Pounding the pavements: Running blog week seven

FOLLOW Worksop Guardian reporter Hayley Gallimore as she embarks on an eight-week beginners running course...

Three times this week I have run for 18 minutes non-stop. It’s a miracle of biblical proportions.

On Monday I completed the last of my ‘homework’ runs ahead of Wednesday’s 30 minute challenge.

That is what I’ve been working towards for the last eight weeks… I can hardly wait.

It’s been quite a journey, considering how unfit I was at the start, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Running regularly has really put a spring in my step – so much that I can’t imagine my life without it.

Over the last week I’ve perhaps seen the biggest leap in my stamina and ability. Last Wednesday’s run with the Gateford Girls began with a bombshell when running coach Roger Laidlow told us what was in store.

That evening we took a huge leap from three eight-minute runs to just one 18-minute slog.

I went as white as my running shoes at the thought. I had only expected we’d be running for ten or 12 minutes tops, not 18. And I honestly thought Roger had gone mad – I would never manage it.

But as always Roger assured us we could do it, and we set off slow. There was no stopping once we’d started jogging. But it helped to split the run into three six minute sections.

The first six was hard because it was uphill, and the second six was tough too. But by 12 minutes the battle was almost over. And the final few minutes were much easier.

It’s quite a bonding experience, week after week achieving such great results as part of a group. Our exhausted but elated expressions were proof of that.

And after a brief stroll to catch our breath, we even managed to run for another five minutes – all the way back to our cars.

I was on top of the world afterwards. And I couldn’t wait to get back out for my next two runs before the big one.

Roger made an interesting point about the mental barriers we put up for ourselves.

He had seen how worried I was at the start of the session. I literally thought I couldn’t run for 18 minutes.

But it was just my mind playing tricks on me. My body and my fitness levels were perfectly capable. And I pulled through.

It sounds dead cheesy but… if we can just overcome those nagging doubts we can achieve so much more than we think.

So I took myself off on my homework runs with a new found sense of belief. It didn’t make the running any easier – it was still really hard.

At certain points my legs felt like lead balloons and my heart was pounding out of my chest, but I never gave up. Even in the wet and windy conditions we’ve had this week. And I LOVED it.

Now I can’t wait to reach my ultimate goal of 30 minutes. If you happen to hear a gaggle of girls clapping and shrieking down Gateford way on Wednesday night, you’ll know we’ve done it!

Then on Saturday morning it’s the Aurora Santa Dash where I’ll join hundreds of other runners at The Canch in Worksop for a 3km fun run dressed in Santa suits.

The Run For It beginners course may be drawing to an end. But I feel like my journey is just beginning and there’s so much to look forward to.

• Run For It is a running club which promises to build your fitness in eight weeks so you can run for 30 minutes. Find out more at www.runningcourses.co.uk

Classes take place in Worksop, Harworth, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham. They are open to men and women of all ages and abilities.