From Couch Potato to Marathon Runner

Maryee Health Guide

    As part of our recommitment to losing weight, my sisters and I decided, in addition to being each other's support, it would be good to train for a common goal and then carry it out together. So we decided to train to do a 5K run. Now, really, how bad could that be?  A 5K sounds like a long way to run, especially for someone like me who has never run any kind of race before! But after you do the conversion, a 5K run is only about 3 miles.  That's not TOO bad! And I was thinking, if Oprah can train to run a (26 mile) marathon, I can train to do a 5K!


    So we turned to a training website for guidance, The Couch-to-5K Running Plan. This is a website that is suppose to help people transform from couch potatoes to being able to run a 5K in just two months. Perfect for me! Though I don't consider myself to be a total "couch potato," I have afterall been jogging on my own and riding my bicycle, I think the pace of the overall plan is good for me - something that gets you working gradually and pushes you to the finish line in small increments.

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    So I logged on to the website and took a look at the training plan. I liked the overall approach - slow and steady. It didn't look too bad to me. I think I can handle this. I'm ready to give it a go.


    OK, first day out and I already violate the rules! The plan is laid out in a 9-week plan in which you are suppose to do the exercise regiment of each week 3 times that week and then move on to the next. The first week has you alternating 60 seconds of jogging then 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. That's too much calculating for me to do while I am running!  I can't be looking at a stopwatch every minute or so while I am jogging. When I am jogging I just concentrate on jogging! So for all their advice about not skipping ahead even if you are tempted or bored, I decided to forego week #1. Afterall, I have been exercising the last few weeks so I figure I am already past 60 seconds of jogging; I can handle more than that.


    Week two, similar plan, I skipped that too. Week three graduates to alternating between walking and jogging 200 yards at a time. Again, for me, I am running on a track - all I see are ¼ miles every time I run a lap around the track. I can't figure out where 200 yards are around the track as I am jogging! I skipped week 3, too.  I decided to start on week #4 --- as bad off as I think I am, I can jog a few laps around the track. So, here I go. Week #4 has you alternating between jogging 1/4 mile, then walking 1/8 mile, jogging ½ a mile, walking ¼ etc., for a total of two miles. I figure I've already been able to run 1 ½-2 miles on my own without stopping, this should be fairly easy - especially since I'll be able to WALK in between jogging laps.


    Was I ever wrong! The first time I did this I did complete the two miles, but something about the alternating of jogging and walking seemed to make it MORE difficult for me --- especially going from walking to jogging ½ mile at the end.  Nonetheless, I did it. I wouldn't say my pace was great - but this plan says it doesn't matter how fast or slow you go, as long as you do it.   So, not only did I do it, but I ran this plan 3 X in one week - each time being a bit easier.


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    I'm proud of myself for doing it. It helps to have the guidance. And now I think I am officially off the couch for good!

Published On: July 29, 2010