I’m starting this blog to chronicle my running progress. I probably won’t even advertise it, but Google will find it. Maybe it will be helpful to others. I started running in July. I’ve been dieting and trying to lose weight (I’m down about 40 pounds from last fall), and wanted to step up my physical fitness. I know a lot of runners, and many recommended Couch To 5K programs. I used the program from Active.com, and it worked well for me.
It starts you off slowly, running for a minute, walking for two. Over the course of nine weeks, it slowly increases your run time and decreases your walk time, until you’re running for 30 minutes. I found a lot of success with the program. I discovered a few things, though.
Too much, too fast
There were two workouts that were so difficult that I needed to stop before I finished – the first one, and one four weeks in, when I had to run five minutes straight. During the first exercise, I was just running too fast. In my head, I figured it was easily, I’d sail through, I’d have no problem running a minute. Nope. The second time, was the first exercise of week four. Thing is, I had only been doing the program for two weeks. I was increasing my weekly mileage too fast, and not letting my body repair itself. I made a mess of my feet both times, and had to take breaks to recovery.
Rest days and recovery
Rest days are incredibly important. Your body uses the days of rest to heal. When you run, you damage and tear your muscles. That’s actually the point of the the workouts. Then, when you rest, your body repairs that muscle, and makes them stronger. That’s the point of the rest day. It’s absolutely necessary in order to increase strength and endurance. I didn’t get this at first. In fact, a couple of months in and I’m still having trouble getting this through my head. I don’t rest enough. I’m working on it. Some weeks I run every single day. Some days, I run more than once. This week, I’m doing two long runs (though, my long runs aren’t that long yet). Probably more than I should do in a week, but I’m also forcing myself two days of rest or crosstraining.
Crosstraining is an important way to strengthen your body in ways that can benefit your running, or other activities. You can work on your core (think burpees, squats, lunges, etc), bicycle, swim, or work on your upper body with weights. This is another thing I don’t do enough, but I made a point to bike or walk once in a while while I was doing the C25K program.
That’s basically the gist of the C25K program. I found it to be fun. I was really surprised at how much I was able to do after such a short time. It’s a great program to get started with, I recommend it to anyone who wants to start running, but might be worried about their abilities.
You can use the advice you find here, if you want. If I were you, I wouldn’t. Read some of the stuff I say, then look up the right way to do stuff.