strange time.
  • Keep to the self-isolating and social distancing rules.
  • Keep in contact with friends, family, and, of course, Restore.
  • Find a routine and stick to it (I can’t emphasize enough how important this is)
  • Every day do something for your physical and mental well-being. On the days I am not running I go out for a walk. I am also doing a 21-day meditation challenge with 2 friends. This benefits my well-being as well as keeping me connected every day. There are plenty of meditation apps out there, but if that isn’t your thing then find something that nurtures your soul. This can be as simple as listening to the birds sing or gazing up at the stars.
  • Set yourself a challenge. This could be big or small, it’s entirely up to you.

These are just a few ideas and there are plenty more out there. The Restore website has a directory of useful and trusted websites with information, tips and ideas, here.

The Reluctant Jogger and Dog