Posts Tagged ‘interval training’

The thing about Couch25K…

When I decided to sign up for a triathlon back in November 2008, I knew I was going to need help with the running. I have never been a runner, never even made it the mile in high school and never had any desire to be a runner. So how does a complete non-runner get started? I was walking, but running is a whole different animal.

I went online and did some research and found the Couch25K interval training program on the Cool Running website. It started with minute-long running intervals. “I can do that,” I figured. I can do anything for a minute. I sailed through weeks 1 to 3. Optimally, through this program you can be running a 5K in 9 weeks. I am not optimal. I got really stuck between 3 minute intervals and 5 minute intervals. I just couldn’t make that change. So I stayed at week 3 probably for about three weeks and then presto, 5-minute running intervals. Triumph!!

What I found with Couch25K, and they even say it on the site, while the program is designed to get you started running, it is a guideline. You still have to listen to your body and go at your pace, even if that means repeating weeks, creating your own intervals and progressing at your own pace.

I ran 3  miles this morning. It is the very first time I’ve run 3 miles consecutively with no walking. And it’s seven months after I started C25K. I’m not saying that to discourage anyone or  in any way take away from the C25K program. I think its brilliant. Anyone getting started running or starting to run again should take a good look at the program. I would never, ever have succeeded to this point without it as a starting point. However, I needed to make adjustments to the schedule to get here. Not to mention I started on a treadmill and had to start all over again when I started running on the road.

But I’m here. I credit C25K for making me a runner. When I started I was still over 200 pounds. Now I’m under 175. When I started, 1 minute of running nearly killed me. This morning I ran 3 miles. When I started I didn’t have any confidence that I could complete it, but I did, because the program made it easy.

The thing about C25K is that it’s a starting point and we have to modify it to our specific needs to be successful at it. And for me, that meant being patient. I’m not a patient kinda girl. If the program said I could be running in 9 weeks, then I should be running in 9 weeks. I like instant gratification. I imagine that’s also why I have overeating issues and get really frustrated when the scale doesn’t move.

I’m 50 now though. And I don’t really want to lose this weight and then gain it back and have to start all over again at 55. So I’ve been working on retraining myself to take it slow and enjoy the journey. To listen to my body so I don’t get hurt. To be patient (or more patient than I’ve been) and cut myself some slack.

And look, by sticking to C25K sort of, seven months later, I can run a 5K. The old me would have quit in the second week of week three.

Time Off and Running Progress

The most amazing thing happened this morning when I went back to the gym. I say back to the gym because I’d been away from the gym for a full five days. I, of course, had all kinds of excuses for not getting to the gym for five days but I won’t bore you with that here.

What counts is what happened when I finally got back there this morning. I forced myself out of bed at 5:30 AM  because I knew if I didn’t get back to the gym today, I’d maybe never go back. And I have a race in less than 2 months.

So I went. It was windy and really cold this morning. But I went. I really wanted to be in bed. But I went. I got on the treadmill thinking this workout was just going to bite, but here I was.

So I started my walking warmup, thinking for the whole four minutes I was so not going to be able to do any effective running (really still at the jogging stage) this morning. But at the 4-minute mark, I kicked up the treadmill to 5.0 miles an hour (slow I know) and started jogging. I figured if I was lucky, I’d make three minutes the way I was feeling. But then something strange happened. 3 minutes….still feeling strong, 4 minutes…not short of breath, 6 minutes…wow, legs are not rubbery yet, 7 minutes….hey, this is the longest I’ve ever run and I’m still running and finally 8 minutes, ok, time to walk!

But 8 minutes? That’s the longest interval I’ve run. After that, I walked 3 minutes, and then ran 5, walked 2, ran 4, walked two, ran a couple of 3 minute intervals and alternated comfortably for a full 45 minutes and 3.5 miles. And on the shorter intervals, I even kicked up the speed to 5.2 and 5.5 miles per hour. Still slow for all the real runners out there, but huge progress for me.

When you consider that when I started, running a full minute at even a pace of 4.8 miles an hour almost killed me, I’ve come a long way since the end of November. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I feel like I actually may get there. I think I’ll be ready for this race in April. I only have to run two miles (after swimming 400 meters and biking six miles), but I’ll be able to do it. And if I can’t run the whole two miles, I’ll be able to run most of it.

So what started out as a “I so don’t want to be here doing this” running session this morning turned out to be one of the best I’ve had.

I’m biking tomorrow, running again on Wednesday. I won’t be staying away from the gym for a full five days again, and I hope my running progress will be accelerated from here on out. I’m going to keep pushing.

It’s really not easy to get out of bed and get to the gym but when I’m done and all sweaty and I can measure the progress I’m making, it’s so worth it.