Now before you get all "I'm not a runner, so I'm not going to read this post" on me -- please keep reading. Trust me, I was one of those people who thought pigs would fly before I would ever run, so if I can do it -- anybody can do it. And I mean that. Sure, I sprinted a bit in junior high at track & field events but that was only 60, 100 or 200 metres at the very most. And sure I was nick-named "Speedy Gonzalas"...but that was a good 15 years ago. Never did I think that I would be 30 and training in long-distance running!
I have a lot of wonderful ladies on my street who have been running for the last year or two and have been encouraging me to join in on the "fun." I would always reply with a laugh and a "Uh...I don't think so," fully believing that I would NEVER turn into a runner.
But that all changed 7 weeks ago.
I finally got sucked in by some other ladies on the street who were just like I was. They were convinced they would never be runners either. They were ladies who struggled with their weight just like me. And they had just finished the Couch to 5K running program and wanted to start a new 8K program next (while going back and repeating the 5K program on the alternate days).
So I -- along with a couple of other gals -- laced up our running shoes and started the program too (the 5K one, that is). Here's how it works in a nutshell:
Every week you can download a new mix of music from this podrunner site. The music isn't all that great (unless you like techno-beat stuff), but it gives you a beat that you are supposed to run to -- although I have to say that the pace is awfully slow, so I run to my own beat -- and it plays a chime to tell you when to switch from walking to running so you don't have to keep looking at your watch.
For example, Week 1 starts with running for 60 seconds, walking for 90 seconds and this repeats about 8 times. You do this 3 times a week. Week 2 moves on to 90 seconds running, then walking for 2 minutes and this repeats about 6 times or so, do this 3 times a week as well. I won't go through the whole running schedule -- you can check it out here -- but basically every week you keep running for longer periods, and eventually the walking intervals become shorter than the running intervals. And at the end of 10 weeks you should be able to go from sitting on your butt on the couch to running 5 kilometres straight.
And you know what? It really works! I went from barely being able to breathe in week 1 running in measly 1-minute intervals to starting week 7 tonight and running for 25 minutes straight -- that's about 2.5 miles -- and breathing a lot easier at the end of it than I did at the beginning of the program. Go figure!
I already know that I have inspired a few people to try running (in whatever form, whether it's following this particular program or doing their own thing), and I hope I can inspire a few more people yet. It's a wonderful way to get your heart pumping and to stay fit and healthy.
And if I inspire 3 people to start running, and they each inspire another 3 people, and those people all inspire yet another 3 people and so on...well, we would be paying it forward in a big way and helping a lot of people do something for themselves that gets them off the couch and into better shape. How great would that be?!
I can feel the strength I have acquired in the last several weeks, and I am going to be so excited in a few more weeks to be able to say that I DID IT!! I can run 5 kilometres!! It's amazing the feeling of pride that this will envoke in you when you complete each new milestone. Some are more exhilerating than others, but mark my words -- you will feel so good about yourself.
And probably lose some good weight in the process.
While I am also really watching what I eat and controlling my portions, I have lost about 15 pounds since starting this running program. (Did I mention it was only 7 weeks ago?) I am loving this new form of excercise that I have taken on and I am already trying to think of how I will keep it up in the bitterly cold winter months (we don't really have room for a treadmill -- not in the house or the budget!) because I just don't want to stop!
Anyway, I think I'll leave it at that. If any of you have any other questions about the program, please let me know and I'll be happy to help you as best as I can. But seriously -- if you are at all wondering what to do to get into better shape, give this a shot. What have you got to lose? It takes up approximately 30 minutes of your day, 3 times a week. The results are more than worth it!!
I hope I have begun the cycle of paying it forward....
(Also, if you are interested in following along with me, I do jogging journal entries on my mission:possible blog at the end of every week that I have completed. Go check it out...you know you wanna!)