Wednesday 27 June 2012

Gah! Running!

Desperate times friends, desperate times. Yesterday I bought some running shoes and went jogging. Today I can barely walk, and stairs are the invention of the devil. I have two thoughts on jogging.

1) It really really hurts
2) Running shoes cost a bomb, in hindsight it would be have been much cheaper to eat less food and drink less wine

It has been brewing for a while. The other day, a birding associate who shall remain nameless likened me to Jabba the Hutt. Jabba was my thin uncle. I've tried (in the weakest most pathetic possible sense of the word) eating less, but that only lasts for about five minutes, and maybe not even as long as that. I've not tried not drinking, but seriously, I mean come off it. Stop drinking? I can't. Couldn't. It is one of the great pleasures in life, and I have a wine lake to get through. I play no team sports, I don't go the gym. I do a lot of walking, including carrying heavy stuff, but that doesn't cut it. It does however mean that my shoulder and back are a twisted mass of knots. In fact yesterday I figured I might as well go running because it wasn't possible for my back to hurt any more than it already did. I failed to consider my legs though, which I can now barely lift.

I am very happy, chuffed to bits in fact, with many many aspects of my life. The one thing that I am really not happy with is my shape. Waist, gut, and the dreaded moobs.  I have done so little for so long that when I say that I never run for birds, there's a genuine reason why that's the case. I can hardly run for a bus! I thought about cycling, but for some reason I can cycle for miles without it really hurting. I've just discovered that running really hurts, so this has to be a good thing.

You might think from my tortured description that I ran a half-marathon or something. No. I am starting slowly. Incredibly slowly. I have no idea how far I ran, but I am following instructions. Given that I have done no running for about twenty-six years, when I gave up PE in favour of Latin, the suggestion is to run for one minute, and then walk for a while. I couldn't remember how long the while was supposed to be, so made it a minute and then ran for another minute, repeating this five times. Then I was forced to extend the one minute of walking to two minutes of walking, which I also repeated five times. So all told I was out 25 minutes, during which time I ran for 10 of them, and at the end of which I had a stich and was having trouble breathing. You have to start somewhere I suppose. There is no possible way that I can go out again today, what with not really being able to move, but I am hoping that perhaps tomorrow if I repeat the whole sorry saga it might be a bit easier. Then again it might not be, but according to Wise Internet, gradually it will, and then you can extend the minutes. I may never get that far, but I am painfully aware of the need to amortise the shoes, so watch this space. Or look out for the obituary in the Wanstead Village Directory.


  1. Good on you!

    I started running a few years ago using Couch to 5K, but transitioned to Doctor Mama's advice midway through. I highly recommend her technique (plus it's extremely simple so you don't have to muck around with timing on and off). Although it was written more for internet-surfing hausfraus, it's totally applicable to men too. Check it out! (then all the stuff on the sidebar)

    One glorious summer I ran five miles every other day and lost all kinds of weight. But I had increased my distance too fast, got a knee ache as a result, and had to dial it back for a while. I am newly motivated because all of my clothes seem to have shrunk, so have gotten back to 5K every other day plus some biking. Which doesn't hurt as much for me either, but it's fun and better than doing nothing.

    After a week of rededication I am already more toned and think I am down a pound or two. So that's motivating.

    It is nice to see someone else starting up an exercise routine too. Good luck!

    P.S. I have gotten addicted to the incredibly weird and ugly Five Fingers shoes. They make running harder but, for me, more enjoyable. As others have noted there is something of an irony in spending $80 on shoes to have the experience of running as if you were wearing no shoes at all.

  2. don't try this at home kids! It'll wreck yer knees! seriously, jogging? only one step up from using a leaf-blower! It'll soon be autumn and you can watch those excess pounds fall off as you thrash the bushes for migs every day! Hey presto! No need for jogging! Course, if you had a leaf-blower you could blow the leaves out of the way, whilst jogging and look for migs at the same time! Bingo!

  3. did you get the socks with the shoes? Are they special running socks then? natty!

  4. Excellent! I foresee a great deal of merriment.

    Not for you of course...

  5. I gave up PE in favour of more art and music. I can't draw and playing guitar isn't really music.

    How much Latin do you still know? Scientific names don't count. Was that choice worth it?

  6. Decent running shoes are half the battle, but roll your socks down and get some air to your calves. You look like a German tourist with those white socks pulled up.

    I used to run a lot and still do occasionally. Just do a short distance to begin - even half a mile is fine - but do it as frequently as you can. You can also sprint for a short distance and then walk, then sprint etc. It's surprising how quickly you build up stamina if you stick to it and then on occasional days you can go further. Two or three games of football a week keep the weight off for me now and once you get that capacity to run a fair distance it doesn't really go away as long as you keep fairly fit, so if I do go for a run it's reasonably painless.

    If you leave off the wine in the week and eat sensibly, the weight drops off. Less time sat in a car at the weekend would help too! The early days are the hardest, just keep at it.


  7. I looked for you this morning... My top tips:
    1. Go as early as you can, don't eat first or you might puke.
    2. Don't worry about taking water until you are up to an hour on your feet.
    3. Don't run with your mouth open in Wanstead Park those big fly things will go in.

    I have often wondered why more of you birding lot don't run, get round the patch in no time. Laurel I've got New Balance Minimus men's they are oodles cheaper, get on Amazon, I even imported a pair from US for £50 inc post and tax.

    1. Kath, my father has those and loves them. They look good too. But I find something compelling about having all five toes free. Forgive me for sounding like a total hippie, but something about it makes me more present in the moment and thus I enjoy walking or running much more in them. Which is good because, with all the sweating and such, the more I can enjoy it the better...

      I have to disagree somewhat about the "go early" though--as my guru DoctorMama says, some people do well going early, some going late, and some are "fortunate bis". I am a night owl and running in the early morning makes a long slow death sound good by comparison. ALthough obviously Jono is used to getting up at the ass crack of dawn for birding, so he's probably a morning lark too.

  8. I think you have misunderstood mate when people have been telling you to "jog on"!

  9. Hi Jonathan,
    I've been running for several years now, having taken it up again in order to try to regain some form of fitness. If I can offer some thoughts on the matter:

    1. The key to fitness is that you do exercise regularly for the foreseeable future. It's not important how hard you push yourself on any individual trip, what is important is that you're still doing it in 6 months time. You'll naturally accrue the benefit just from this. Your 1 minute on and 1 minute off should ensure that you don't overdo it.

    2. I find that getting motivated is the key to doing it for a prolonged period of time. I therefore go for a run around the patch with my bins and a small point & shoot camera. This way I can cover a lot of ground in checking out the patch and I never lack motivation to go out because I'm always keen to find that mega that's bound to have dropped in on my patch. I often walk when I get to bits that I need to check out carefully but then run on to the next bit.

    Hope this is of some use to you.