To give you some background - I wouldn't class myself as unfit: I train four times a week, love a good cardio and weights sessions and obsess over boxing. But running? Absolutely not.
The only way I can truly explain my absolute dislike for the sport is by explaining what running feels like to me. Here it goes:
When I start running it all seems ok, and then no less that 2 minutes into it reality sets in. My legs begin to feel like tree trumps, stomping the pavement so heavily that for a moment I start to contemplate whether it could possibly crack. Sweat drips down my forehead and I feel a dryness enter my throat. Is the oxygen leaving the air? But what if I stop breathing?
Then the cramps hit, like someone has just punched me on either side of my waist. And the shin splints, oh lord the shin splints.
This, my dear reader, is when it ends for me. I drag my legs back to my front door and without question ask myself why the heck I even bothered.
So now, I hope you can understand where I'm coming from when I so comfortably use the word hate. And completely resonate that you definitely can not understand why I did what I did next. Yep, I decided I wanted to get better at running.
To start the process I knew I definitely did not want an actual trainer. I don't like talking to people when I run and certainly didn't need someone telling me to 'pick up the pace' when I could barely even keep up at a slow jog. I wanted this to be a journey I had with myself, in my own head. But I knew I needed help, so like the stereotypical millennial I am, I did only what every normal person does in this situation: I paid a visit to the App Store. And that is when I was introduced to the Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps.
Reaching out to the team at Nike, they took me through the Nike 8-week enablement journey - a new program designed by Nike Head Running Coach Lydia O’Donnell, which guides participants incorporates new yoga workouts alongside Audio-Guided Runs from the NRC app. Workouts for each week are delivered in the form of a weekly plan each Monday via the apps, with a different weekly theme to help motivate you to keep moving through the program.
Speaking to Lydia, she said that the reason for incorporating yoga was to give you a break in-between each running session, and to stretch out those muscles you may not have been using properly before.
So off I went, signed up to the apps, and, was ready to run. And yes, you should absolutely read the word 'reasy' with a sarcastic undertone.
18-minutes of Yoga.
Loved it. Made my husband do it too. Absolutely trumped him.
Running. 10 minutes.
The day was finally here. I had by earphones ready, new sneakers and new workout gear. It was a new me.
I turned on the app, synced my favourite workout playlist, and hit the pavement.
And then I threw a tantrum. Like an actual full-grown adult tantrum. My legs were stomping away and my headphones were giving me the shits.
"You are running. You decided to run," my Nike guide told me. "I respect that."
I looked around at the (thankfully) empty street, took a deep breath and turned up my music a notch. Off I went, once again.
I'm going to be honest, I probably got to about 7-minutes and had enough. My legs were aching and my cramps were hitting deep. Thank god it's yoga tomorrow.
Fortunately, the plan Lydia assigned me only went up by approximately one minute each run. To save you the boredom of having to read though every single individual day of my running escapades, a summary goes a little something like this: 11 mins? Let's make that 9. A 12-minute Fartlek? (If you don't know what that means it's moving through differing speeds) That one was actually a bit of fun. Did I get through it all? I couldn't tell you, but I can say that the last 10 second sprint made me feel pretty good. Yoga? Thank god I'm not running today. Another 10 minutes? Ugh.
Days passed, and I kept running.
The final run
20-minutes. It was here, my longest run yet. "Use this run to switch off," Lydia explained. "Running can be a great place for meditation and giving back to out minds. Be sure to be kind to yourself throughout this run...and remember all you have to do is run without the pressure of pace."
So what happened, you ask? Did you do it? Do you love running?
Well, just like hate, love is a strong word. Would I use it here? Absolutely not. Would I use hate? Nope, not that one either.
I got through the run with a stitch in my left rib, a lack of breath, and a feeling of accomplishment. And that is enough for me.