Obviously they weren't killing themselves. We followed a program of 3 minutes walking and 2 minutes running, 4 times each. At the start they were all nervous and might have doubted their ability to go round - on their own, they might not even have attempted it. The contrast to the end could not have been greater. They were delighted, surprised by how (relatively) easy it had been and chuffed that they had just covered well over 1.5 miles under their own steam. I think they had not expected to last even a mile.
I warned them not to ruin it all by rewarding themselves with a big slice of cake or similar caloric bomb, but you could argue that is a case of do as I say, not as I do. My own diet is still one of heaps of sugar and calories - I promised myself a few weeks break from the healthy living after months of restraint. I'll be back on the ascetic bandwagon soon enough; as long as my weight is still under 11 stone and my waist under 30 inches, it can't be that bad.
Anyway, seeing these new runners enjoy themselves so much was a somewhat new experience, though of course I have been there myself, 8 long years ago. It did remind me once more how much I love running.
Of course there is no guarantee that they will stick to running. But I'm sure when they finished Saturday's run they were all full of good intentions of keeping it all going. If they can stick with it, they will receive all the benefits, from increased health and confidence, reduced weight and cholesterol and whatever else comes with it. To be honest, I'd rather have a few non-runners take up the sport on a recreational basis than to get one runner in the club into the top level. To me, the main benefits of sport are not at the elite level - they are at the back of the pack, and the biggest reward is not a winner's trophy but the joy of running itself.
As for my own running, it's getting along. It's still less than a week since I've laced up my shoes again, but the progress is already clear and rapid. If only one could improve every week like the first one! The mileage is still very modest, but that will change over time. I'll keep in mind that this is base training. It's not my most favourite part of training, but if it can get me back into the same shape I was a year earlier, the Tralee marathon is going to be a good one.
- 15 Sep
- 5 miles, 37:54, 7:34 pace, HR 145
- 16 Sep
- 8 miles, 1:01:01, 7:37 pace, HR 149
- 17 Sep
- 5 miles, 38:59, 7:48 pace, HR 145