health

HELP: I've decided to become a runner.

This will be me. Only with less forest and more shirt.

 

By NATALIA HAWK

A couple of weeks ago, I made a decision that is starting to keep me awake at night.

I decided that I’m going to do a 9km run in September. A race with hundreds of other people. Across the Harbour Bridge.

A race that’s timed and everything.

Some of you might be sitting there reading this going, “What’s the big deal? I run 9km all the time. 9km is actually quite a short stroll for me, really.” To you people, I say: Leave me alone. Because when The Man Upstairs Or Whoever was handing out running genes, he skipped over me.

I am fabulous at snorkeling and I am also unbelievably excellent at memorising useless song lyrics. But running is on a different planet. I have dabbled with it many times – but I am to running what fish are to the Tour De France.

It is simply not meant to be.

But because I am impulsive, because I like signing up to things, because I think the Harbour Bridge is pretty, because I am a sucker for events that come with a free t-shirt, because I don’t have enough things to do in all the spare time I have between working full time and studying full time – I SIGNED UP FOR A 9KM RUN.

Hear that? It’s the sound of me heading into full-on panic mode.

I even started compiling a list of the ways I could get out of the running festival. Adult chicken pox seemed like a good excuse – everybody knows how serious that can be. I also had a parasite not so long ago, so maybe I could just resurrect the parasite for a weekend?

But then I decided that I needed to eat a giant bowl of cement and put my Nike “JUST DO IT” face on. Seriously, there are nannas out there that can run 9km. Surely I can do it too.

So here the list of things I’ve been doing to prepare myself for said 9km run…

See? Friends are good. Especially when you can wear matching outfits.

1. Find a friend.

I bullied a friend into signing up for the 9km and running it with me. I highly recommend this, because it means that you have someone with which to discuss how long it could possibly take the average person to run 9km. (I thought it would be around four hours. But last year, the run’s average time was 62 mins – which just shows you how much I know.)

As a bonus feature, my friend is equally nervous about her running ability – so we’re going to train together. This will mean that I will not want to punch her in the face when we’re doing laps around Centennial Park and she still looks like Jennifer Hawkins while I closely resemble Chewbacca.

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2. Buy all the clothes.

Pretty exercise clothes are usually the answer to all my exercise woes. Personally, I am far more likely to run if I’m doing it in an amazing pale neon pink Lululemon top with built-in bra. If this will help you too, I officially give you permission to head over to your nearest sports clothing outlet and buy away. Guilt-free.

(In all seriousness, you need good shoes, an AMAZING sports bra and – if you want to go all out – maybe one of those heart monitors.)

(I also have magnesium powder and multivitamins and some kind of fancy pain-relief cream and Skins and one of those water bladders that you can fill with, like, 2L of Hydralyte. I know. Probably overboard, but fancy.)

3. Download all the music.

But make it the RIGHT music. I have three words for you: Ministry of Sound. I don’t even really like doof-doof music, but it is very difficult to get all Chariots-of-Fire-like when Ben Folds is crooning in your ear.

4. Find a training program.

This is probably the most important part, because without it I would probably find myself running in aimless circles around the park before giving up to go and play on the swings.

There are more training programs available online than you can poke a stick at – thank you Interwebs. The app Couch to 5K is an old favourite of mine. Michelle Bridges also has a running-specific program that you can get if you sign up to her 12 week body transformation program. And if you’re participating in the same running festival (the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival) as I am, Blackmores has set up a health coach with free training and health advice.

If all else fails, plug “running training program” into Google and just click on whatever might take your fancy.

5. Actually run.

Just as sleep and dinner is non-negotiable for me – I’m making running absolutely non-negotiable. That’s the only way I know that I will actually be able to run those 9km.

I have visions that soon I will participating in ultra-marathons. You know those ones that run from one side of Australia to the other? YEAH. Look out for me as I run past your town.

Are you a runner? Have you ever become a runner? Any tips for training for a marathon (even if it’s a really short one)? All are welcome, as I evidently know NOTHING.

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