Thursday, January 26, 2012

Couch To 5K Progress Report

With two weeks left to go in December, I decided to start the Couch to 5 K program. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically an 8 week program of workouts that gradually works you up to running a 5 K.

I tried it for two weeks in July, at which point it became almost 100 degrees at 6:00 AM and I gave up. Plus, at that point, Derby wasn't big enough to come with me. All of that has now changed.

Let me interject here with an embarrassing tidbit. This isn't my first time at the party. I was a runner in high school. I ran cross country and long distance track. I have six varsity letters for running sports. I even ran at the State Championship meet once.

I tell you that not so you think I'm awesome (if you think I'm awesome for 10 year old accomplishments, I have more I can tell you about!), but so that you can get some perspective. I used to be able to run a mile in under 6 minutes. And I needed to start again with walk one minute, run one minute. And that was hard for me.

I haven't seriously run since high school, actually. I enjoyed running then because I was good at it and I liked being part of a team. The day I ran my last track meet was the day I last really ran. I just didn't enjoy it outside of the organized team aspect.

Fast forward to now. I knew I needed to do something. I was getting sick of my exercise videos and needed something more routine. Plus, we now have a 50 pound puppy who needs exercise as much as I do.

We started this program the week of Christmas. This was actually a great time for me to start, because while the holidays are busy, they aren't normal life busy for me. I had time to run three times a week. By the time the new year came around and things got busy again, we were already two weeks in. It was already starting to feel like a routine.

We're now on Week 5, which is honestly further than I even hoped we would get. Right now we run at least three times a week, more than that if my schedule allows it (which has happened once). There are a few things that are different this time around for me, so I'll share them with you:
  1. I got a new phone, and downloaded the "Get Running" app. This was $2.99 well spent. Not only does it track when you do the runs, there is a sweet British lady who tells you when to run and when to walk. You can also stream music while the app is running. Which brings me to my next point...

  2. Find something you like to run to. For me, that's NPR. Don't judge - it's like someone's talking to you the whole time you're running but you don't have to talk back. I love listening to their news programs, and I don't have a ton of time during the day to hear them. I had a friend who downloaded audio books and only listened to them while exercising. Another friend does pump me up music. Find something that works for you and makes you look forward to running.
  3. Get an accountability partner. Mine happens to be a puppy. He loves running with me. When I get my tennis shoes out of the closet, he knows exactly what we're doing. The other perk? He pulls me along when I get tired and I run faster than I would on my own. Plus, I love him and I want him to be healthy, which means even when I don't feel like going, we usually go.
  4. Find somewhere you like to run. I hate running with Derby on the streets because there's so many people to dodge. We walk to a park by our house and then do the run there where there isn't as much traffic. I'd rather run loops around a field then dodge cars any day.

    My park!
  5. Reward yourself if you need to. Get a new pair of shoes, some new running pants, or a pedicure if you meet your workout goals. I don't actually do this, but now that I've thought about it I might start.
  6. STICK WITH IT FOR AT LEAST 4 WEEKS! My friend Katy ran her first half marathon last weekend (yay, Katy!) and she gave me this advice. It takes 4 weeks before you'll start to see changes in your body. It takes 8 before other people will notice them. Push to this 4 week mark. I wanted to see changes earlier than that (let's be honest - after one run), but it wasn't until last week that I began to see them for real. And once you get to that point, it's a whole lot easier to continue.
Do you have any tips that help you stick to an exercise routine? I'd love to hear them!


  1. I've done this program twice, once pre-Sawyer and once post-Sawyer. I had been doing great maintaining it the second time around but then I got sick, then the holidays hit, and then we moved. I'm hoping to be able to pick up where I left off and not have to start all over again. I'd love to run early in the morning but my body just won't let me. That leaves nighttime and I just don't have much time. I need to work something out though because I honestly miss it! Keep up the good work (:

  2. Good for you! Does the cold weather bother you or has it been mild? Also - I'm curious if you have to go when it's dark. I've been wanting to get back into walking the pups when I get home from work, but it's just so dark that I don't do it. Keep up the great work!


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