I want to run

I want to run, but I need to walk first.

I'm someone who has no motivation for exercise. I've tried joining a gym on several occassions but have never enjoyed it. Swimming I enjoy, but I get cold easily and hate getting dried off afterwards.

For some reason, I have decided to give running a chance. I just havent a clue where to start. I've been to the running world site, so I've got the 10 week programme printed to start run/walking. Its more a question of WHERE to run. If I try my local streets I live on the top of a hill. So if I run away from home its downhill, but returning will be uphill and I feel I will soon lose motivation to repeat the process. How did anyone else get started? Help please??



  • Sue

    I'm probably a bit far away from being a complete beginner but I can sympathise with your hill dilema. The danger is that if you start having to travel to run then its easy not to go - the beauty with running is that you just step out the door and away you go.

    So I would recommend, for starters, why not walk back up the hill when you get back from your run - this will be an excellent way to cool down. Alternatively try a slightly different version of the run/walk methodology e.g. jog up the hill for 30 seconds, walk for 2 minutes.

    Then you could have as a long term goal to run all the way up the hill - think of the satisfaction on the day that you achieve that!
  • Time for a bit of Devil's advocacy...

    DO you REALLY want to run, Sue? Or are you just looking for someone to rubber-stamp your excuse for not even walking, never mind starting a training programme that will lead to you becoming a runner? If so, don't play that game.

    You're not exactly painting a picture of motivation. You can't stick at a gym programme, you don't fancy swimming because it makes you cold and wet, and you don't want to walk because it's going to mean going up a hill...

    We all have to start somewhere. Yes, the gym can be boring, especially if you're not quite sure what you want to get out of going there. Bicycle saddles are a pain in the posterior and cycle helmets look uncool. We all - ALL - get wet when we swim and I've yet to meet anyone who rates drying off high up on their list of fun activities. And discussions on how to tackle hills are a perennial topic on the forums.

    BUT - these are minor niggles compared with the joys of participating in exercise. The realisation that you can do a bit more today than you did this time last week, the way muscle definition starts to appear, the endorphin rush that makes runners pleasantly crazy, the sheer pleasure of using your body to do what it was designed to do - move - more than compensate for a bit of inconvenience.

    Grit your teeth and get on with it. You're not going to be defeated by a HILL, are you? Because if you can't get over that psychological barrier on your doorstep then, to be completely brutal about it, you aren't going to run.

    And I really, really hope you will. Please keep us posted - you may feel as if I've given you an uncalled-for kick up the butt, but everyone else here is nice and friendly and supportive!

    Cheers, V-rap.
  • How did I get started? I was depressed, disillusioned, had three little monsters, I mean children, round the house, and the GP said, well, I can give you anti-depressants, or you can buy a pair of shoes and meet me in the park.

    Lessons learnt.
    1.Company helps for starters. Is there a running club in your area that admits absolute beginners? Yeah, sure you feel stupid starting, but it feels really good later.
    2. How desperate do you have to be before you kick sloth in the back end and do something that your better self knows is a start to getting a grip on your self and your future.

    I stopped for about ten years because my knees were dying - didn't know about biomechanics then.

    Then some slowly evolving paralysis got me, and running was out of the question. Then grace god, and I don't understand why, I got the better of it, and I can run again. Like Charlie Chaplin trying to catch a bus, but I can run again.

    And I love every aching step of it.

    What will it take to make you realize?

    Run for your life. While you can.

    All the best, Marj
  • Hi Sue,

    Just do it! I live on top of a huge hill, in the pennines - no-where flat near me. It is a bit galling, but then at least you get a good workout. I still can't quite get all the way up some of the hills, but it is a brilliant sense of achievement when you actually do beat one.

    Just start walk / run, that's what I did back in April. I can run for 30 minutes now, hills are still a push, but I can't really do anything about them except try a little harder each time.

    I did find a circular route that went around the main hill, so it isn't quite as daunting - maybe there is such a route near you?

