zero to 10k run….by a non-runner! #thisgirlcan

June 19 2017

Carrie. Follow her story of how she has started running and is attempting to run a 10k in September.

Have you ever thought about having a go at running but put it off because “you’re not fit enough” or don’t know how to start or what to expect?

Worried about getting red and sweaty in public? Or your slightly wobbly bits? 


Our Active Communities Manager in Arun, Carrie Reynolds, has signed up to the Littlehampton 10k in September, and as a complete non-runner, recovering from a back injury, this is no mean feat.

However, she is committed to training and is aiming to complete the run in under 60 minutes. She also embarks on this journey (coincidently) as The national this girl can campaign relaunches.

Follow her story here as she blogs about her training.

We hope this entertaining and honest account of what it’s like to start running from scratch will be of some support, we hope that whatever your ability, fitness level, age or size - you will see that women across the UK feel the same as you when it comes to starting exercising.

However, it's time to stop worrying. #thisgirlcan

Run 1 - 1 June 2017

I’m signed up to a 10k – arghhhhh!!! And I’m not a runner! (That's me above with the red face after my first run)

As I planned my first run I realised that following my back injury, I haven’t actually done anything active, apart from walking my dogs, in well over a year! I must be mad, how can I start running?

The plan… just run and see how far I get.

As I started to fill with dread as the day went on, thinking about my impending first run that evening and the fact that I’ll sound like Darth Vader with my breathing!  It was lucky that I talk it through in the office and that thankfully Lee (our our Community Development Coordinator and a runner) was in at the time. He gave me some great advice...

He told me not to "just run and see where I got", but instead to go out for no more than 20 minutes on my first time and to start with 2 minutes running followed by 1 minute walking, for 20 minutes and then stop. there are loads of apps out there that use this same principle - basiaclly build up the length of running slowly.

So I got home, the sun was shining (which helps as I’m definitely a fair weather exercise girl) and off I went! The first interval of running was rubbish, my calves hurt, I went too fast and I almost stopped and turned back, but then my phone beeped to let me know the first two minutes were done…so I carried on…and as I got through section after section it got much easier and then 20 minutes finished in no time!

Run 2 - 4 June 2017

My second attempt was on a Sunday morning (what was I thinking?) and I decided that 2 minutes running duration had been very comfortable, so I was going to up my run time to 2.5 minutes, with a minute walk. I also extended the route to unknown territory which helped, as I was concentrating on not getting lost rather than how much I hated running!

At this current moment I have absolutely no idea why people like running, I’m not finding it fun, it hurts me, I find it boring and instead of spending my run looking at the scenery, as I'd hoped, I spent my time making sure I didn’t trip up! 

When a car goes by I try to look like I know what I’m doing, if another runner goes past I just think “I must be really slow”. I know I shouldn’t care and be all #thisgirlcan but it’s hard.

However, the increased running time felt really good and I was back home by 9am to get on with my Sunday.

Run 3 - 6 June 2017

Today was rubbish, (even with my This Girl Can t-shirt on), well at least that’s how I felt.

It was a real mental battle to carry on as I felt like my whole body was screaming for me to stop and it was sooooo windy my hair was blowing my face!

But then I realised that although my legs really hurt and I was running really slowly, I’d managed 30 minutes in total with 3 minute intervals of running to 1 minute walking! I guess I was hoping it would feel easier, like some sort of miracle that after 3 runs I would be fit enough to run a half marathon!…fingers crossed that the next one will be a lot easier! #thisgirlcan #istilldontlikerunning

Run 4 - 8 June 2017

I just completed run number 4 and I actually quite liked it! Today I ran with a friend and we chatted the whole way round (as much as we could being out of breath), which took my mind off of the task ahead...I even went a little over the 20 minute mark again going for 25 minutes in total! Having a distraction definitely helps, it takes my mind off the running, and being a competitive person, I can’t let myself be slower or look any less able than the person I am running with. So, on Saturday I plan to attempt a 20 minute constant run without any walking intervals, not sure how I feel about this at the moment!

Run 5 - 13 June 2017

beach view from our run today.

My plan now is to run three times a week, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, come rain, shine or wind! Or whatever the weather throws at me.

But then today, after a long meeting, the last thing I wanted to do was run! I thought I might have got a cracking excuse as I realised I’d left my trainers at home and then had a nose bleed…but  luckily my running buddy for the day, was having none of it and made me go home to get my trainers! This is my first top tip: running with someone does help keep you on track!

We had chosen a seafront run but even with the glorious view (above) I didn’t enjoy it! My preference at the moment is running in places where I’m not sure where I am, so I can get a bit lost and then concentrate on the route rather than the fact my body is screaming at me to stop!

Having been a sports person all my life (tennis club, swim squad, football and netball teams) I find the mentality of running and the only challenge being my own fitness levels an odd one – I guess I’m use to playing sport and competeing against others, so normally I'd not want the game or match to stop! But as we came in to the last minute of today's run I felt a huge sense of relief that I could stop very soon!

But I was also pleased I had done it and not cancelled as I’d tried to!

Big news! I’d just run 20 minutes continuous running! And our 20 minute (continuous!!!) run today got us just short of 2 miles in distance … so I can see that I’m improving even if it doesn’t feel easier!

I’m committed to this 10k in September but at the moment the running still feels hard. I have signed up to our Freedom 2 Run 10-week course, I’m hoping I will learn a few tricks about pace and breathing.

P.S I still don’t like running! But I do enjoy the feeling once I have completed a run #thisgirlcan or should I say this girl is!

Freedom 2 Run session 1 - 15 June 2017

me after my first Freedom to Run session, feeling good. zero to 10k run by a non-runner. how to start running,

So I arrived ready for the Freedom 2 Run course at Littlehampton Leisure Centre and my first thought was "what if this hinders my training?" then "I bet there will be some super fit people there", followed by "should I or shouldn't I count this as a training run", ending on "why is it always so windy when I run?!?"... it's fair to say I was nervous and over thinking at this point! But as my sister joined me on the course it helped me relax a little and motivated me to go.

There were 10 other women of all different ages and all different fitness levels also on the course. The instructor was good at explaining up front what we would be doing that evening, and I liked the fact that she was going to look at our stride and technique, as I was unsure if my technique was any good -  I was wondering if I hadn't been extending my legs wide enough and if I'd been plodding!

The session was a mix of breathing and running techniques, a bit about the importance of warming up and cooling down, and then a mix of walks/runs and sprints. The instructor got me to drive from my hips in the sprints and it really opened my stride out, which then benefitted the jog/run sections! I also learnt about concentrating on my breathing which gave me more in the tank for the longer distance jogs!

I came out feeling really positive (above pic) and I'm really looking forward to trying out my newly learnt techniques on Saturday. Watch this space.

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Carrie will continue to update this blog with regular updates about her journey to her 10K race - so check back for her next installment!

Has Carrie inspired you?

Speak to our teams about running session they may have on offer, many offer couch to 5k groups and run clubs! Also our fitness instructors can help advise you on how to start running and incorporate running into your fitness regime.

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