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Hannah Tries: Running and Swimming Grid Challenge

Hi everyone, I’m Hannah, the Marketing Assistant at Warwick Sport and for two weeks from next Monday I’m going to be blogging/vlogging my participation in this term's Running and Swimming Grid Challenge.

Why? I’ll be the first to confess I’m not the most active person, and definitely not when it comes to running or swimming; I struggle to run further than 3km on a good day and go embarassingly red and out of breath when I try, and the closest I get to swimming is bobbing around a pool on holiday.

Last term I joined the Running and Swimming Grid Challenge with a team from my office and was surprised by how much it motivated me to push myself that bit further and was really proud of the 17.44km I walked/ran that week - small distance for others, big deal for me.

I hope by promising to share a very real account of how I get on over the next two weeks I can encourage anyone who’s undecided about joining, intimidated by the crazy lengths people go, doesn’t want to sign up on their own or finds themselves struggling to stay motivated throughout the challenge to sign up and/or stick at it.

Sign ups close on Sunday so if you’re up for joining me (and everyone else who’s already signed up) please complete the form for yourself/your team before then.

Once the challenge starts I’ll be posting daily, and I’d love to hear from all of you how you’re getting on too so if you’re up for the challenge, or just want to see how embarrassingly red I go when I run (trust me it’s bad), make sure you’re following us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram (@warwicksport) to stay up to date.

Day One - 29/01/2018:

So today was the first day of the challenge and while many people were up early to get a head start I can safely say I was not one of them. After a busy day at work I did however manage to summon the energy to get myself on a treadmill and jogged/ran (with a couple of walking breaks) 4.4km in 30minutes. It's not my best effort but wouldn't say it's a bad start for me, and for anyone who's still thinking about joining it's not much to catch up on and not too late to sign up. Let's hope tomorrow feels a bit easier.

Day Two - 30/01/2018:

It's only day two and I've already managed to go my first day of the challenge without running or swimming at all. I've been on my feet in a video training course all day then headed straight to Cryfield for an hour and a half Yoga course so perhaps it's understandable I didn't get to run or swim, but even if you've just chosen to take a break today there's nothing wrong with that. Remember we're going for two weeks this time so you don't have to do something everyday - or so I keep telling myself!



Day Three & Four - 31/01/2018 & 01/02/2018:

After what's felt like a slow/non-extistant start, without even managing to write a post let alone run or swim on day three, I feel like I've turned a bit of a corner. Despite being pretty nervous about not being able to keep up with others I joined the Group Run on my lunch break and not only completed, but actually kind of enjoyed it. I also met some lovely new people and felt much more refreshed going back to work afterwards. At this point I realised I'd completed two runs so far that both fell just short of the 5km mark, so after work I hit the gym determined to go the distance (even if that meant walking a little). After starting today annoyed I wouldn't be able to match, let alone beat the 17km I ran in one week last term as I'd been hoping, it's suddenly back within reach. More importantly though I've rediscovered how much I enjoy running outside and realised that running with other people isn't so bad. All in all, a much better day.



A group of people getting ready to run. A group of people posing after completing a run.

Day Five - 02/02/2018:

I'm quite fortunate that part of my job involves distributing print around campus, giving me an opportunity to get out the office and get some walking in this morning. I had a pretty tiring day so decided I'd only try to run 2.4km in the gym tonight, a distance I used to run to try to improve my speed but as I haven't done this in a while my only goal was to try to finish without any walking breaks. I didn't even quite manage that but it wasn't a bad effort. The main thing I find difficult about the challenge is that I often focus so much on activities that involve distance I neglect other areas of working out I enjoy and find beneficial, particularly strength and conditioning. I tried doing a hill walk today to work on building muscle strength and getting more distance but if anyone has any ideas or tips for how else to balance the two I'd be keen to hear them (@warwicksport). I've really started to feel the strain this evening and was reminded of some advice our Physiotherapy Clinic staff have shared with us about being careful not to overdo it, and as much as I want to push myself I think it might we wise for me to take it a bit easier this weekend.