    Go for it!

  • Thanks everyone for your replies.

    Must admit I was a bit irked by v-rap. I dont see the point of running on the spot, or cycling on the spot indoors, when there is so much fresh air and beauty outside. Whilst in the pool I go blue with the cold, no matter how long or hard I swim.

    Maybe I should have added that a few years ago I was diagnosed as being asthmatic. At the time I couldnt walk my dog for more than 10 mins slowly without getting breathless. Now I can walk easily, but sadly have no dog to encourage me out.

    Maybe though I am just looking for excuses... but I've been dieting for a year now and feel its time I added exercise to my life. Im also going to be starting a stressful and exhausting job in 2 weeks and feel the need to improve my metabolism through exercise will enable me to perform better.

    As with my dieting, I tried for many years with no success. Last year the time was right for me to start and succeed. I believe that success in a venture is down to timing of life and attitude. The time was right for me to get my head around a diet. I believe that NOW is the time to add exerise to my life.

    For years I've looked at people running and thought "loonies!!!". Now Im wishing it was me out there.

    Im not confident enough to join a club, until I know I can at least hold my own for 30 mins. So for now I'll try the 10 week programme and when my body is ready, I'll join a club.

    Im telling people Im going to start running, because I DO intend to. Tonight my son wants to go for a bike ride to cover a walk he missed as part of his History coursework. So I'll be jumping on my uncomfortable cycle seat and pedalling for a while. Tomorrow I'll go and find that circular route that Go-Slow suggested.

    I'll keep you posted tho as I know Im going to need plenty of encouragement.

  • Whoah V'rap is a sharp today as his name suggests. However he's not wrong.
    Where I live is at the top of a hill, but that's not so bad. Just walk back up, there's nothing wrong with walking! and as you get fitter, then run half way (or a quarter of the way).

    You need some sort of target, but today make it a mile, not the moon.
    As V'rap says we're all a friendly bunch here, some a madder than others but that's life.
    Good luck and go for it>>
  • Hi Sue,

    I've only been running for a few weeks now and so I know how daunting getting
    started can be.

    My advice for what it's worth would be don't be too logical about it or plan too much. Just do it . I had been planning to run with
    a mate for a while but it always never quite happened so a few Sundays ago I'd got changed to go to the gym when I had the mother of all hayfever attacks and didn't want to be sneezing all over the weights etc. so on the spur of the moment decided to go for a run instead.

    i know it's early days but I now run every
    day if I can and am totally addicted to it and the sense of freedom and well being it brings.

    I think that once you've taken the plunge;
    all the reasons for not running will melt away. Best of luck.


  • Sue

    Good for you! Just a couple of additional comments.

    1. Presumably you have some medication for your asthma? If not then running will be tough - I always take an inhaler PRIOR to running.
    2. If you're starting a stressful job then exercise is going to make you feel very tired. Make sure you get more sleep to compensate (if possible!). However, I would say running is also the great stress cure.
    3. If you've been dieting recently - make sure you revisit it once you start running you'll need more energy.

    Finally, don't plan to do it tomorrow - do it now, today, remember it's a small step for man but a giant leap..........hasn't that been said before?
  • V-Rap is right Sue. You have to stop making excuses and get out there. Put one foot in front of the other and get your butt moving.
  • Sue, V-rap may sound harsh but she knows what she's talking about and is just getting to the point... It is so easy to find excuses for not doing things, and exercise and losing weight are two of the top culprits. To be honest, sometimes a 'pull-no-punches' approach like V-rap's can be better than a load of reassuring platitudes that never get you actually taking action. Make a realisable commitment to yourself, like 'I will go out 3 times a week for 20mins' and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll end up running more of that 20mins than walking. Good luck and don't be irked, V-rap is a star!
  • KK has v-rap changed sex I thought she was female after comments on sports bras, and disappearing boobs. And Sue I am sure you will come to appreciate v-rap for her no nonsense approach and sense of humour as much as the rest of the Forumites.
  • What do I know I'm only a man!!
  • I don't mind, KK, I've survived much worse insults in my time than being mistaken for a man!

