RELUCTANT RUNNER: Will I be top of the class at college?

Back to school for the Reluctant Runner John Edwards, pictured with teacher Ash Allanson.
Back to school for the Reluctant Runner John Edwards, pictured with teacher Ash Allanson.

It’s 20 years since I was a college student, but as I try to learn about how to live a healthier lifestyle, it was time to go back to the classroom.

Still as badly-dressed and socially awkward as when I was doing my A-levels (and why I chose French remains one of the mysteries of my life), I headed to East Riding College last week.

John Edwards with sports tutor Ash Allanson

John Edwards with sports tutor Ash Allanson

Not only was I expected to sit through an hour-long degree -course lecture on nutrition – I’ve got homework!

I’m used to helping my children with theirs, but this is hardcore stuff.

My tutor was Ash Allanson, who played for Bridlington Town for many years. Immediately, I was left wishing I had been kinder to him in my match reports for the Free Press.

The other six students in the class have to choose an elite athlete, and make a presentation about what they should eat before, during and after their race, as well as nutrition advice for rest days and training days.

They will look at what fuel people like Mo Farah and Sir Bradley Wiggins need to complete a marathon or a stage of the Tour de France.

Sitting smugly as I discovered what was in store for them when I had gone back to my day job, Ash delivered a bombshell.

“You’ll be doing this presentation too, John. And you’ll be going first.”

I didn’t get the chance to choose who I’d like to focus on, because Ash told me. “Your elite athlete is yourself, and how you should prepare for the Parkrun.”

So I now have to work out how quickly I am likely to run 5km, how many calories this will burn, how many grams or fat, carbohydrates and protein I need and work out a hydration strategy.

To me, a hydration strategy involves whether I am ready for another cup of tea yet.

Ash’s homework involves a lot of research, a lot of maths and I’m guessing, a lot of panicking by me.

Then I need to make a poster, give a 15-minute presentation on it and how I reached my conclusions and be preapared to answer questions from Ash and other teachers.

All of a sudden, actually running a 5km route seems the least of my troubles.