New to running? Read more on how-to get started here!
If you are anything like me, then you try running for a few minutes, huff and puff, can’t catch your breath, and slow to a walk. That’s my story. I have big dreams of being a runner, if only I could run longer than three minutes at a time!
Have you heard of the Couch-to-5K program? Thousands of new runners have followed this 9-week program, going from couch potato to running three miles by the end! It is based on the premise that you must ease into your running gradually, and the schedule does just that. You perform three workouts a week for nine weeks. You will alternate timed segments of walking with jogging, and will gradually add more jogging the farther into it you get! View the schedule here! And (thanks Mark!) you can download the podcasts here! They are also available on iTunes if you search podcasts and running!
I figure there is no better motivation than someone who has actually tried it herself, so without further ado, I introduce my favorite Couch to 5K graduate -my friend Megan!!
What made you decide to try running? Why this program?
There were a few different things that inspired me to try running. First off, the summer of 2007, (I started C25K in January of 2008) my dad, husband, & sister all did a 5K over the 4th of July in my hometown. I used my little ones as an excuse for not doing it myself, but the reality was, I was so out of shape that I though the ambulance might have to pick my up if I attempted it (joking…kind of).
Also, in the summer of 2007, my cousin & good friend, Melissa (your very own over here at Shrinking Jeans!) took the plunge and committed herself to doing a 1/2 marathon in Steamboat Springs raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She ended up fracturing her arm and moving during the training process but she still DID IT. She did have to walk the majority, but does that really matter? 13.1 miles is still 13.1 miles. Looking back, I know that she helped me realize that I would have to just do it. I may not be the fastest, and I may have to walk it, but I should definitely just get off the damn couch and give it a try.
I spent the rest of that summer fat (220 pounds) & miserable. In October after my baby turned 2, I knew I could no longer use her as an excuse. Something had to change, my joints ached when I got up in the morning and I had no energy to play with my kids–I was only 27 years old! I shouldn’t feel that way! I was so sick of myself being miserable that I started doing Weight Watchers (something I had some success with after baby #2) and doing Turbo Jam DVDs that a good friend lent to me. The same friend had lost 50 pounds doing them and had since begun running. She definitely provided me with some inspiration!
By January I had lost about 30 pounds and I felt so much better. That is when I decided to try running. I talked to my friend about how she had done it and she recommended C25K. After a little research and joining a C25K group on Spark People. I decided to give it a shot. I immediately loved it. It felt so empowering to be able to RUN. Even if it was only for 60 seconds at a time. ;-) I downloaded the podcasts onto my mp3 player (they are free) and the instruction provided me with great motivation and feedback (the music could be better though).
I would love to say I whipped through the program in no time, but the reality is, I had to repeat a few weeks. In July of 2008, I ran that 4th of July 5K with my family 50 pounds lighter than the summer before. My time was 33 minutes some odd seconds. I definitely wasn’t the fastest, not even close. I even had to stop and walk once (I wasn’t used to those dang hills!) I did it though! Running for 30 minutes is something I NEVER thought I would be able to do. It may sound silly, but being able to accomplish this has given my more confidence in every aspect of my life.
My favorite? Gosh! I love the way running makes me feel physically & mentally. It is such an easy thing to do- put one foot in front of the other and ENDURE. There is no complicated movements that a clumsy person like me can flub up. C25K makes it so easy. In 9 weeks it takes you from running 60 second intervals to running a full 30 minutes straight. Believe me. ANYONE CAN DO IT. I’m just not sure that I have ever encountered a better way for a beginner to build their stamina that this program.
Least favorite thing–Definitely the music on the podcasts. It is like bad elevator music or something. Once I got to the weeks that I would run for extended periods, I just listened to my own music & kept track of the time on my own.
There is no doubt about it. I DARE YOU. If you just DO IT, I think you will really fall in love with running and the way it makes you feel. Believe me, I was anti-exercise just 1 1/2 short years ago, I should know!
I would love to do a longer distance like a 10K or a 1/2 marathon the summer of 2009. Other than that, I would also like to improve my speed a bit for the 5K distance.