Dec. 10th, 2012

liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
So two years ago, I started going to the gym; I was stressed that I couldn't do intense exercise even for one minute without being defeated by the combination of asthma and unfitness. Today I ran for 30 minutes continuously. Slowly, about 4½ mph, but I kept going, and that's still 30 minutes of moving faster than I've ever been able to purely under my own power.

how I got here, briefly mentions weight )

So where now? I find myself a really, really slow runner, but you know what? I wasn't at all sure I would ever be any kind of runner! I am going to try to build up until I can actually run 5 km in 30 minutes (as opposed to my current pathetic 3.5 km). My plan is to alternate running as fast as I can for 30 minutes, with running for as long as I can slowly until the two converge. Once I can run 5 km continuously, I will sign myself up for a Parkrun.

I'm also thinking about getting some equipment, now I've proved to myself that I'm actually a runner and not just a dilettante. The first priority has got to be decent running shoes; my cheapo trainers pinch and give me blisters, and that's proving quite a significant obstacle apart from anything else. It's hard to make myself continue running when my feet are hurting, and it's hard to make myself do any exercise outside my running sessions for the same reason. Also now that I'm running for a sustained amount of time, I know that cheap, ill-fitting shoes are an injury risk. A few people have suggested getting a gait analysis done; I've asked this before I think but I would appreciate any pointers for how to get running shoes that are actually helpful and well-made, rather than expensive because they're fashionable.

Other clothes: I'm basically ok running in just a short-ish skirt, with a t-shirt if indoors and a long-sleeved shirt butch enough to have a pocket for my smartphone when I run outdoors. But this does often involve my thighs chafing, and again, even the mild pain is an obstacle against running as much as I would like to. I have tried running in tights and generally found that too hot, and anyway tights never really fit me well over the groin and thighs and quite often increase chafing rather than preventing it. I've heard of a thing called "running tights", but it sounds like their job is to insulate people who run in cold weather, and my asthma means I can't really do that. I think what I really want is simply a pair of loose-fitting shorts; do those even exist for women? Men's running shorts would do if I can find any to fit me. How good are modern, breathable insulating fabrics? Enough better than brushed cotton to be worth investing in?

Everybody told me I need a "proper" sports bra. Honestly I've found a normal, but well-fitting bra to be perfectly adequate. When I tried wearing a support top I found it constricted my ribs enough that I couldn't take deep breaths, and that was more of an impediment to running than boobs bouncing about. As far as I can see sports bras are like a mild form of chest-binding, which is all very well but I'm not sure how feasible it is for E-cups.

I think maybe a head torch would be a good idea, because it would be nice to run outside after dark so I'm not restricted to the boring, sweaty treadmill as often. But since asthma means I can't really run when the air temperature is less than about 10 °C (that limit used to be more like 20 °C, by the way, another sign that I'm getting fitter!), I suspect that by the time it's warm enough to run at night, it will also be staying light enough later that I will have time to run after work anyway. In any case, I would definitely like a bumbag so that I can carry at least a wallet as well as my phone and keys; I think it's got to be a bumbag because a rucksack, even a small or light one, restricts my breathing enough to make running hard. I haven't yet succeeded in finding such a thing that isn't sold as being totally awesome cool for runners, and priced accordingly; I kind of resent spending over £10 on a pouch on a strap, and it's hard to see how a specialist one would improve my running!

I also want to get back into weight-training, because putting so much effort into running has led to my weights routine getting neglected. But that's probably for another post; I think my most likely plan is to find another incremental programme I can follow, so that I get a tangible sense of progress.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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