‘You got this!’Runner Feature - Michael Holden RunThrough Running Club London

Hey folks, looking for fitness inspiration?

Let me share a recent achievement that might inspire others who are looking to ‘get fit’.  I originally wrote this in January and it has gone through a few updates along the way! 

I am 51 and had been carrying a few extra pounds last November; in addition, my BMI was sitting around 28 with a waist circumference to reflect this. I have been a bit of ‘yoyo-er’ and clothing sizes fluctuating from small to medium to large, back to medium then large….and so on! 

I enjoy walking and cycling but had not successfully sustained either frequently enough to achieve a level of fitness. I had always convinced myself that I could not run and therefore disregarded it as an option.  

On November 13th 2020 following a few weeks of thoughtful intention, I donned my trainers and took my first run using the Couch to 5k programme. I had read many user reviews of PHE’s One You Couch to 5k app and there was overwhelming encouragement by the inspiring stories of those with an entry level of ‘unfitness’ akin to my own. It is a simple plan for total beginners that aims to get you off the sofa and running 5k in just 9 weeks. In each session using the app, you are trained and motivated by a supportive trainer provided by BBC Get Inspired. 

App downloaded, kit on and Bluetooth earbuds in. The first 60 second run was the worst bit and hit the lungs hard! The schedule comprised of: walk for 5 minutes, run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds, repeat 7 times, run for 60 seconds then 5 minute walk.  I felt this! I was so determined at the start of all this. I also knew that it was going to take commitment, physical endurance and mental strength

In order to commit and work around family and work, I needed a plan. This was important. I had three days where I knew my hours were set. 2-3 days per week, I drop my daughter off at Nursery.  Three runs a week I had to fit in, one of which would be at the weekend. So, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday it was. On the work days, it was a case of getting up early. I was usually embarking on my walking warm up around 05:45 am. Morning exercise worked best for me, no time for procrastination toward evening runs that I might have tempted myself out of. 

The days and weeks passed since early November. There were challenges… Christmas, a niggling calf for 2-3 weeks and the weather. The latter was a challenge I embraced, ice, snow, minus 4 temperatures; I was not deterred. Sports compression socks, rest and good stretching helped with the calf issue which eventually resolved. 

The runs accumulated, getting longer, the goal getting nearer. I was absolutely loving the running. I felt fitter, more motivated and developed a compulsion for buying sportswear! 

17th January – Milestone reached…I ran 5.2k! 31 minutes, 35 seconds and with a hill too!  I never planned to surpass that….so I thought! By the end of February, I was running 10K every other day. It is now 10th May, I have run a solo half marathon, my morning runs are edging up between 10-13K and I have completed my first race…ever! RunThrough Tatton 10K ticked off! I am now planning a couple of half marathons this year too.   I never dreamed that I could do this, what about you? It starts with the first step!     

What’s more…I have now become part of a number of social networks for runners. Yeah, I AM  A RUNNER!