Beginning Runner and C25k
I was over at the Running Couple‘s blog reading about why you would want to run a full marathon when I realized, I have a story to tell and a blog to tell it on. I’ve been on a “get off the pot” kick lately so I bring you my story:
I’ve decided to make a major change in my life. I have decided to become a runner. While I was inspired by a gadget, I was enamored with the simplicity of it. I realized that of all the various fitness options at my disposal, running offered the most benefit for the least trouble. All I had to do was put shoes on my feet and go outside. One foot in front of the other and I was off.
I kept making excuses in the beginning about wanting to lose weight first so I wouldn’t damage my back or knees. Making excuses isn’t starting though and that bugged me a lot. It was something I wanted but I just didn’t know how to start. At 260 lbs the only thing I had going for me was a little endurance from being a walker. I was way out of shape for the task at hand.
After some research I found out about the Couch to 5k interval training program. It was started by the folks over at Cool Running. C25k takes you from a couch potato to being able to run three miles non-stop. It does this with three workouts a week that are a combination of walking and jogging. Each workout lasts roughly 20 – 30 minutes and you should hit your goal at the end of week 9. Speed is not important in the program. The key is building strength and endurance. Best of all, the program is also very beginner friendly.
I had been using a cool GPS tracking application for a while to measure the speed and distance of my walks called Endomondo on my Android phone. This application tracks speed, distance, and route traveled and then optionally uploads the information to a fitness oriented social networking site. Naturally it also has the option to update Twitter and Facebook if you wish. The application is available on many platforms including iPhone and Blackberry as well. The idea of using this wonderful application to track and create a history of my runs added to the fun factor.
Following the program during the run can be accomplished a few different ways including the simple use of a stop watch. Being who I am, I found an application for that instead. The Android C25k application comes in a free and paid version. For the couple dollars it cost and after having tried the free version, I got the paid version. The application is simply a fancy timer with audio cues and has the entire program already in it. It keeps track of the days you complete for you so you don’t have to wonder which one your on. You simply select the week and day you’re doing and press start. After that, it will chime when it’s time to run and when it’s time to walk. It couldn’t be easier.
The running has been going well. I just finished week 5 day 1 last night. This Friday will be my first non-stop jog for 20 minutes (2 miles roughly). The route I have to work with is not level ground at all. The steep hills add quite a bit of challenge to the process. In a way, I prefer it that way as it adds an extra sense of accomplishment to each successful run.
In addition to C25k, starting this morning, I’m trying to run a quick daily mile in the mornings to start my day. This is entirely optional and due to my enthusiasm for running.
The weight loss is finally starting too. I’m eating better because my body isn’t happy with the junk I feed it now. I’m not focused on the weight though. I didn’t run to lose five pounds. I lost five pounds because I’ve been running. I don’t think of it but it’s fun to watch.
I’m excited that I can do this. The whole family has been very supportive. My son runs with me and even my nephew who’s visiting with us for the week has been coming along. Who knows where this will take me next. A 5k marathon is not out of the question at this point.