Monday, June 8, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set...GO!

Some of you might be wondering about the running portion of my workout program. A lot of people are natural runners. A lot of people are not natural runners, and must be trained to run. You would think that since I actually lettered in Cross Country in High School (WAY back in the day!) that running would be something that comes naturally to me. Well, it doesn’t. I don’t know if that’s a product of my laziness or not, but I seem to remember struggling with running even back then. I trained myself to do it and do a decent job at it, but I wasn’t the best on the team by far.

Now that I’m older (and heavier) and less active in my lifestyle, running comes even harder to me. A few years ago, when I felt like my life got a little out of control and I was over my comfortable weight, I ran. At that time, it was an escape for me, the one thing that I had complete control over. I ran as far as I could for as long as I could and worked over time to increase the lengths of time that I ran and shorten the lengths of time that I had to take a break or walk. That’s just what worked for me at the time.

This time around, I actually did some online research and found a program recommended for new runners and tried it. To be perfectly honest, I found it about a year ago, started it and never stuck with it. I’m doing better this time around. So, in case you’re interested, or you know someone else who is starting to run for exercise, maybe this will help.

The website is, and they have several training programs, depending on the level of runner that you are. I am following the “Couch-to-5K Running Plan” and it works for me. It’s a simple program designed to combine walking and jogging in order to condition your body over time so that at the end of the program you are able to run 3 miles. That might not sound like much, but that’s probably a good number for most people who run for exercise. The greatest thing about this program, it only calls for running three days a week and it only takes two months if you follow the program.

When you first start the program, you’re actually walking longer than you are jogging, which is good for most people. This is the step that I’ve actually altered this go round. The program calls for you to follow this pattern for the first few weeks. Each session is started with a brisk 5 minute walk to warm up your muscles and another 5 minute walk to cool down following the session, making the sessions last 30 minutes in total. I did something a little different:

Program My Way
Week 1 60 sec jog 30 sec jog
90 sec walk 30 sec walk
(20 min total time) (20 min total time)

Week 2 90 sec jog 60 sec jog
2 min walk 30 sec walk
(20 min total time) (20 minute total time)

I just didn’t think that I could actually run for 60 seconds when I first started. So I altered the program a little bit, and it’s worked out for me so far. I’m starting Week 3 of the program right now, so we’ll see if I did a good thing or a bad thing. If you’re interested to know, comment below and I’ll let you know if I would recommend what I did or not. I’ll be honest, I promise.

So this week, I’ll start following the actual program on Week 3. The program calls for this week to do your warm-up walk for 5 minutes, followed by 90 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of walking, 3 minutes of jogging, 3 minutes of walking (repeat whole jogging/walking series one more time), and then a cool down walk of 5 minutes. So we’ll see if I’m able to run for three minutes or not. This will be the furthest that I’ve gotten on the program…you can tell that I REALLY didn’t stick with it long last year when I tried it!

Actually, the other night I cheated on the program. Mr. CC and I had been “bad” and had gone to Carino’s for dinner. It wasn’t that bad, since we hadn’t been there since the week of Mother’s Day and we only ate two pieces of bread and our meals. No dessert. Afterwards, we decided that we would run to offset our eating splurge. When we started our workout, Mr. CC asked to do it differently and just run until we couldn’t run anymore and then walk for a bit to catch our breaths, then repeat for our regular twenty minutes. We did good and ran the first time for 3:39 and the last time for 3:50, so I feel confident that this week when I start on the actual “Couch-to-5K Running Plan” on Week 3 that I’ll be able to meet the goals of the program.

What tools did you find when you started your workout? Did you even think to turn to the internet to tap sources that you might not be able to access on your own? Did you follow their steps exactly or alter the program to “better fit” your needs?

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