Deborah Pullen, our Director of Communications, ran the British 10K London Run on Sunday 10 July 2016 as Epilepsy Research UK was the official charity. Deborah shared her training blog with us:
I said that if we were to become the official charity of the British 10K 2016 then I would probably have to run it. We did, so I am.
I am not a runner; nor do I like running. So I decided I needed a training plan. I took a look at some 10K running schedules. I was horrified. Day 1; Week 1 – run for 14 minutes …… I got no further, I cannot run for 4 minutes! I panicked. So, with encouragement from others who started with no running experience whatsoever, I have decided to start slowly. The idea is that I run for short (very short) periods of time, followed by fast walking and repeat this pattern for about half an hour three days a week. Hopefully over time I will be able to build up the amount of time I am able to run and reduce my time spent walking! We shall see in the next few weeks as I update you on progress (or not).
Why am I doing it? It is freezing cold, it’s pitch black, my eyes are streaming with the wind and I feel sorely under-clothed though to wear any more would severely impede my ability to move at all! So this is week one, day one. All I have to do is run for a minute and walk for a minute for 10 repetitions. I finish the schedule encouraged by the fact that I have been able to finish the plan without any mishap. Onwards and upwards. And yes, I’m wearing sunglasses at night. More later …..
It is continuing cold and windy which means that I have taken to wearing sunglasses just to stop my eyes streaming. I comment to a friend that there are a lot of people out in the park in the evenings – many of them running and walking dogs but some of them decidedly odd. She points out that they probably think I am odd – running in the dark in sunglasses!
I cannot say that it is getting easier and nor am I enjoying it but I seem to have developed a strange loping stride which is energy conserving. Strangely I heard Eddie Izzard talking about his ‘lope’ when running his incredible marathons marathon. I also notice with great glee that I managed to overtake some walkers today.
Well, whether it is the lighter evenings now that the clocks have gone back, or my body is more used to lurching around the local parks, I don’t know; but I actually found my training easier this evening than previously. I regularly overtake walkers (both fast and slow) and pass many others training for their own charity events. We give each other long-suffering glances as we pass on the circuits. I find that apart from the actual physical effort it is the mental effort of continuing to press on when you’d prefer to give up, that is just as difficult. And I know that it is probably a travesty to say it, but I find it boring! So I’ve taken to ‘zig-zagging’ all over the place just to add interest!
I missed my training last night so I went out early today: a Saturday, and was hugely surprised and cheered to see so many others out running; we’ve become quite a little group. I try to gauge how far everyone is training for; it’s difficult but quite clear from the sprightly step of many that these are hard core runners. It’s really very humbling. Somehow I managed to complete 20 full minutes of running with no breaks. Something that truly seemed impossible at the beginning of this endeavour. So maybe a full 10k running all the way is not such a pipe dream after all?
I had a week off from training – not deliberate but I had a very painful toothache which needed treatment so to be honest running this week was a joy in comparison. It is definitely more pleasant now. I no longer run in the dark regardless of how late I go out; it is warmer so I don’t have to ‘bulk up’ and I can proudly show off my Epilepsy Research T shirt so I feel that I am doing my bit to raise awareness of the condition. I also think my body is getting more used to it. I mean, I actually overtook another runner for the first time this week. No doubt they had just been completing the final metres of a marathon. Even so!
This ‘interval training’ really does seem to be working: running for x minutes followed by walking and then more running; repeated a number of times each session and for 3 sessions during the week. I have mixed up a 5k and 10k schedule from the beginning but am now just concentrating on the 10k which ramps things up more slowly. Over time it builds up stamina and then after a particularly gruelling week an ‘easy week’ comes along just when you need it. I think that the best advice I can give to anyone is just to ‘follow instructions’ as so far, so good.
So this is a tough week. My heart sank after a fine, relaxing weekend, to find that this week I have to run for 25 minutes for each of three days. So I girded my loins and to break it up a bit I ran a very zig-zag path through the local green spaces. Before I knew it I had done 10 minutes and then repeated the circuit with a few more random excursions and surprise surprise ……. 25 minutes of non-stop loping had been completed. And when I started I honestly had difficulty running for a minute. I was also buoyed by a call from a supporter who wanted to sponsor the British 10k but wasn’t running herself, I told her I would do it for her and she promptly donated £103. I am beginning to entertain the notion that I might (just) be able to run the whole thing? Do I look happy or what?
I cannot believe it! I just cannot believe that I managed to run the entire 10k …. and in 1 hour 10 minutes. It really seemed impossible just a few weeks ago. The day, July 10th was a perfect running day and the excitement was palpable. I have never seen such a sea of green epilepsy vests: amazing. Simply amazing. And for the first time I experienced for myself how very important it is to have supporters willing you on along the way. I can honestly say that the rousing chorus I received as I turned the bend and saw a barrage of ERUK banners kept me buoyed for the next couple of kilometres. I really enjoyed my day and am really pleased to have taken part. So thank you to all of you who supported, cheered, ran or just simply turned up to watch, it is all massively appreciated. And to anyone who has ever had any doubts about being able to do it – trust me. You can!