I am on my fourth week of an eight week couch to 5K training program. I've been posting my runs on facebook, and I always get a few comments like, "I wish I could do that," or "I should do that." Like most other things on my blog, it's easier than you might think, so I wanted to let you know how I've been doing it. Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it.
This all started because my mom and her friend decided to run a 5K in May. They found a training program online, printed it, and started. Eight weeks later they ran/walked a 5K! When I watched my mom cross the finish line, I thought, "Hmm. I kind of want to do that." Which was weird, because I've hated running my whole life. It always hurt my ankles. And that was when I was skinny! (Yes, I used to be skinny! Ha ha ha!) Since I've gained my weight, I just assumed running would be more painful than ever, so I never bothered to try. But now I'm back on Weight Watchers and I started thinking that running could probably rack up activity points pretty fast. Plus, I thought it would be fun to be able to do something like that with my mom.
So I started looking around online for a program. I didn't ask my mom what they used because I wanted to try it before I told anyone I was doing it. If I hated it I didn't want to tell everyone that I couldn't do it. I found a few websites. Some just had a schedule to print off. A couple wanted you to pay to be part of their program. No thanks. Then I found the 5K Runner app. Oh boy, do I love apps. I have an iTouch and use it constantly. The app I found had a free trial version that included the first week of runs plus the one run on the second week. After that, it cost $2.99 for the full version of the app. That seemed fair enough. I downloaded the free app.
I love how the app works. You open it, select the week and day of the program you're on, and press "Start." A voice chimes in and tells you what to do. You don't have to worry about tracking your time. You can just listen to your music and run. When it's time to slow down and walk, time to run, and when you've reached the halfway point, you music gets quiet, the voice chimes in, then your music goes back to the regular volume. I just run from my house, because while it would be nice to run somewhere with sidewalks or even at the walking park where there would be no traffic, I know that if I make it too much of a hassle, I will talk myself out of it. If I have to load up the jogging stroller and my daughter and drive somewhere just to go running, it's probably not going to happen, because that's how I roll. So I start in front of my house, follow the program until the voice says I've reached the halfway point, then I turn around and follow the program back to my house. You don't get much more convenient than that.
As I mentioned before, this is a "couch to 5K" program. That means it's designed for non-runners like me. It eases you into running, three runs a week for eight weeks. The first day's run went like this: 5 minute warm up walk, 1 minute run and 1 minute walk repeated six times, 5 minute cool down walk. The total workout time was 25 minutes and the total run time was 6 minutes. Each day, it bumps up your running time just a little. Yesterday was week 4, day 2 for me and it went like this: 5 minute warm up walk, 3 minute run and 2 minute walk, 5 minute run and 3 minute walk repeated two times, 3 minute run and 2 minute walk, 5 minute cool down walk. Total workout time was 36 minutes and total run time was 16 minutes.
Have an android instead of an iPhone or iTouch? There are similar apps for your phone! I haven't tried them, but just pick one that has really good reviews and try it out. Not a smart phone person? Go old school! Here's a printable program I found on Pinterest. It's a 10 week program, but the idea is the same. If you can spare about 30 minutes three days a week, you can work your way up to running a 5K, no running experience required. If you've been thinking about doing it, do it! You never know unless you try.