A Leeds web developer found running became more than just a way to get fit in his recovery from Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Tim Payne had been ill for almost 18 months before he was diagnosed with the disease. As someone who had previously been active, Tim found his illness, treatment and recovery made his ability to exercise very difficult.
“I was in terrible shape and was slowly getting back into doing exercise like climbing, but it was hard work,” he said.
“My fiancé is a runner, and she persuaded me to join her on a few runs. I enjoyed the exercise, but wasn’t that keen on running. Then, on a holiday, I started getting up every morning and running barefoot on the beach, that is when running clicked for me. I actually started to enjoy it, and it became something I did for fun, rather than just something I was doing to try and get fit again.”
Tim said starting out was the hardest part.
“It started with some short and embarrassingly slow runs with my fiancé. It was pretty soul destroying, knowing that I used to be fit, but that I could barely run more than a couple of kilometres without collapsing into a wheezing heap.
“But once running clicked for me, I started doing regular runs with friends and the nearby Parkrun, which were both really good for my motivation. “As the Parkrun is timed, you could see your improvement and the people there were really supportive and friendly, which really helps, especially when you’re just starting out. “
From there Tim entered a 5KM obstacle run in Manchester.
“I just wanted to see if I could do it. I did, and it didn’t kill me, so I signed up for a 10Km race.
“Having something to work towards definitely helps with the motivation too.”
This year Tim will be celebrating ten years in remission and he will be marking it with a run/bike/canoe race alongside one of his friends. He also plans to take on at least one 10km.
“I have a fairly sedentary desk job and running keeps me fit. I also find running quite relaxing these days, so it’s a nice way to unwind after work, especially when the weather gets better and I can head out for a run along the canal.
Tim has some useful advice for anyone thinking of taking up the sport.
“Don’t give up if it’s hard work or you’re not very good at it at first. I was appalling to start off with, and I’m a fairly respectable runner now.
“Finding a friendly local running group where people are helpful and supportive, can really help with your confidence, otherwise it can be a bit intimidating. If you can run with friends, that also makes it more fun. Finally, run outdoors if you can, running on a treadmill is dull dull dull.
Birstall based leisureware company Banana Moon has some advice for anyone wanting to refresh their running regime.
Avoid distractions: Decide which is your quietest evening and make that your running night.
Smartphones: As well as music phones can provide some great running apps to improve training. Also ensure there is an emergency contact.
Be prepared: As well as a proper warm up and cool down, take an energy bar or glucose drink with you.