August 3, 2013

Couch to 5K

Lapping those couch potatoes

A few weeks ago, I finished a couch to 5K program. This may not sounds like much of a life event, but I'm pretty excited about it. 

I've been a "walker" my whole life and have a relatively healthy and active lifestyle. I've always wanted to run, but have never been able to. I'd start running, last 3 blocks, and be painfully winded. I could walk for hours on end and be fine, but two minutes of running was out of the question.

Enter the Couch to 5K Running Plan. I figured this plan could give me a leg up- heck, I'm not even starting from couch potato position.

There were weeks that were easy, and weeks that were very hard. I had to repeat the fourth week 3 times- for whatever reason, I couldn't push through and finish the last running chunk. But I did eventually!

I'm proud of myself for sticking with something that was hard, and often not fun. But it feels SO good to have accomplished a goal I've always wanted, but never thought I could. Now I can easily run for a half and hour- CRAZY!

I'm not one of those nuts who thinks that running is incredibly fun and addicting. There are moments of a run that feel fun (like when it's windy and I'm running downhill listening to Baba Yetu and I feel like a fully competent Ethiopian marathon runner, gallivanting across the African dessert.). Don't make fun.

I learned a few things that have helped me run:
  • Tell people. They'll hold you accountable to keep going.
  • Circular breathing (in through your nose, out through your mouth). This was game changing.
  • It's okay to slow your pace. My goal was for time, not distance. I'm still working my way up to the distance of a 5K (the program works both ways, you can use it for time or for distance- I chose time). I know I'll get there soon!
  • Upbeat music. I needed it the first few weeks to keep me going and to keep my pace. Here's my (embarrassing) list of songs that I found helpful while running:
    • "That Girl" (Frankie J) Frank Frank Frank Frank Frank Fresssshhhh. Not super edifying, but the perfect running beat.
    • "I Need Love" (NSYNC). Yes.... a boy band. :)
    • Fireflies (Owl City)
    • Your Great Name (Natalie Grant) 
    • Breathe (Michelle Branch)
    • Baba Yetu (Christopher Tin)
    • Marry You (Bruno Mars)
    • Testify to Love (Avalon) This one I'm a little embarrassed about. Avalon was very candy pop and 8th grade, but it ended up being a great running song and the lyrics are good. And true. :)
    • Curbside Prophet (Jason Mraz)
So there it is. I finished the program, and am still going strong. It took me longer than 9 weeks due to multiple April blizzards (like, snow day April blizzards) and not always doing the 3 workouts per week. 

Keep Going.

And I did. And so can you!

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