READER REPORT:

From slob to irritatingly smug

LIZ PRICE
Last updated 05:02 22/01/2014

What keeps you running?

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From couch potato to running bean

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It was realising that I couldn't walk to the top of The Terrace in Wellington without needing a 10-minute recovery period that prompted me to do the Couch to 5k programme.

It's a mobile phone application, recommended to me by a colleague, that gives you instructions over your music.

It starts you off gently - three minutes running, followed by 90 seconds walking, etc. The aim is to gradually build up so that by week 9 you are running 5 kilometres.

For the first week I could barely walk. In particular, my calves felt like they were laced with razor blades. My colleagues found this very funny and kept asking me to get things off the printer for them.

Gradually it got easier, and now I'm running 5km most days.

To say I enjoy it would be a lie, but I no longer feel like I want to die with every step.

It goes like this: First kilometre, easy; second kilometre, this is a dumb idea as running will ruin my knees and ankles and I should be having a rest day today anyway; third kilometre, well, I'm halfway, so may as well keep going; fourth kilometre, smugness and visions of all those people sitting on their bums on the couch; fifth kilometre, extreme smugness.

Now that my lungs aren't on fire and my legs don't hurt too much, I find the biggest challenge is the tedium of running.

This is where having great music helps. I find I can finish any run if listening to Poi E, and sometimes I belt it out too.

Long, involved trains of thought also help pass the time. My current favourites are that one of my daughters marries an All Black and I get free corporate box tickets to every test, and how much I love Jesse Ryder because he is so deliciously flawed and I wonder if he likes much, much older women.

I have, however, become a running bore, taking my colleagues through the previous day's run kilometre by kilometre.

The test for me will come in winter. It's much easier to be motivated to run when the evenings are long and the weather fine. I just don't have it in me to come home from work and then run through rain and sleet in the dark.

So I may have to buy a treadmill. At this time of year, I am sure there will be hundreds on Trade Me. Then I can pound away in front of Come Dine with Me replays and Coro Street on Friday nights, although I'm not sure where I'm supposed to rest my wine glass.

My advice to aspiring runners is give it a go. You'll get fitter and feel incredibly smug.

Sadly, I have not yet experienced the runner's high or thigh gap, although I still hold out hope for both. 


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