A while ago I admitted publicly that I am considering maybe perhaps taking up running. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak - I was unable to run longer than about 90 seconds to two minutes at a time without being forced to slow down due to a stitch or the distinct possibility of my heart exploding out the top of my head.
Many of you responded on my blog on FB and had lots of good advice. Thank you. I read all the links and info you sent to me. Most interesting! One of my oldest (and I mean she is really very old, I think she is like a hundred or something) friends Amy suggested (insisted) that I take a look at DoctorMama's blog for some running advice. And I am so glad she did - I absolutely loved what she wrote. Lots of practical advice and tips. One of the things DoctorMama said that really made sense (and she says it over and over in different blog posts) is that you need to S L O W down. You need to run as fast as an arthritic sloth. She said that if you aren't getting anywhere or enjoying your running, you are running too fast. She says:
"Everyone makes the same mistake when starting out: going too fast. When you start, you need to go SLOWLY. So slowly that you could probably walk faster. So slowly that you will feel humiliated if you see anyone you know."
It made sense so I tried it. Instead of walking for my full 30 minutes (with 90 second sprinting spurts interspersed), I broke into a very gentle trot after a few minutes. I have to admit I was a little sheepish at first at just how slow I was "running". But then I ran for six whole minutes before having to slow down to a walk. I felt like a total winner! SIX whole minutes!
The next time I ran, I ran for FIFTEEN minutes before having to slow down for a walk. This morning I walked / ran for 5 (FIVE!) kms and I ran for 15 minutes / 12 minute and 10 minute stretches. And I enjoyed every minute of it!
I AM SO EXCITED!!
The trick really is to slow down. If I run slow, my back doesn't hurt and I don't have to stop for a stitch after two minutes.
The hardest part for me is to avoid getting a stitch. Otherwise I feel as if I could carry on even longer. It is the stitch that makes me stop after 10 / 15 minutes. I know this is all about breathing, but I am struggling to find a breathing rhythm that works for me. I'll get there. I am sure I will figure out a rhythm that will allow me to run for longer without getting a stitch. What does seem to work is to take 3 breaths in and 3 breaths out. 'Ish. I find having to concentrate on the breathing a bit of a pain and it takes away a bit of the enjoyment of the run. Its quite distracting having to concentrate so hard on the breathing, but if I don't I find I get a stitch quicker. Any advice on the breathing thing would be appreciated.
So, if you see someone resembling an arthritic sloth on the move, that would be me. Please don't point and laugh (at least not where I can see you).
PS bought two running pants, two new bras and two pairs of running socks as a treat. Yay!
PPS Read DoctorMama's running advice, it really is very amusing and quite enlightening. http://doctormama.blogspot.com/2006/05/listen-up-maggots.html