That’s the first run under my belt, then!
I got home from work to find the cheap bum bag (“fanny pack”, for you Leftpondians) that I’d ordered waiting on my doormat, which was handy. I hadn’t realised how difficult it is to buy running shorts with pockets, and I don’t like the idea of the iPod armband thingies for some reason.
So, I put on my new running shorts and my cheap Puma socks, both from TK Maxx, donned an old T‑shirt and my normal walking trainers (because they’re comfy, and because good running shoes don’t have to be expensive), popped my iPhone and keys in the bum bag, and got out there.
I’d grabbed the latest version of Ben’s Get Running App onto my iPhone. It worked a charm. I hit the “Run” button, and just followed the voice instructions.
Well, actually, I paused it for a couple of minutes during the warm-up to get closer to the safer and rather less public towpath, rather than having to run across dual carriageways or have all the car drivers laugh at me.
And that worked out fine. When I got within site of the path — which runs under the Clifton Suspension Bridge, as you can just about see from the picture — the five-minute warm-up was over, and the running had just started.
It wasn’t easy-peasy, but it wasn’t too difficult, either. Which I guess means I’m starting at exactly the right level.
In Week One of the Get Running plan, which is based on the well-known “Couch to 5K” programme first put forward by Josh Clark, you run for eight single minutes, interspersed with a minute and a half of walking to get your breath back. I was starting to flag a bit at the end of the seventh run, but that was a bit uphill, and I was better for the last one (possibly just because I knew it was the last one.)
It might not be a massive accomplishment for a fit person, but for a lardy geek who’s not done any proper exercise for a while, I think it’s probably a good starting point, and I’m just as proud of myself for actually getting out there and starting as I am for actually doing the running.
So, it was all good. I’m glad I had Ben’s app to keep me company — it prompts you all the time during the runs, which is great; you always know what you’re meant to be doing, and it does little “there are only ten seconds left! Keep going!”-style encouragements, which really helps. And it’s a human voice, not a synthesiser, too.
Plus the new version really did play nicely with my iPod. I’d chosen a bouncy song and hit the “Genius” button, which did as Apple promised and generated me a related playlist, of bouncy songs that helped keep me going. And instead of mixing in with the music at a similar volume, and thus being difficult to hear, which is what the first version did, the new version “ducked” the music down for every voice prompt, said its thing, then restored the music volume. Top marks to Ben for sorting that out!
Anyway. Can you tell I’m feeling all bouncy and enthusiastic now? Time to stop gushing words, I think. According to the app, my next running day should be Friday, so I’ll probably write some more then!