Getting off the couch

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So, how do you start, you ask? Well, you just start. You brush the cobwebs off your takkies, squeeze yourself into your spandex and try to make it out of the house without looking at a reflective surface!

Then, you walk. And walk. And walk. It’s really important to start your muscles firing gradually so don’t expect to run much in your first week or two. And when you do run, don’t expect it to be pretty!

The biggest demand of running is the load placed on your joints as you ask them to decelerate the speed of your (immense, post baby) load. When muscles are strong and firing well they have a shock absorptive and protective effect on the joints. When muscles are weak and not playing this role, it leaves you vulnerable to injury if you try to progress your running too quickly. Shin splints, ITB friction syndrome and plantar fasciitis can all be symptoms of doing too much, too soon. 

I started my journey mid-June with a few short – and very slow- walks on the farm. I gradually started increasing the distance I walked for and the pace I walked at. By July I was walk/running about three times a week making sure to take rest days in between to allow my muscles the recovery time they needed.

Now, I realize I am a physiotherapist and fully qualified to draw up my own running program, but I also just really like being told what to do. So I was very excited when my little sister put me on to a great “Couch to 10km” running app called 10K Runner. Its grounded in the walk/run principles I wanted to follow during training (blog post on that to follow) and this has the added benefit that a voice prompt tells you when to walk and when to start running so you don’t have to watch the clock to time your own splits. It also says the sweetest things like, “you’re awesome” and “you’re doing great” which, let’s be honest, is just nice to hear sometimes. 

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By early August I had run a marathon. It had taken three weeks and twelve runs but that still counts right? So, I’m done here! Just kidding. By now I was really enjoying my running and had progressed from running 1 min/ walking 1,5min to running 10 minute stretches. But, as so often happens in one’s training, I hit a speed-bump. Literally. (More on that soon!)

Ps Follow “Mama on the Run” on Strava if you would like to see how I slowly built up my mileage; from getting off the couch to running my first 10K.

Mama on the Run