It’s Day 15 and for the past 7 days the sun has been splitting the sky, generating freckles, forcing flowers to spring from the soil and making the whole experience of covering 5K every day for 50 days a really bloody pleasant one. Cut to 10 days ago however and it was an altogether different story. Think hail stones and horizontal rain, sullen grey walks dragging prematurely blistered feet, crying into the wind, “what the hell have I got myself into?!” Welcome to the highs and lows of the 5 x 50 Challenge.
The deal is this. You pay £5 (or more,) which is distributed among some fantastic charities and then you promise that you’ll cover 5K every day for 50 days, or swap out that 5K for 30 mins of intensive exercise. Come day 50 you’ll be in the habit of getting your heart rate up and feeling good every 24 hours and so hopefully this new regime will stick, well that’s the plan anyway.
I’m not a competitive person and being the fastest or the best doesn’t concern me but a personality test recently confirmed what I had always suspected, that I tend to follow rules and authority – so basically if you tell me to run 5K every day then I’ll probably do it. As an aside, if you’re looking for someone to brain wash then I’d probably be an excellent candidate.
We signed up as part of a team in work and so we’re tracking all our activity on the Runtracker app and the 5 x 50 website, meaning that there’s nowhere to hide. You don’t need to be part of a team, it’s also possible to sign up to the challenge individually and there’s a number of options that you can take, including splitting the daily 5K between a number of people, if you don’t feel that you can cover the full 5K every day.
Why take on this challenge? Well the organisers are on to a winner. Starting it on Sunday 31 March, the day that the clocks went forward, was a genius move. Having spent the winter gorging on crisps and dip and pretty much, ‘completing’ Netflix – seriously, I was down to Last Tango in Halifax ( which is actually very good,) using the longer nights to be productive and pound the pavements in anticipation of the flesh baring months makes perfect sense.
I’m a member of a gym and go to yoga twice a week but while in my head I’m pretty fit, I’m actually a bit of a slacker, always happy to sack off exercise in favour of an early night if I’m feeling a bit jaded, despite knowing that some exercise and a good dose of fresh air usually does the trick.
Really though, it was one of my now team mates who had me signing on the dotted line after pointing out that 5K a day shouldn’t even be seen as much of a challenge – we should be doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day,minimum. Like many people, my life is very sedentary, an average work day usually goes something like get in the car at 7:45 am, drive for 40 minutes and then spend the rest of the day sitting on my butt before I get home at 6:00 pm to do more of the same, followed by a bit of lying down for 9 hours. There might be a walk around the block at lunchtime or yoga twice a week, maybe a Sunday walk, but all that sitting can’t be good for anyone.
So here I find myself at Day 15 and totally loving it. Some days I opt to walk the 5K instead of running it, mainly due to a nasty blister that I got on day 3 after a heavy treadmill session. Trotting around my local neighbourhood as the sun goes down, listening to podcasts and embracing post work thinking time, free of screens, has become one of the best parts of my day. I’d forgotten the pleasure of simply being outdoors.
Now my foot is better, I’m trying to run the 5K, keen to push myself and shed a few pounds for holiday, which coincides nicely with Day 50 of the challenge.
Darker days could be ahead. Apparently Day 18 is meant to be a toughie and admittedly when the weather stops being glorious I might not be so enthusiastic about slipping into my trainers after work. Evening plans can make things a little tricky but as long as you plan ahead then squeezing some exercise into your day really isn’t very hard.
I’m not a natural runner, nearly every step hurts and my body feels clunky. I don’t have perfect form and I constantly have to coach myself, urging myself on until then end of this song, or that tree. Though sometimes, a little more often these days, a great song might come on, I’ll feel the breeze in my face and I’m not even thinking about running, or the challenge, I just feel good, really good!
Excellent Podcasts to walk to
Tracks to help you get moving
Happy running bitches! x