    Sue, go for it. If I've irked you, that's precisely what I hoped to do. If you wanted to be love-bombed with messages of "never mind that you can't face that hill up to your house, you're still as good a person as anyone here", you'd have headed for the American forums. I've assumed that you're starting from a position of KNOWING your worth as a human being and wanting, specifically, to become a runner.

    Now grit your teeth and get out there and train, and before many months have passed you can take your revenge by beating the pants off me in a race (except by then neither of us will remember why it matters). No excuses. Plenty of high-profile athletes, and plenty of Forumites, have asthma or a few extra kilograms. I'll take you on any day in a "who's got the most stressful and time-consuming job" contest. And exercise, whether it's doing the hamster stuff in the gym or striding out in the glorious outdoors, is a basic building-block of good health.

    Come on, you can do it!

    Cheers, V-rap.
  • Sue,

    We were all beginners, I think I may have moved slightly on, but don't quite know to what, In under six months I have went from 200 yards and sure I was having a heart attack to tackling my first half and full marathon next month. The adrenlin of achieving your first, 10 min run etc, keeps you going, as you achieve more and more. As for running being uncool 'say's who'? do you know them ? do you care ?
  • V-rap is right, there are loads of runners with a few extra pounds to lose (me included) or have asthma. I need to lose at least a stone but I race most weekends and have never been laughed at (not even when I wore, for the first and only time, my skimpy flappy running shorts) or come in last. I just broke 90 mins for 10 miles but I'm still too porky for crop top and skimpies! So take heart!
  • I just tell myself: FAT LAMBS GET TURNED INTO CHOPS!!!
  • LOL, Lamb. Serious ROFL, in fact.

    Fat raptors get respec' coz they're obviously successful predators.
  • If I'm ever suffering with lack of motivation, I hope v-rap is about to kick me back into shape!

    Sue if you don't get out there and discover the pain and the pleasure of running after that motivation speak, you never will. GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY RUNNING!
  • well I dont know how far I cycled.. but my cruel son had me on my bike for 2 hours, plus a half hour break whilst we made whatever notes it was he needed to make for his history coursework. Initially the going was fine. Flat ground along the canal towpath, but bumpy. We decided to take the road route home and of course encountered the hills.

    Any sense of achievement I feel will come tomorrow morning if I manage to make it out of bed :-(

    No, seriously. Apart from being totally shattered, I do feel better that I was dragged out, but next time.. maybe not for so long!

    I've found my youngest son, aged 12, is my biggest encourager for my dieting. It looks like my eldest son, aged 15, could be my biggest encourager for exercise. He doesnt want to run, but loves cycling, so maybe I'll ask him to cycle as I run and then he can time me.

    One more very important thing...

    Thanks to you all for your words of encouragement and nagging. :-) I'll try a small run on Friday and keep you posted.

    Tomorrow I have a dreadful 120 mile drive to meet my daughter as she wants her mum to hold her hand whilst she opens her GCSE results. I only hope I have the energy to drive. :-0

    Thanks once again folks.

  • Sue,
    I need to lose 4 stone, I started running again 3 weeks ago and could just manage 4 mins running, Now today i ran 12 1/2 mins without stopping.(trust me that 30 secs counts) I feel great and i am actually starting to enjoy running.

    Go for it, in 3 weeks i hope you feel like i do.
    Its great

  • Sue, well done for getting out on the bike. Next thing to do is that first run, and it is tough, but if the whole thing was easy, everyone would be doing it, and where would be the challenge, and the sense of achievement? (At least, that's what I keep telling myself when I feel like chucking it all in.)

    There is some brilliant support on this forum, from people who've been in the same situation as you (we were all beginners once). We all want you to succeed.

