I ran! Sort of.

I “ran” today! I’ve never really done it before. Running for the purpose of running, I mean. I’ve been wanting to at least attempt a little bit of running ever since the Boston Marathon attacks, and today I started off with this 8 week beginner’s program I found on RunnersWorld. You start off really slow, which is good.

I’m not as cool as all the other people who have taken up running though, because I used a treadmill. I set out to do it outside, but I was feeling lost. I didn’t know which direction to go in, when I should turn around towards back home, and I didn’t know how to time myself… the program starts off with run/walk alternates for 30 minutes, and I needed an easy way to see how many minutes had passed. I wanted to use my ipod, and I didn’t want to carry that plus my phone. And, kind of important, I’m also out of contacts right now. I need to go get an eye exam and reorder. I didn’t want to be running on the sidewalk with my glasses slipping down every minute. So, for now anyway, it’s treadmill. When I’m more comfy I’ll venture outside.

I thought the program had said week 1’s program was to run 2 minutes and walk 1, for a total of 30 minutes. I get home and check my computer, and apparently week 1 is run 1, walk 2. So I technically did week 2’s plan today. What do I do next? (assuming I can keep up with this and not’s just a one-time thing.) Do I continue doing week 2’s plan and do it for two weeks to get back on schedule? Do I go back to week 1’s plan? Do I just take it as it goes?

I ran slowly I’m pretty sure. But that’s ok. The point of trying this was to make me want to do it again, not to push myself to the extremes. Which is of course what I always want to do. But what I did today was totally something I could do again. It was a workout, but not a kill-myself workout. Tomorrow on the plan is “walk easy for 30 minutes.” That’s not bad at all. Then, since the program begins on a Monday, I’ll probably repeat day 1 and day 2 on Monday/Tuesday to get on its schedule. Again, assuming I keep getting myself up and out to do this. And now it is time for shower and comfypants.


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3 responses to “I ran! Sort of.

  1. Meh, there’s no reason to knock treadmill running—it has its place (and I’m sure I’ll be using the one in our new apartment complex when the weather is bad, especially during the worst of winter). And something is definitely better than nothing! Whatever makes it easier to get moving, you know?

    One thing you should keep in mind if/when you eventually want to transition to running outside is that it is definitely different (I know this more from having done a done of reading about running recently than from experience, but it makes sense to me). The treadmill helps propel you along, in a way, and you lose that on solid ground. The surface in the outside world is obviously not even, either, so you’ll strengthen different muscles by running outside (without looking this up specifically, I’m thinking this applies especially to the ankle region). Basically, you’ll want to expect that it will be harder for a variety of reasons, so that when you get out there you don’t (1) get discouraged and (2) push yourself too hard and end up hurting yourself.

    The first time I did the whole Couch to 5K thing, I petered out around week 4/5, in part because it really just felt significantly harder than the previous week had (which hadn’t been the case for any of the previous weeks). I used this program from Cool Running. At the time, there was a podcast version available, so I just downloaded the eight episodes, and listened/ran to each one three times. (The music wasn’t incredible, although it wasn’t the worst, but the main point is that it has voice-overs telling you when to run and walk, so you don’t need to keep track.) I don’t see that podcast there anymore, but it might still show up if you search iTunes. Either way, though, it looks like an app is also available (when I did this last time, I didn’t have anything that could run an app, so, yeah).

    This time around, I’ve been using the Zombies, Run! 5K app. It’s been a bit buggy for me, but it gets the job done. It’s a different take on the program in terms of the intervals used, but I can’t really speak to whether it’s better or worse because I honestly haven’t actually been following any of it; I’ve just been using the timed voice-overs as cues to know how long I’ve been running/walking, and listening to my body as to whether I need to walk or can handle another push. That’s mainly because (1) the first week was well below even my ability and (2) I needed to condense the program into 6 weeks anyway because I have a race scheduled (so, I figured I should push myself early, so that I work up to the harder stuff more gradually, rather than hitting a wall like I did last time), but the reason I mention it is because it really does pay off to be able to listen to what your body is telling you. If that means ignoring week 1 of your program because it’s too easy and boring you to tears (making you more likely to just stop bothering) or repeating one workout or an entire week of workouts because the next week’s stuff is just beyond you, then you should do it.

    (Note: The whole Zombie thing really is cool. The 5K app is sort of a side project, with the main app being separate, but it’s basically a great combination of radio drama/video game/running app. It seriously appeals to the nerdy side of me, which means I’m guessing it would also appeal to you, if you decide that you actually want to pay for a running app. The 5K one is interesting, but it basically doesn’t add anything to the plot, and there are plenty of free C25K apps out there; usually, you can just choose your own playlist, and they’ll provide audio cues over that. Anyway, I think they have Zombies, Run! for Android, as well as iOS.)

    Also: Rest days. Plenty of rest days! I’m doing two days on, one day off at this point, but every other day is probably a better strategy, at least in the beginning (again, I’m working toward a goal on a deadline, so I’m trying to balance ample training for a goal that’s a real reach with the risk of hurting myself and not being able to run at all). It’s also apparently good to vary the distance from run to run (so, have short runs, medium runs, and long runs each week), but I gather that that advice is more geared toward people who are already at the 5K point and are looking to move beyond it into 10Ks, half marathons, and beyond.

    I’ve basically written you a novel here, but running has rather taken over my life lately, and it’s nice to be able to pass on some of what I’ve learned via both reading and my meager experience to a friend. So, if you do have any questions or just want to commiserate (some days, it really will be hard—and that’s okay!), just let me know.

  2. Oh! And I know I mentioned this to you elsewhere, but while I’m dishing out advice, definitely don’t be afraid to slow way down. Like, unto the point of it feeling ridiculous. Unless you’re actually trying to improve your speed (which, at this stage, shouldn’t be the concern—you should concentrate on increasing minutes of straight running, rather than increasing distance or getting faster), you want to be running at a pace where it would be comfortable to talk. I never really got how people could talk while running, and I still think it would be a bit of a stretch for me to have an in-depth conversation, but I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m no longer running faster than I’m capable of—I could spit out a few words without being worse off for it. In any case, you will probably feel ridiculous, but trust me when I say that it will make the whole thing less of a struggle, and you’ll feel so much better about yourself for it if ever single run isn’t an uphill battle (as it were).

  3. This is all really good! And novels are always appreciated! I’ve always loved the *idea* of running but hated the practice of it. I’m more at home in a dance-type class. But I really want to try it this time. Maybe I should check out some of the C25K apps (the Zombies one sounds cool!) and see if the programs they use seem better than the one I found. The program I just started on seems to use an approach of Monday run, Tuesday walk, Wednesday run, Thursday walk, Friday Saturday run, Sunday rest. All in 30 minute intervals. I kind of like the “just 30 min” approach because then I’m less likely to say that I have no time to fit it in.

    I also think I’ll have to be treadmilling until I can get myself contacts. I’m also still kind of paranoid about running outside. I freak out out my legs being fat and blobby and things like that. At least at the gym everyone else is busy doing something and won’t notice me at all.

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