Thursday 22 March 2018

Week Eight with Al Porter: I'm on the home stretch...

Comedian Al Porter on the highs of meeting fellow runners and the lows of gym envy in his final week of training before the 5k run

Al Porter
Al Porter
Karl Henry

Well summer is constantly coming and going isn’t it?

It’s a nightmare working out what to wear in this weather!

Warm but it’s going to rain, so do I wear shorts and a raincoat and melt the top half while thebottom half gets soaked?

Or do I carry an umbrella even though you can’t run with one unless it’s after a train in a romcom movie? Decisions, decisions.

Mind you, I’m finding running in the rain to be theraputic, and not just because at the end

I get to pretend I’m Andy Dufrene emerging trimuphantly after his escape from Shawshank Prison!

Seriously though, running in the rain feels extra good, now come November that might be more of a challenge but you feel extra proud of yourself for sticking to your routine.

The word I’m looking for here is momentum and not just because I’m playing Scrabble with my mother. (She’s winning but only because I’m letting her).

Now that the weather is good again, I’m looking forward to keeping on going — that sounds wrong but it feels right!

Getting outside can be fun for a change — eg, go for a swim in the sea or a lake, just remember to not swim too far out and end up in trouble or worse still, Liverpool!

Don’t go swimming in the canals mind, at best you’d catch criminals!

Now most people know swapping the gym for a 99 ice cream is counterproductive, unless you have to chase after the ice cream van. Changing your exercise routine can be good.

If monotony has set in at this late stage why not go for a run on the beach?

The important thing is to still exercise even when you’re making the most of the summer. To be honest, the summer is probably the best time to experiment.

Huge numbers of people have been coming up to me to say that they’re also doing the couch-to-5k run.

It’s a great thought that maybe Karl and I inspired a few people.

Maybe they’re doing the run anyway, maybe they just decided to do it and they’re telling me as they know I’m connected to it, either

Then I feel conflicted.

Do I just say thanks and keep running or does that look like I’m running away from them?

What if they try to keep up with me but can’t and that makes it look even worse and me supposed to be a leader?

What sort of leader would I be if I can’t lead people? Enda Kenny? What if they’re running the same direction as me but I’m the one that can’t keep up? That’s even worse.

If I stop to chat then I’m not running and before you know it I’m having coffee and cake.

I suppose I could run on the spot while I talk to them even though that just looks plain undignified.

Kind of like I need to go to the bathroom!

The only worse outcome is if they don’t talk to me at all.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, the only thing worse than people wanting to stop and talk to you is people not wanting to stop and talk to you.

In all seriousness, I do like people telling me they’re doing the run so keep doing it.

Blind Date starts filming next week too, and people mention that to me.

Again it’s great, but if I’m out on a run it could look bad; what sort of host would I be for that show if I’m literally running away from single people looking for a date?

Back to the gym and I’m still in this wonderful foolish world of discovery.

Sometimes I see somebody doing an exercise and think I can try that.

And then I try it and think I should have gotten somebody to show me how to do this first.

I’m still enjoying the work outs, though.

The only real downside is I haven’t gotten to the stage yet where I feel comfortable grunting (with my clothes on) in front of other people.

Like I want to push my self as far as I can go but I’m not entirely sure other people in the gym want me to!

On a final note, thank you so much for reading and doing all this with me.

It’s been such a positive experience and I hope to see you all there next week!

Karl Henry training plan

Karl Henry

So folks, here you are. The final week of your training. Over the course of the last seven weeks you have taken on a new challenge, tried to take on an event and follow a training plan to hit that goal. High five! Just as you have seen Al’s improvements from week to week, I am sure that you can see your progress too. You have lost some weight, improved your cardiovascular fitness, improved your skin and reduced your stress levels by increasing your exercise. Now with the actual race upon you, I thought you would like some simple tips to ensure you are in the best shape come race day!

The first tip is to stick to the plan this week. You will see that you train less as the week goes on. The reason for that is that the hard work is done. Now it’s time to rest up the body, run less and get rested in time for Saturday.

My second tip is to ensure that you don’t wear any new gear or runners on Saturday. Instead, wear what you have trained in as it will make the whole experience more enjoyable.

The third tip from experience is to plan out your race day. Ensure you know what you’re running in, how you’re getting to and from the event and what you’re going to eat before and after. By doing this you are reducing your stress levels and will enjoy the day far more.

My final tip is to register for another event afterwards. You have worked so hard, and when you cross the line you will feel the endorphin rush, having achieved your target. Why not pick another race to train for and go for it!


1. Arrive early

2. Eat breakfast

3. Wear no new gear

4. Start slow, finish hard

5. Smile

6. Wear old warm clothing to the start line

7. Join us for the warm-up

8. Have some milk or fruit for when you finish to aid recovery

9. Bring warm clothes to wear afterwards

10. Celebrate!

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