    I also echo whoever said that if they were lacking motivation they'd like V-rap to give them a kick up the proverbial!!

    Go for it, and let us know how you get on.

  • Sue

    On the basis that if I can do it, anyone can do it, here's what did it for me.

    This time last year I was advised by my doctor on more than one occasion to lose weight (size 24). Eventually I admitted that I would have a better quality of life and higher self-esteem if I lost weight. I started to diet (yes, have done that very many times over the years).

    One stone down, I thought I might lose faster if I also exercised - alternatively I might be able to eat a little more and still lose weight if I exercised too. Went swimming - knew I could do that.

    By the new year I had ventured to the gym - only at times when few people would be about - and used the bicycle and weights.
    But they got quite boring after a while.

    Late April I was two and a half stones down, (size 18), and looking for a new challenge. The Race for Life form came round at work for a 5km 'fun run' on Blackheath. I decided I would do it - I told everyone I was going to do it - I said I would do it without stopping (many eyebrows were raised).

    I printed off the how to get running form - I followed it religiously. I ran 5km on the treadmill (it is now my friend, I can look it in the eye) the week before the big event.

    On the day I ran 5k without stopping and I came in ahead of all my colleagues - some 10+ years and 3+ stones lighter than me. I looked as if I was going to have a coronary - I sweated like it was going out of fashion - but it gave me the biggest high I have had for a long time and a very big spring in my blistered feet.

    Am now working my way through the training programme for a 10k.

    This time last year if someone had told me I would be running 3 times a week I would have thought them weak in the head.

    Sue - it strikes me that half of this running lark is physical - so yes, all the advice to just get out there and do it, however little to start with, is spot on. But the other half is mental application - you'll find shedloads of excuses not to run if you don't really want to.

    You need to make a commitment to yourself to get running.

    Sorry if I sound very evangelical - but my life has improved because I run - even if it is not pretty and it is not fast.

    S R
  • I think you're all amazing and I PROMISE on Friday to go out and run.

    One more question.. how do you measure how far you've run? Do I need a pedometer thingy? I have/had a Weightwatchers one which I usually have on my waistband, but I put it on my trainers when I went for the cycle ride and the clasp has broken :-(

    Any advice on the best kind to buy?

  • I never know zactly how far I run. Nor do I keep much more than a rough track of time. As a pretty hopeless (i.e., for technical reasons unlikely to progress) beginner, I think I would find it rather depressing to know. I do use a watch to remind me to stop and walk every five minutes or so.

    I have a 30 min run, a 50 min run, a 75 min run, and a few that are even longer. That's enough for me to know.

  • There are some brilliant words of wisdom on here. And Slowpoke, what a wonderful tale yours is!

    Sue, I guess my take is that different things motivate different people and you may need to experiment with a few before you find what fires you up. I know for a fact that anyone trying to motivate me with the, "come on, just think how many cream buns/calories/inches this is burning off" is more likely to get a slap than a response. But it works for some people. V-rap's response would have irked me too (sorry, V-rap, I know you won't take it personally!) but then, it's what a lot of people need.

    I could never do the gym thing before for exactly the same reasons as you. I could NOT get fired up about exercising for it's own sake. Same would have gone for running if I'd aimed for it head on. Hated it at school and had no reason to think it would be different this time round. I loved dancing - hey, getting fit without really noticing it. But my big turnaround was signing up for a taekwon-do class. What I liked about that was that there were set targets everyone was aiming for and a nice fancy suit and coloured belt if you trained hard enough. They were strict about twice-a-week training. Also told us to take up something else to help improve our fitness....so...TA DA - Race for Life arrived and I went for it. Running now had a purpose, see? And surprisingly, discovered I enjoyed it and now it is it's own reward.

