What a difference a day makes! Have just returned home from Janathon day five and I feel pretty good.

Went to the gym again this evening, but managed so much more than last night.

I took some advice that was left on my blog yesterday by The Virtual Runner, who told me to take my inhaler 10 minutes before starting any cardio. Pretty obvious really, I can’t believe I hadn’t realised before. I’d always saw my inhaler as something to use once I’ve become wheezey, not something to open my airways to prevent it happening in the first place.

So I tried that tip out today, took two puffs before heading off to the gym and it seemed to have worked – I haven’t had to take it again since!

Plus my running went much better today. Managed 2k yesterday, which admittedly turned into mostly walking. Today, I set the distance to 2k and started running. To start with it hurt, and I was concentrating so much on my breathing I was all over the place. Then, I got a bit more into my stride, so thought I’d have a walk at 1k. That came and went. I’ll walk at 1.6k I thought, so at least I’ve done a mile without stopping. That too came and went and I was still running… all the way to 2k! Did it in 13.09, which is a good start.

Then went over to do some cycling whilst watching Mastermind – a great way to pass the time.

Then some more weights and stretches before heading home happy. Feel like I’ve finally got off to a good start with my Janathon.

The Fifth Day Stats:

  • Running: 2k in 13.09
  • Cycling: 6k in 15:55
  • ‘Arm rowing’: 2k

Due to the aforementioned lack of outdoor running gear (see The Third Day) my runs will have to remain confined to the gym until at least the weekend, when I can buy something other than the black hoodie, black leggings, no hat, no gloves outfit I went out in yesterday.

Today’s Janathon installment was a trip to the gym (not visited for a few months, except for a few classes). Again my lungs were my own worst enemy, as the asthma took hold only about 5 minutes into my run on the treadmill. Stupidly, I left my inhaler (and headphones) in the car, so without music or asthmatic relief I was only there for about 30 minutes.

The Fourth Day Stats:

  • Running: 2k
  • Cycling: 3k
  • Arm rowing (not sure what the technical term is): 1k
  • LOTS of leg weights and stretching

I’d like to reiterate what I’ve just said on Twitter and summarise that run in three words: horrible, horrible and horrible.

I realised whilst running that I’d counted wrong, and haven’t actually been for a run in approaching 4 months, so it’s effectively like I never did that 10k last year.

It certainly felt like it did when I first started out last time – painful to say the least. I managed my ‘quick route’ this morning though, one which I did a lot whilst training for the 10k on days when I needed to do some running but just wanted to nip out for a short run.

I also realised three other things this morning. Firstly, I do not have appropriate clothing for running in winter (couldn’t find any non-leather gloves, couldn’t find a hat, don’t have a jacket), which will need rectifying pretty quickly as running in what I wore in August, plus a hoodie, isn’t really going to cut it.

Next, I’ve put my iPhone holder somewhere ‘safe’ which I now can’t find – and it’s a pain to run whilst holding it.

Lastly, I don’t think I realised quite how badly my asthma has returned with a vengeance this winter. The cold air really makes it a lot, lot harder than I had imagined on my chest. Exercise should help.

One good thing though – my new app RunKeeper was really good and tracked my run, generating the stats below…

The Third Day Stats: 

  • Exercise: Running (and some walking)
  • Distance: 2.57km
  • Time: 21:53 (really, really rubbish!)
  • Exertion: Lots!

It can only get easier from here, right?!

Well I’ve stumbled at the first hurdle here, and missed out the The First Day altogether. I think I have a pretty good excuse given the fact I didn’t know about Janathon until this morning.

I’ve certainly eased myself in gently with this one. Did I find all my running gear and hit the streets? Maybe go to the gym for a swim? Oh no, my second (first) day of exercise has been walking into town. I could’ve driven or taken the bus, but decided to walk as it was the first kind of real movement I’ve done in a good week or so. Plus, there was the walking around town, to the pub, to the cinema, to the bus stop, so you can add on a little to the info below…

The Second Day Stats: 

  • Excercise: Walking
  • Distance: 2.2 miles (plus walking around shops etc.)
  • Time: 40 mins (plus walking around shops etc.)
  • Exertion: Slim to none (promise to do better tomorrow)

I’ll start at the beginning of my running relationship – it hasn’t been going long. Early last year I decided I was going to finally do something I’d been thinking about for some time and start running.

So, I signed up for the Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield in September. I persuaded a couple of friends from work to do it with me – one a regular runner, one a fellow first-timer (but a much, much more driven one).  It ended up that I did the majority of the training on my own as I got frustrated with how they were running better/harder/faster/more often than me.

Skip a few months, a few really good runs, a lot of really painful runs, some weeks where I nearly gave up altogether and I finally made it down and up (including an awful hill of a final kilometre!) Sheffield in 1 hour 4 minutes. Not too bad for a first attempt but average nonetheless.

Then I decided I needed a break. Of three months. The first couple of months were a break, then it was almost Christmas (!), so thought I might as well not bother. Too many parties, food, drink and all that.

Which brings me up to now. I’d promised myself throughout December that January was the time to get exercising again anyway, but I found something this morning that convinced me it was definitely a good idea. I follow Company magazine’s Samantha Flowers on Twitter, and this morning she wrote about going for a run with Karleen Smith. I then clicked through to her blog and read about Janathon – a competition where runners run, or do some kind of exercise, for every day in January, log it, then blog about it. Everyone then shares their experiences, comments, advice and encouragement. Perfect.

Having discovered this on the second of January, and the fact I don’t think I’ll be logging my efforts fully on Running Free (sorry), I’m immediately ruling myself from actually winning any of the Janathon prizes, but as long as it gets me moving I don’t mind.

I’ll definitely be doing lots of other exercise, not just running. I don’t have a second attempt at the 10k distance planned in yet, although there is a possible event in Derby in April, so at the moment I’ll just be training to get fitter again. Throw in some dance, yoga, more dance, kick boxing, general gym trips and maybe some days where it will be just be walking, and that will be my Janathon.

Here’s hoping it continues into February.