Run Run Run - Blog Post Number 100!

I can't believe I've reached 100 posts on the blog! Having finally broke 5k when training, I thought this would be the perfect occasion to celebrate by talking about what I'm doing and why it's so close to my heart.

I'm currently training to run the Electric Run in London which is a 5K rave / race taking place at the end of April. I'm running in aid of Breast Cancer Care, and anyone who knows me in real life will know this isn't something which comes easy to me. I'm not a natural athlete. At all. I might sometimes run for a bus, but genuinely the only thing I can run well is a bubble bath!

My year started out on a bit of a shaky note. I had found myself with a throat infection and an adverse reaction to Penicillin which knocked me out of action for over a fortnight and as the boredom and frustration set in, so did the need to really challenge myself. I'd had such a huge enthusiasm for the start of the year and was really inspired by my friend Miranda who is training to run a marathon so decided to see what I could do when I put my mind to it.

I've been training every other day for six weeks now and feel so lucky that I live right next to Hampstead Heath. The views have made the runs a little easier to face, and the size of it means I've worked out several different routes which keep things varied. However the key thing has been finding a fitness app which works for me, and I very much feel like my running breakthrough is by way of Zombies Run 5K. It starts with a series of drills wound around a story which slowly grows your fitness and endurance while keeping you interested. It even ensures you incorporate stretches and breaks into the routine too, which for someone like me who is a total novice is a huge help.

In my six weeks, I feel like I've learnt a lot and thought I'd put a list together of what I wish I'd known when I first started out. Some of these are glaringly obvious looking back, but it took a few runs to properly sink in!

- Zips are you best friend when running. When choosing what to wear, you want something which can hold your keys, your phone and maybe some money without it spilling out.

- No one cares what you look like when you're working out. During my first week of running, I'd take the time to do my hair and look half way presentable. Now it's mostly stuffed under a hood or piled into a messy bun so it's out my face.

- If you're running in open spaces with very little shade, don't forget a moisturiser with SPF. Better still, just use sun screen!

- Make sure you dress for the weather. When it's very cold, I'll wear leggings under my running pants and a t-shirt, thermal top, windbreaker and hooded top to cover my top half. This keeps the wind and rain off my chest, the heat inside and still lets me strip off a few layers if I feel like I'm overheating. I've also taken to wearing a vintage scarf or fleece snood under my hood if I need to keep my hair dry or in pin-curls. It also stops the heat escaping and keeps me toasty warm.

- Make sure you dress for the terrain you're training on. I generally get really muddy so have taken to wearing dark, cuffed joggers. Because they're closed tight around my ankles, my legs don't get splattered in mud or water from puddles.

- Make a playlist which will keep you motivated. Most training apps will utilise the songs on your iPod or smart phone so use this to your advantage. Sometimes I'll run to blip heavy trance music to keep me at a steady pace, whilst other times it's all the guilty pop pleasures for a rush of endorphins.

- Nothing beats a good sports bra. If you've got huge boobs like me, it doesn't hurt to team it with a shock absorbing crop top too, even if it's worn underneath another t-shirt.

- Make sure your running bottoms fit properly. I learnt in my first week that there's nothing more annoying than having to constantly hold onto them or pull them up when jogging.

- Warm up and cool down. Simple leg exercises and stretches really make all the difference, and will stop your calves, knees or ankles from seizing up during the course of your session. If you're having trouble with a particular part of your body, compression supports might help.

- Set yourself a schedule. I run every other day to give my muscles a chance to recover and if I have to miss a day, I simply change my program rather than ignore it all together. Keep a diary (I've created a google calendar so I can see everything I need to in one go) and use something like Run Tracker to keep track of your progress.

My last piece of advice would be to feel proud when you reach a milestone, no matter how small they might seem. For me reaching 5K was met with a similar reaction to what a marathon runner probably feels crossing the 26 mile finish line - utterly exhausted, in pain, but over the moon!

There's a part of me which feels quite strange writing this, as I never thought I'd be a person giving out advice on this sort of subject. I'm not an expert or an athlete but I'm certainly feeling fitter, focused and more motivated in other aspects of my life. Although I'd be lying if I said I was finding the process fun, it is incredibly satisfying and I'm almost certain that once the race is over with, I'll still keep out my routine. I doubt I'll ever run a full marathon, but I've learned to never say ever. Two months ago I never thought I'd be able to run 5k either!

I've set up a Just Giving page here where I'm raising money for Breast Cancer Care, and if anyone feels like they would like to donate even a small amount, I'd be so grateful.

I'm so happy to have reached my hundredth post, and look forward to sharing many more of them with you! 

Until next time,

Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

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