    Basically I'm a target-and-feedback junkie and sometimes it can be hard to know what to set as goals for stuff like the gym and running at the beginning. But that's where this forum is really great. It's like a great big running "class" where you can see other people struggle and progress also, ask for advice on tricky bits and admit when you've been slacking. Use it to its full advantage and you'll be as hooked as the rest of us!
  • Hi Sue,
    Glad that you've decided to take the bull by the horns and get out there.. As has been said so many times on this site, we were all beginners once - nobody can just get out there and run & run - it all takes time. I still consider myself a 'beginner' and I've been running on and off for years. I would take it slowly if I were you - the walk/run programme is excellent for true beginners I think. Also, as regards knowing what distance you're running - I just went out in the car and noted the mileage at different points. Maybe drive out for 1 mile, so you know that a return run will be 2 miles, etc, etc. Good luck Sue and please keep us all posted. I have received so much encouragement for this site.
    Michelle x
  • Hi Sue

    Some tips for the top (of the hill).

    Firstly get yourself a training diary (or just an ordinary diary with "training" written on the front will do). Fill it in every day, even if you fill in "nothing".

    Set yourself the target of running a total 100 miles before Christmas. This will be a lot easier than it sounds. When you make it to 100 miles, agree that you will have achieved something. Tell all of your friends that you are going to do it. Keep them posted on how you are doing. Get some of them to run a mile or two with you.

    Get some gear that you feel great about wearing. Strangely enough, a lot of lady beginners seem to like wearing a running cap of some sort. Something about feeling anonymous I'm told. Wear this gear whenever you run.

    Reaffirm your running. Every time you run, work out how much further you have to go to get to 100 miles, and how far you have travelled. Reflect that about 90% of the population cannot run at all, and that by definition you are better, stronger, faster and fitter than 9 out of 10 people.

    Good luck Sue, email me if you want some more structured coaching advice.

  • Buy your son a computer mileometer for his bike with as many bells and whistles as poss. Then he'll love you forever and measure anything you ever want!

    But for now I wouldn't bother to measure anything. Just get into the habit of going out of doors and moving your feet about for 20 mins 3 or 4 times a week. Walk, jog, hop whatever. But get out of the door! And don't rush. Loads of time.
  • Well done, Sue. Anyone who can cycle for two hours gets a big dose of respect - and has the what it takes to be a runner.

    Those boys of yours may well turn out to be great motivators. They'll probably never tell you so, but kids are more likely to be proud of athletic mummies than embarrassed by them (unless you run past the school gate in a crop top and those running knicker things, of course). Running is really pretty cool, and, more importantly, once you're a regular runner you couldn't give a whizzpopper about what other people think.

    Like others, I wouldn't bother with a pedometer unless you're going to push the plastic out and get one of those devices that measures your distance by picking up radio signals (about £220 a pop, I think). Using a map and a piece of string, or even measuring the distance on your car odometer, will be a lot more accurate. Or just plan to be out for a chosen length of time.

    Measuring speed over short distances is where I do find the treadmill useful although I would hate to do my long runs on one, no matter what was showing on the telly in the gym.

    I hope your daughter's GCSE results are at least as good as you and she are hoping for. Terrifying time! When I think of the grumps I got off my 11-year-old when she "only" got level 5s in her KS2 SATS, I'm dreading the real exams!

    And you're all very welcome to boot my butt whenever you think I need it. In fact, I hope you'll care enough to do so!

    Cheers, V-rap
  • Gavin -- I wear a baseball cap and it's purely to stop the sweat running into my eyes (honest). The trainer at the gym asked me why I wear it indoors and I said "Have you ever had salty sweat behind a contact lens..?" He hadn't. It's not nice!!

    Sue -- a good way I've found to measure distance in areas where you can't take the car is to get a map out and map the route with a piece of string and then measure it on the map's scale. Also, you'll find that the motivation will get better once you start to achieve. Believe me once you come back from your run on Friday - you'll have that sense of "I did it" which will then become "I can do it again" and eventually you might have to restrain yourself from "overdoing it" like me. Stay around the forums though - they're great for motivation and support.
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