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Started from 0 and training for a 10km run at 50!


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Hi, I have never been a very athletic person and certainly not a runner. Exercise has never been my thing. In my younger years I had no trouble maintaining a healthy weight. Even without regular exercise. That changed when I reached my late 30s. I started gaining weight and was not able to lose it. I ended up weighing 87kg/191.8lbs at a height of 163 cm/5ft & 4.2inches.
In the past 1.5 years, I lost 25kg (55lbs) in weight by adopting a low carb diet and I feel so much better because of it. I first attempted to start running 1.5 years ago when I was still overweight. I joined a running course, but my body wasn't ready. It took me several days to recover from a run, and I felt tired the whole day after running; so I stopped. 
Mid November 2019, after losing the weight, I boldly registered for the Rotterdam Marathon relay in which the company I work for participates with several teams. The event is at the beginning of April 2020. At the time of registration I couldn’t run for even 3 minutes. However I did ask several knowledgeable people whether I would be able, with training, to run 10km (6.2 miles) by that time.  They told me that it should be possible. I had bought good running shoes when I started running 1.5 years ago, but went back to the store to check if they were still suited. It is a store that films you running on a short track to find the shoe that gives you the best running posture. Fortunately I didn’t need new shoes, so I was all set!
To get started I looked for an app that could support me on my journey. I ended up downloading the 10K app from zenlabsfitness. The first training session was running for 1 min and walking for 1.5 min. I started on the 23th of November 2019. I have a treadmill (had it for years, but I hardly ever used it...) so that made it easier to start (I don’t like running outside in the dark). In the beginning it was relatively easy, but I had looked at the rest of the weeks and was dreading the runs of 8 min or more. I realized I needed something to distract my mind (I was looking at my phone way too often to see how many minutes I still had to run). I went online and searched for YouTube videos of scenery to look at while running on the treadmill. I was amazed that there were actually many of videos recorded by runners during their run! I started out with the YouTube video “London Virtual Run from Fordy Runs”. I liked the fact that he was running through London. I don’t like the ones where the runner is running through forests or on the beach. (and there are many of those!) That is just too monotonous for me. I then found another one from someone who ran at night: “ Columbus by Night Virtual Run - Sponsored by Reflectoes”. These videos really made me feel like I was running in those locations myself!
I eventually had to run for 20 minutes at the end of week 5. I really dreaded it, because in my mind I just could not believe I could do it. However, I did it! Then the 22 minute run at the end of week 6 came up. That day (on a Wednesday ) I tried it for the first time, I failed miserably. After 11 minutes I lost the mental battle. Running is really a battle of the mind, I get that now. It was not my muscles or stamina that were failing, it was my mind. After I failed, I actually dreaded having to run again. I just felt I had hit a wall. The next Sunday, I found the courage to try it again. I did it, but I was completely dead. It was a real struggle. It took me quite some time to recover. Even after I had showered, my face was still completely red. So although I did it, I didn’t feel comfortable that I would be able to do it again, let alone the 25 minutes I would be required to do in week 7.
In the mean time I kept looking for new videos that I could watch while running. I found another one that seemed suited for me “ New York City's High Line Trail, A Virtual Treadmill Video”. A week after I ran the 22 minutes, I went for the 25 minutes. I started the newly found video and began running. However, this time I lowered my speed to 7.4km /4.6 miles per hour (I ran at 8.1km/5 miles per hour in the previous sessions). The notification that I was half way through the session (a notification I desperately waited for in previous sessions) came so much sooner than expected! The fun part was that the video I was watching was also half way at about the same time (that is where the runner turns and runs back). I managed to not look at my phone the whole session. I finished the 25 minutes with so much less effort than the 22 minutes the week before. I felt really good! It was like a barrier in my mind had lifted. I can do long distance running! I think I was running too fast initially. The 7.4km per hour suited me better. The next two times I ran 25 minutes were also relatively easy. I have also finished the first 2 training sessions (28 minutes) of week 8 successfully and will be running 30 minutes today. I am so proud of what I have accomplished so far. I am still apprehensive about the 10K/6.2 miles (actually my part is 8km/5 miles) I need to run at the beginning of April, but I will do whatever it takes to make it. Having a goal with a fixed deadline really does help. I have stuck to my 3 training sessions a week, even on days when I didn’t feel like it. And I will continue to do so. Now that daylight is extending, I will soon venture outside to run. I turn 50 this month, but I feel better than I have felt in many years!

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