Christina Hollis author, running, Zest magazine

Monday Fun Run – Part 4

Wendy Beeler: photo Antarctic Photo Library

I’d now reached the stage in my running apprenticeship of running for one minute, then walking for two minutes and doing an increasing number of repetitions. I was now managing nearly half an hour of vigorous exercise per day, four times a week. This doesn’t sound like much, but only a few years ago I couldn’t walk any further than the kitchen door. A severe allergic reaction had left me with cellulitis and reactive arthritis. I’ve never been one for dashing about, preferring cake and couch and writing is a pretty sedentary occupation. I was really pleased with what ‘d achieved so far, so when my sister told me she’d started Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred system, I thought I’d give it a try. The DVD was on special offer at Amazon, so that was this week’s prize when I kept with the Running Made Easy plan from Zest magazine. It was great, though as a born couch potato I kept the remote control to hand so I could stop it for a rest when things got too frantic!Within a few days of working through the basic exercises I could keep up with the DVD, but found I didn’t have enough energy left for running. Deciding to concentrate on one thing at a time I stopped the exercises, but I’ll start them again when the days get shorter. Running in the cold and dark really doesn’t appeal to me!

Christina Hollis, running, Zest magazine

Monday Fun Run – Part 2

Last Monday I told how this couch potato was tipped onto her two feet by a bad health report. Fired by a vague notion of running up one of Gloucestershire’s long and unforgiving hills, I tried the NHS get fit plan and dropped out on the first day. Then my daughter found the book Running Made Easy at our local library. She borrowed it – I read it.  As a confirmed five-toed sloth I never imagined I’d read a book on moving about at speed, but I read to from cover to cover, then went out and bought my own copy. I loved the approach, and couldn’t wait to get started. I’d heartily recommend this book to anyone who, like me, didn’t even know there were books on running. I’d assumed you ran flat out from the start – that was why I flaked out a few minutes into the Couch to 5k regime.   The Running Made Easy book is much more laid back and really appealed to my need for boxes to fill in and charts to complete. If you want to go the whole way, the book is an offshoot of Zest magazine. I hadn’t heard of that either, so in case you’ve never seen it here’s a link to their latest issue: although quite honestly if I’d caught sight of that before I read the book, I wouldn’t have needed their Sixty Second Secret Plan. I would have run a mile, no incentive needed!

Running Made Easy consists of a detailed plan to get you from a state of total indolence to adrenalin junkie within the space of ten weeks. includes a mission statement which you can tailor to your own needs and desires. You read this every day, and each time you complete a day of the plan, you allow yourself one little treat. At the end of each full week you get a bigger treat and after completing the whole plan you get your heart’s desire – or at least, the bog indulgence you promised yourself when you first filled in your mission statement. My daily treats included “ten minutes watching the bees” “half an hour working on the garden” or “thirty minutes reading”. My weekly treats included “buy a book”, “go to the hairdressers” or  “eat a bear claw”.  For someone who loves cake and hates exercise as much as I do, that was a real incentive!