I have put off, avoided, grumbled about, and excused myself from exercising regularly for awhile now, for various reasons. However, late last Fall, I finally got the motivation to set a goal that I've been able to stick with for 8 weeks now! I've been doing the "Couch to 5K" program!
I can guarantee you I do a lot of sitting on the couch. I teach homeschool from the couch most of the day. I e-mail, research, plan worship, Facebook and Pinterest on my netbook while sitting on the couch. And some evenings, we watch TV or movies on the couch. Occasionally, while my girls have their post-lunch quiet time, I take short naps on the couch.
The idea of the C25K program is to take a person who has no running experience through 9 weeks of interval training (some walking, some running) that leads you to finally being able to run 30 minutes in a row. You have 3 workouts a week, lasting between 25-40 minutes, and 4 days off. You can find the instructions for the program at coolrunning.com .
Now, when I first looked at the program, I looked pretty far ahead and wondered if this would really be possible for me to achieve. Run 5 minutes in a row? Run 8 minutes in a row? Run 20 minutes in a row?!? Etc. I don't think I even had run 2 minutes in a row in my adult life. I may have in Jr. High track, but that was a LONG time ago, before I perfected my couch habit. But my husband, who as a soldier has done a lot of running, and who regularly reads Runner's World magazine, encouraged me to take one step at a time, and that the program was created by people who knew what they were doing, and that it was attainable.
So I was already equipped with workout clothing (from the last time I attempted this, a year and a half ago, but didn't get past week 2), good running shoes, and a pink ironman stopwatch. I found a time and place that would work for me: 2:30 p.m. at the community center fitness room that is a 5-minute walk from my house (which practically no one else uses, which suits me perfectly). My 5-minute walk to and from the center gives me a built-in warm-up and cool-down, provided my children walk quickly enough with me for the warm-up, and the air outside isn't so cold that my muscles freeze.
It has been a successful attempt. I have completed two out of three workouts for week 7. It has helped to have a supportive husband who lets me share with him all my victories and challenges. Also, I have posted my progress on Facebook where my running friends and others who have done the program themselves are keeping me accountable and encouraged.
It was a huge plus that when we were out of town for 2 weeks for Christmas, we were able to keep our workouts (my husband accompanied me to the gym) at a local Army base's fitness center. So even though I was eating more than normal, especially Christmas cookies and candy, I felt good knowing my metabolism was staying up, and I would burn some of it off at my next workout. My biggest setback was last week when we all had colds, and I took Wednesday and Friday off to rest. This week I'm re-doing what I had scheduled to do last week, and then I'll go from there.
A friend said he knew of a free Christian Indie podcast download, so I searched and found it at http://www.buriedtalentsband.com/C25K/ . Now I will say that this has a mix of songs on it, some really good, some mediocre, and some kind of hokie, in my opinion. However, it's free, and it's Christian, and it has helped me keep my mind off of my concern about "can I run as long as I'm supposed to today?" and instead on the themes of Scripture. Also, while you're listening to the music, there is a friendly voice telling you when to run, when to walk, and for the longer runs, when you're halfway, and almost finished. I recommend you check it out.
The benefits of me working out include slimming my figure (which I noticed began at 2 weeks), feeling good physically with more energy and better sleep, and a huge sense of accomplishment at already achieving much more than I thought I could. I'm not running fast - I'm doing a 4 mph jog - but I'm running, and my husband says I can work on speed later, which I plan to do. I haven't really lost any weight, but I am convinced that my fat loss has been replaced by muscle mass. I fit into my clothes, and my waist has lost much of its excess bulge. That's been motivation enough for me to continue. My future goals include adding in a different workout on my alternating days (T, Th, Sat.) that will strengthen my core, and work some upper-body muscles. I also hope to venture off the treadmill onto real ground when weather permits, as long as the allergens aren't killer.
I'm so thankful that a friend of mine from college shared her success with C25K on facebook, inspiring me to do the same. I hope that I will stick with it for months to come, improve on my speed, and maybe, just maybe, participate in a 5K run one of these days. She said, "if I can do it, you can do it". So now, I say the same thing to you. Want to join me?