Day Six & Seven - 03/01/2018 & 04/02/2018:

It's safe to say I definitely took it easier this weekend. I'd had a particularly busy week at work, lots happening in my life outside of work, muscles in my abs and sides (not just my legs) had started to tense up and with the terrible weather I just didn't feel up to doing anything... so I didn't. I did some easy stretching around my flat and tried to incorporate walking into what I was doing, like chosing to walk rather than drive to the shop, but didn't manage to cover much distance - and in spite of my competitive side I'm so glad I did. I feel so much better having taken the time to rest, and as much as I enjoy the challenge my priority had to be recuperating and getting ready for another week of work. Now bring on week two!

Day Eight - 05/02/2018 

Be prepared for some horrendously cheesey footage but here is my first official (attempt at) a vlog during the challenge - taken on a lunchtime walk around the 2km running route on campus today.

I also went to the gym after work with the somewhat idealistic aim of running 5km without walking. Suprisingly I think the break over actually helped, rather than hindered me as I managed 4.5km without walking - even after my bluetooth headphones ran out of battery part way through the run. In fact I think being able to hear my own breathing and not trying to run 'in time' to different songs may have helped me keep a steadier pace and made me more aware of how my body was coping to know I could go on that bit longer. I was hoping to walk the last bit to make up the 5km however the treadmill timed out at 4.74km but after all that effort I wasn't going to let technology defeat me and instead ended up running a whole extra 1km just to make up up for it. So after a week, and in spite or pehaps because of a break I'm definitely starting to notice improvements in my stamina.

Day Nine & Ten - 06/02/2018 & 07/02/2018

Yesterday and today have been pretty manic so I haven't been able to get as much running let alone vlogging or posting done as I would've liked. On Tuesday's I've joined the Yoga course but as I finish at 5pm and the course starts at 6pm I took the time between to walk the 3.2km Lakes route to get some bonus points before heading over to Cryfield. It was nice but definitely not the best idea given how cold it is, in fact it probably would've been better to run! Today I was hoping to join the Wellbeing Walk at lunch to get a few more bonus points but once again time was against me, and I had to work late meaning I didn't make it to the gym either. Sometimes life's like that and it's totally ok, just given me more determination to go that bit further for the last few days of the challenge.

Day Eleven - 08/02/2018

Today was a much better day. I started work at an event at Argent Court, followed by training at Scarman House, then back to the Sports Centre to get some filming in - giving me lots of opportunities to get some distance in walking between locations. After work I headed to the gym for what will probably be my last time during the challenge as I have friends staying this weekend. I managed to run 5km in just over 30mins which seems to be something I've inadvertently been working towards all challenge and then walked a further 1km at the end. That said there's a couple of other intentions I had this challenge, like joining a running/walking group and actually going swimming, which haven't happened but in spite of that I've nearly reached a total distance of 50km which for someone who doesn't usually run I have to say I'm pretty proud of. Fingers crossed I can get the last few km in walking tomorrow and over the weekend.

Days Twelve, Thirteen & Fourteen – 09/02/2018 to 11/02/2018

As expected my efforts this weekend were less than impressive. While I imagine most participants peak at the beginning and end of the challenge I seem to end up peaking in the middle, and I'd be interested to know whether other people find this or not. I had friends to stay this weekend so while I may have found myself walking to and from various places to eat, drink and socialize tracking these walks wasn’t my top priority. I've uploaded the couple of walks I did track over the weekend and as the challenge is officially over from my own calculations I’ve just managed to get over my 50km total distance goal, which alongside a few bonus points is an effort I’m really proud of. Now to wait for the results – I definitely won’t make the top individuals but I’m hoping to have played a small part in helping our team come close to the top. We’ll just have to wait and see…