Where things are looking better, but also much worse

I have made no secret of the appalling state of my fitness, which was confirmed to me last week when I ventured into a gym for the first time in some years. As previously noted, my overall lifestyle is pretty crap, and the most exercise I usually get is running up and down two flights of stairs to answer the door to housemates who have forgotten their keys.

However. It would seem that things are not as bad as I’d thought, while simultaneously being much worse. As far as resistance training is concerned, I’m top of the class. Even lanky Dave, the ironic weights trainer, says so. Give me a jar and I’ll smash the lid into the sun. A bus has fallen onto your baby? My mighty legs will kick it right off. Weights. No problem.

Even general cardio is looking okay. Put me on the cross-trainer, exercise bike or rowing machine and I’ll spanner around quite happily for miles and miles. I’ll huff and puff and get red in the face and my hair will cling to my forehead in a hugely unattractive many, but I’m pretty sure I could cover a substantial distance in an acceptable time.

BUT. Put me on the treadmill, and it just all goes to shit. My body, it seems, it actually allergic to the physical act of running. And this is why I’m feeling hugely disheartened and irritated today, having just come back from the gym with another failed attempt to run one single kilometre in one go. Infuriatingly, I feel like I could run much further than I do, but am constantly thwarted by a stitch in my right side.

I’ve tried eating smaller meals and indeed no meals prior to the gym. I’ve tried limiting my water intake. I’ve tried holding my arms in different ways, and running at different speeds, and doing different warm ups, and yet at about 0.5km the bastard creeps up and renders me completely unable to walk, never mind run. WHY IS THIS?

Someone has suggested that it may well be linked to irregular breathing, and if this is the case, I am utterly screwed. I’ve had an ongoing nose complaint for many, many years, where the stupidly thin bridge of my nose makes nasal breathing a right ball-ache. I’ve got it under control on a day-to-day basis, but evidently doing so during strenuous exercise is proving more of a problem. Short of smashing my face up with a hammer I’m not sure what I can do to rectify the issue in an exercising context. Dear Internet, can you help me?



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9 responses to “Where things are looking better, but also much worse

  1. Don’t panic! This happens to lots of people when they start running (or, in my case, start running a bit, flail through a 5k, stop for months, start again last weekend.)

    The brilliant news is how fit you are in all other aspects. That’s something to be hugely proud of! For running, something I was recommended by a newly-fit friend is a fantastic app called Couch to 5km, now known as the rather more rubbish Ease into 5km, like it was a pair of jeans, or a nest of vipers. It will start you off really gently with plenty of breaks and you just work up through there by following the program. Good luck!

  2. Cat Hackforth

    Definitely eat before running (delicious fuel) but wait half an hour or so before getting on the treadmill, otherwise it just sloshes around and makes you feel sick. I speak from experience. Eugh.

    You might find running outdoors easier. It’s not as stuffy as a gym and there’s stuff to look at. Like dogs and trees and things.

  3. Danielle

    OK, this sounds a bit wanky, but I had the same allergy to running problem, and downloaded this free podcast (the ‘First Day to 5K one) http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/podrunner-intervals-workout/id272591768 and it actually really worked! Yes, the music’s a bit questionable, but it keeps you at a steady pace and gradually increases week on week, and you get an overly friendly American guy giving you praise along the way. Might be worth a try…

  4. Laura Murphy

    ^^ I would agree with Cat. Let’s go for a spin around the common when my leg feels less like it’s about to drop off.

  5. Echoing the Couch-2-5k love here in potentially cult style. Bear in mind that running a kilometer non-stop is going to take about 6-8 minutes, and that with C25K you don’t run that long in one go until week 5.

  6. Loki Mars

    It sounds like you’re trying to do too much too soon. Why don’t you just do fast walking/light jogging on the treadmill for the first few weeks and gradually build from there?

    Alternatively, why use the treadmill? Crosstrainers, bikes and swimming are all great for cardio too.

    Good Luck. I love reading your blog, you have a great narrative. Have you written any stories?

  7. Jake (Nic's brother)

    Hey Rachel, my cross country coach used to tell us to run through them ( but he would wouldn’t he…) I still do this today and they go away. Advice on the web is pretty blokey and focussed on breathing differently, and eating less before venturing out. Personally I’d blame it on the running machine. This forum looked useful. The woman in post 20 suggests it’s time of the month, I don’t know what the state of the moon or tide has to do with it? The forum is here. Keep up the good work. jake

  8. Johnny B

    You could always try quitting smoking.

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