Reader’s Request: Couch to 5K

by Holly on March 13, 2012

in rambling,reader's request,running

Ummm….who’s ready for some fun up in herrrre?

I am.

Enough talk about anxiety. And reprioritizing. And Monster Cookie Pancakes!

Okay, total psych on that last one. I could talk about Monster Cookie Pancakes all day long…all week long…all year long…all 27 years of my curly-haired life long! But I digress. Back to the point at hand. We can all agree it’s time for some fun, right?

And nothing says fun like RUNNING!

Am I right or am I right?

Ha! Total psych again. Whoever thinks running is fun is crazier than “horticulture expert” Rick Santorum. That dude. No words.

But seriously! Spring is springing. Daylight savings time has arrived. The weather is warmer. And race season is just beginning! Whether you’re a runner…want to be a runner…never want to be a runner…hope to get in shape for swimsuit season…or are looking for a challenge, running is IT. It improves lung function. It’s a great cardiovascular workout. People who run sleep better. Eat better. Are happier. And live longer! Runners’ see their age increase an average of 10-15% over 10 years.

I know what you’re thinking…that’s great Holly, you Everythingtarian you, but I hate running!

I get it. I used to hate it too! I wasn’t always this happy to have run 13.2 miles.

Even as a wee little elementary school girl, I hated running. I lasted one soccer season the summer after 2nd grade. It was far too much running and too much of a risk of running straight into the goalie post to make it worth it. Yes, that happened…I ran into a goal post. In middle school, I tried to convince myself things had changed. I signed up for the track team and discovered I still hated running. In high school, I still hated running.

However, when I made the commitment to get healthy my junior year of college, I decided to give running one last shot.

And I am so glad I did.

One marathon. One pending marathon. Four half-marathons. One 10-mile race. And countless other races later, I am officially one of those people completely addicted to the endorphin high I get only after lacing up my sneakers and running up a sweat.

And here is how I got there:

(1) I committed to one month of running.

If you don’t regularly run, the first two weeks of running are going to be hard. They just are. It’s hard. Running is hard. You’ll feel out-of-shape. You may want to keel over and die. Mostly, you’ll want to quit. BUT DON’T. Give it one month…that’s it! I promise after four weeks, your abs will feel tighter, your thighs will be stronger and you will experience the perfect run. That run that comes every so often where you feel so good and so euphoric that you’ll come home, stretch and fall completely in love with running.

(2) I took it slow.

To be honest, I’m still not a fast runner. I take running at the pace my body feels up for that day…and that works for me. For beginners, I would suggest running for one minute then walking for one minute. With each week, increase the time you run by one minute. Eventually, you will feel good enough to run consistently. You just gotta stick with it (see above).

(3) I signed up for a race.

I’m the kind of person that always needs something to shoot for. Do something just because you love doing it? Pssshaww…totally overrated. Races help me stay accountable to a training plan (I highly recommend Hal Higdon’s free training programs) and help me shoot for time goals (I’m still determined to run a sub-1:50 half-marathon). If I know I am going to be running a marathon in 46 days, I WILL follow my plan as not to make a fool out of myself on race day.

Plus, races are really fun.

(4) I started reading Runner’s World magazine.

Once I started immersing myself in running, fueling for running, reading about races, reading about inspiring people who run, running gear and everything related to running, I felt motivated. And whenever my running mojo is low, this is exactly what I do. I pick up Runner’s World magazine and get inspired to run. Or I buy a cute new running top.

(5) I yoga’ed.

I can only run three times per week, max. Running is too monotonous for me if I force myself to do it any more than that and then I start hating it. That kinda defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place, no? Instead, I yoga. And elliptical. And bootcamp. And Zumba. And walk. Never ever forget just how lovely a long walk in the dwindling sunset can be.

Helpful resources for running:

Brendan Brazier – a professional Ironman triathlete (and he’s vegan!)

Hal Higdon – FREE training programs

Lindsay Runs

Map My Run

No Meat Athlete – great tips for vegetarian athletes

Runner’s Kitchen

Runner’s World

Running in the USA – find races near you

Spring 2012 Running Shoe Guide

Are you a runner? If so, what is your best tip for those new to running? Sharing is caring!