I can’t express how much I hate running (and rain). As far as I’m concerned it’s the devil’s exercise – I’m still haunted by the schoolgirl memory of running 400m, then throwing up at my PE teacher’s feet.
But the time came to face my fear. Lloyd, my personal trainer, suggested I try a form of exercise that’s easy to do outside of our gym sessions. And even after telling him of (yet another) class of ‘86 drama, he seemed willing to take on the challenge of getting me running again.
Lloyd explained that for a newbie it’s not all about pounding the tarmac for minutes on end. He wanted to set an initial pace that wouldn't scare me, so I can build on it in time. We began with a 10-minute warm-up of fast walking, then set to work on 40 minutes of walking and running at a 2:1 ratio – two minutes of fast walking, then one minute of running. He explained how important it is not to fly off too fast at the beginning as you’ve got to keep going for the 40 minutes. ‘Easy!’ I hear you cry, but those 60-second bursts of running felt longer and longer. I did make it through, though, with a small sense of achievement and a very fetching pair of rosy cheeks – thankfully there was no vomiting.
Go on, then, I'll admit it wasn’t that bad, even in the rain. (Did I just say that out loud?) I can only think this was down to Lloyd keeping my spirits up. He also pointed out that varying the terrain and running on softer ground is a lot less stressful on your joints. It was a great way to get into running and I’ll be intrigued to see if I'm ever able to complete a parkrun (parkrun.org.uk) without stopping…
So, the big question: would Tina try it again? Yes, I already have! With the help of my very patient, marathon-running boyfriend, I upped the ratio so I can now run for longer and walk for shorter periods. And after a particularly frustrating train journey out of London at the weekend to visit my folks in Suffolk, there was nothing for it – I had my trainers and the countryside on my doorstep: I was going for a run.
I even stopped the obsessive 60-second-clock watching. Not that this particular run didn't come with its share of danger moments: farmers with guns, dog walkers, a fallen tree in my path and, worst of all, forgetting to put a bra on! But all my train traumas were soon a distant memory. How satisfying.
I now have to clean my trainers for all the right reasons (NOT because I've been doing the gardening in them). I may need a second pair – I may even have to venture into a sports shop. Note to self: pick up a sports bra while I’m there.
NEXT TIME: Tina tries those big scary machines at the gym