In September 2012 I decided I wanted to learn how to run. So I downloaded the Couch to 5km running podcasts to my phone and started to run. I made fast progress at first, which then slowed and levelled out over the year. It's now a year on and I have been running for 12 months. I have run 516 miles, and have never gone more than 6 days without a run.
My running miles dipped over the Summer for a number of reasons: the heat, school holidays, our busy family lifestyle... so I decided to set myself a challenge in September, once the children were back in school and the weather was cooling down. I set a goal to run 60 miles in September (and I named the challenge September60!) and I had a few friends from my online running group join me in my challenge.
It was great because inexperienced/new runners and seasoned runners alike took up the challenge. One lady (who I will call KC!) had started running in May via the C25k podcasts, and I know she hadn't done any runs over 3 miles previously. She was viewing the challenge in smaller runs; 60 miles per month is 2 miles per day, or 4 miles every other day. I believe she more than achieved what she set out to do - I know she had at least one run of 5 miles, which is a fantastic achievement.
Dylan, on the other hand has been out far fewer times, but with 28 running miles achieved in just one day, he easily powered through the 60 mile challenge!
Personally, I aimed to reach 60 miles by running 15 miles per week over 3 runs each week. I wanted to vary my distances, so aimed to do a 3 miler, a 5 miler and a 7/8 miler each week. About half way through the month, I realised I was feeling strong and fitter than I had previously and realised I was benefiting from the regular running. Last weekend, I planned in a 10 mile run, which I did with my running pal, Ang.
We planned a flat, off and on road route, and agreed to take it very slowly. We aimed for 11-12 minute miles and we did it! I had previously preferred to do my longer runs alone, but it was great having the company. It took us 1 hour 54 minutes and it helped to pass the time, having a friend to share the run with, sharing the uphill groans and to swear with on the gravel that seemed to penetrate our thin-soled minimalist shoes! We had an agonising wait for Endomundo to change from 9.99 miles to 10....and it was nice to be able to share that too!
So that was my first 10 miler, and it was nice to do it as part of the September60 challenge AND in the month when I celebrated 12 months of running!
It did get me thinking though. 10 miles isn't that far off half marathon distance is it? I have yet to enter any events, and will only enter one which really interests me and has a route which would be an inspiring run.
I have found such an event, in November. I am still running through the thought process, training and logistics of entering a half marathon any time soon. And I am hoping my running pal Ang will be able to run it with me. There are a lot of what-ifs and things I am unsure of, so I won't say anything else about it just yet.
So it is the 29th September today and I have run 70 miles so far in September. Blasted September60 out of the water... 60 running miles and then some! I intend to try and keep things steady over the next few weeks as it is a fairly big increase I have done. I tried to up my mileage a little too fast over late Winter and had to rein it in a little. I intend to have a steady running month in October, with perhaps 1 or 2 longer runs. I intend to stick (mostly) to 3 runs per week (mostly because we have half term and a few other things planned which will no doubt prevent this every week), and make a decision by the middle of the month about the November half marathon.
So thank you fellow September60 runners. It's been an awesome year, learning to run, running with amazing running friends and sharing the ups and downs with many of you. I still consider myself to be an inexperienced runner and I know going into the second year will only bring better achievements, faster runs and stronger legs!