Getting Back Into Running (Couch to 5k)

As a woman in my 40s, I struggle with my weight. It was almost like I woke up one day and my body betrayed me. That is not exactly true. I can’t put my finger on exactly when it started to spiral out of control, but it was around the first year of having my own business. Like most business owners, I stressed. I was constantly stressed. Stress like that does not help someone whose metabolism is naturally slowing down. Anyways, I gained weight.

I have tried working out using at-home workouts and spinning classes. I signed up for Beachbody on demand (I still enjoy my subscription). I completed a bunch of programs but didn’t continue for one reason or another. I did numerous workout programs; 21 days, 60 days, and even 90 days. Nothing really kept me from boredom.

So last month in a desperate attempt to break this cycle, I knew I needed something different. I needed a bigger goal. I meditated on it and tried to remember when I truly loved my fitness enough to change my eating and drinking habits. There was a time when I worked out and was in awe of what my body could do. I not only overcame the physical exhaustion, but I mentally pushed myself toward an amazing goal.

To be completely honest, it was almost twenty years ago. I was in the Army and desperate to stay in shape between fitness tests. I had to trick myself into believing that I enjoyed this exercise in order to get better at it. I subscribed to a few running magazines and pretended running was my hobby. I signed up to run a marathon. I didn’t just run any marathon, I ran the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon. Anyone who has ever run this, or who has an idea about the elevations of San Francisco or what a marathon means (26.2 miles) will tell you that this is not an easy run. Keep in mind that I was training for this run in Florida. I remember running overpass bridges to practive for the hills. That seems nuts.

What’s really crazy about me running a marathon is that I was never a runner. I didn’t play any sports as a kid. I walked every fitness test in school. The first time I actually tried to run a mile was when I was in the army (27 with 2 kids) and getting timed to see what “run group” I would be part of (it was the slowest one). I struggled. I wasn’t in shape even though my weight and BMI were good. I had to learn how to run. I had to learn how to pace myself, how to relax my upper body, and how to move my legs in a way that didn’t exhaust me. I even had to learn how to breathe while running. Running is a crazy endeavor for anyone, but for me it was a real stretch.

All of this is to say that I wasn’t typical. It wasn’t easy for me. Marathons aren’t meant for people like me. Running isn’t meant for people like me. But I did it. Anyone who could walk a mile could do it. I didn’t break any records, but I did beat the odds. So could you.

Fast forward to my current struggles and I am trying to tap into that energy. I need to trick myself into creating a good habit again. I signed myself up to run a 5k. I gave myself about six weeks to train for this. I’m not trying to be the fastest. I’m just hoping to finish this strong. 3.1 miles doesn’t seem far, until you try to run it. My 5k is this Sunday.

The bad news is that I caught a cold this past weekend. My husband was sick over the weekend. Now he is well and I am sick, I am definitely at the tail end of it. I took most of the week off and only did a casual run/walk on Wednesday. I plan to run tomorrow and walk on Saturday.

Running is nothing more than a series of arguements between the parts of your brain that want to stop and the parts that want to keep going.

~unknown

The plan I’m using is something almost anyone can do. I used a couch to 5k program that runs like this:

I found a few websites and apps that had this, none of them had it in a format that was printable, so there you go.

Training for this 5k has been hard. It isn’t the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I am heavier and older than I’ve ever been. I’ve only been running for a little more than a month and I have lost inches from my frame. The best part about running for me is that point when I forget that I’m running. It is blissful to realize my mind could wander while my body kept doing this thing almost on autopilot. I chase that high every time I run, I don’t always get it. I enjoy that feeling I get when I finish a run, knowing I still have gas in the tank. It is amazing really. Running is one of the hardest things a person could do in the name of fitness.

I might be crazy, but I’ve been thinking about trying to do a half marathon in October. I am going to wait and see how I feel after the race on Sunday. Wish me luck!

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