I love to run. Most people don’t get it. And those that do are usually runners themselves. But I didn’t always love to run. I thought runners were crazy people (ok, we are) and thought the mile was a form of PE torture.
But then I joined Weight Watchers, and eventually became active in the community message boards. I saw a lot of people talking about C25K and had no clue what it was – C 25,000? It made no sense. Until I googled it one day and saw it was a program designed to help the non-runner (me) run a 5k (or 3.1 miles). I can do that, I thought. I always work better when I have goals, deadlines to meet. So I found a 5k – the Illinois Marathon, Half Marathon & 5k in Champaign, IL. Conveniently, my brother was going to school there at the time and was already a runner himself. He actually was starting to think about training for a half marathon (which he did complete later that year). He said he would run it with me, and I was ready to begin training.
Now, Couch to 5K is a wonderful program. And it’s 8 weeks long. I think it took me at least 10 to get through the whole thing. Running 20 minutes is hard!
I have to be honest and say that I did almost all my initial training for my first race in the gym, on the treadmill. I started in January (hello, cold!) and the 5k was the first weekend of April 2008, so I may have only done a few runs outside near the end of March.
I finished my first race without stopping once and with a fantastic (to me) time of 32:36. I was so energized afterwards and wanted to do more races.
That’s me with the hat and blue shorts in the middle. We finished on the 50-yard line at U of I’s Memorial Stadium.
I think the fact that my first race was so successful is what inspired me to continue to run. Since then I have done several 5ks, an 8k, a 10k, and a half marathon. And I’m doing a 15k race coming up in November.
My getting-started helpful tips (from a non-professional)
- Start slow and short.
- Drink lots of water!
- Eat healthy, whole foods. When you’re body is fueled properly it can perform more efficiently.
- Cheer yourself on! I have a great support system, but I like to motivate myself by putting stickers on my calendar for every day I run/work out. It’s also a nice visual reminder to keep me motivated.
- Rest! Yes, you may be able to run 5 days in a row. But your body will start to suffer eventually. What works best for me is 1 – 2 rest days per week, depending on the intensity of my workouts.