3 years ago, after standing on the street corner watching waves of marathoners go by while cheering on an acquaintance, I was so caught up in the moment that I decided I would try to run. I initially didn’t tell a soul (…not even my supportive husband). I felt self-conscious about not having a runner’s body and did not have faith in my ability to follow through.
The thing is, I’ve never been athletic. Thoughts of running dredged up the old middle and high school feelings of always being picked last on the team, never being able to keep up with the crowd. But, for some reason, I felt an almost embarrassed compulsion to start. Must have been the shiny bling fogging up my brain!
Now, it’s been said that running is the easiest and least expensive of all sports – just throw on a pair of tennis shoes and shorts and head out the door. (Ha….LOL….But that’s the subject for another blog!) But I did invest in one product – the Couch to 5K App. Truthfully, I don’t know if I would still be on this journey 3 years later if it wasn’t for my iPhone and gadgetry!
For those who don’t know, the Couch to 5K (and now the 10K and Half-Marathon options as well) are a good introduction to running. The app guides you through alternating sessions of walking and running with a warm-up and cool-down included. Each week gradually increases the time spent running and reduces the time of the walk breaks. This is a nice, gentle introduction to running that builds up tolerance slowly and reduces the risk of injury from starting too fast.
So I put on my old shoes, the baggiest sweat pants I could find to camouflage my hips, and away I went! Those first 90 seconds of running…. oh, my, …. I would count down every second. Sometimes I even walked through a few of the run sessions, needing additional time to catch my breath. I’d do the same week several times in a row until I was able to move on. But I gradually got better. I don’t think I ever completed the entire 8 week protocol. But I do remember following one session, 4-5 weeks into the program, that I was able to brag at breakfast that I had just completed 15 minutes straight jogging! This may not seem like much to most people but for me it was a definite milestone and ego booster. That was probably the time that I seriously started thinking about signing up for my first half. And the Couch to 5K (or C25K) fell by the wayside as I started to train in other ways.
So, now that I’ve been poked and prodded and scanned and have learned that there is no medical reason for my poor endurance (Take that, Asthma!), it is time to make a game-plan to see if I can improve my running ability. I’ll never be fast. But I would like to get better. Time to get back to the basics.
Fast forward to today…. I have downloaded the C25K App once again. This morning I started back at the beginning with Week 1. During these first weeks, I’m going to push through the running segments, almost, but not quite, sprinting. I’m also going to really try to focus on proper running form. I figure it will be about Week 4 that I will need to slow down. Week 5 or Week 6 will likely become challenging. Seems like after 3 years of walking/running that I should be able to do more, but I’m a back-of-the-packer and will always be a back-of-the-packer. I’m just curious to see where I can go from here.
Anyone out there up for the challenge? Let me know! Happy Running! Marji
(I’ve seen this posted on Twitter and Facebook multiple times. It’s a good graphic. Unfortunately, no source was given.)