Welcome to Part 2 of How I Started Running. In Part 1, I set the scene. My life felt both stagnant and chaotic. In an effort to challenge some of my preconceived notions, I chose to try something I always hated and couldn’t do – running.
I used the Couch to 5K Program which trains those with no running fitness to run 3.1 miles or for 30 minutes straight. The 9 week program uses intervals of running and walking to avoid the exhaustion and failure that many beginning runners face. For example, the first day is 20 minutes repeating intervals of running for 30 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. There are now some great apps that will help you do the same.
I logged my 2007 Couch to 5K journey on the now-defunct 43things.com. It was a popular social network in which you chose up to 43 goals and noted your progress on each one. Using the Way Back Machine, I was able to find the last 10 of the 18 entries I wrote.
How I Started Running
May 28, 2007 / Week 3 Day 1
Wow. I’m glad I have a week to adjust to these 3 minute jogs. They are difficult, but I can tell I am improving from 3 weeks ago.
I’m excited that I’ll eventually be able to jog the Pi Mile. I am beginning to see it!
May 29, 2007
My ankles are stiff and my Achilles tendon is bothering me; I guess this means I need to buy some good running shoes. Although I’d hate to spend money (that I don’t have) on something I might not use 6 months from now. Maybe I need to start coming to a decision as to whether running is something I want to pursue long-term.
…that is odd to think about, knowing that a month ago my motto was “I only run if an angry bear is chasing me…and mind you, she must be angry”.
Also, tomorrow is the real test of commitment. I have a 12 hour shift tomorrow, so I’ll have to be out the door at 6:30AM if I want to make my run.
May 30, 2007 / Week 3 Day 2
But together? They aren’t that bad.
It was so cool and calm out. And I felt I was up for a purpose!
Jun 03, 2007 / Week 3 Day 3
I did this on Friday (at like 7AM) and I also woke up that early to run (FOR FUN???) on Saturday.
I wasn’t really happy on how Friday’s run ended (for the last 3 minute run, I started too quickly, and was basically walking, but lifting up my knees for the last 30 seconds), so I felt I needed to redeem myself.
I’m glad I gave running a try. I’m going to keep trying.
Plus scrounge up the money for running shoes, my ankles and Achilles tendons are still bothering me a lot! I’m afraid I’m going to be stupid and hurt myself, if I keep running with crappy shoes.
Jun 06, 2007 / Week 4 Day 1 & 2
So, today I finished up the second day of this week.
Those 5 minute jogs are crazy!! 🙁
But I did finally break down and buy running shoes…thank goodness.
Jun 09, 2007 / Week 4 Day 3
So I did this early yesterday morning even though my ankle still hasn’t really gotten better. It doesn’t bother me when I’m actually out running (good shoes?), but after the car ride back from the park, it stiffened up. Since I had to do standing/walking work (in heels, no less) for about 10 hrs that day I stopped by Kroger and bought some ankle support. It prolly would have been a lot worse now if I hadn’t done that.
The swellings gone down a little. We’ll see how it looks on Monday. I hate to stop or even take a break now, because I feel like week 5 is a crucial week (ending in my first 20 min jog). If I take a week break, it might take 2-3 weeks to get back to where I am now.
Jun 19, 2007 / Week 5 Day 1 & 2
I am up for my first 20 minute run! This is the only thing I think is screwy about Couch to 5K… 2 x 8 minute jogs to 20 min straight? What were they thinking??
I’m going to give it a try. And I’m also going to a different park… we finally introduced ourselves to some of our neighbors, whose backyard runs into the National Park, so I’m going to run on a dirt track with softer ground and better scenery.
I think my goal is to jog the whole 20 minutes, just very, very slowly… how do/did you all handle your first few 20 minute runs?
Jun 20, 2007 / Week 5 Day 3
I have never jogged 20 minutes straight in my entire life.
And today, I did.
Jun 22, 2007 / Week 6
I jogged 30 minutes yesterday. I just got it in myself to do, and with my special playlist created, I did it.
Next week, I plan to jog for 30 minutes at least three times in the week, and once I do, I will call this complete.
Thanks guys for all your support; and good luck! Without this site, I never would do half the things I want to.
Jul 01, 2007 / Week 7
Now I just have to figure out a goal to keep me doing this week after week…
I Ditched Running after Couch to 5K
I didn’t keep it up. Running was something in my control and it ironically faded out of my life as I attempted to exert power over my unmanageable surroundings.
Despite quitting, I did learn a few valuable lessons:
- As an adult, you can independently decide, train, and gain new abilities. I gained the ability to run.
- You can enjoy and succeed in something that you previously hated and were never good at.
- A solid plan can make what seems an impossible challenge, at least possibly possible.
- You should start slow and too easy, rather than failing on something hard.
- Running is not just physical work, it’s mental and emotional work, too.
I completed the Couch to 5K program 9 years ago and then ditched running shortly afterwards. I was always thankful for the program. Part of my decision to try running was to challenge some preconceived notions in my life. I challenged an easy one – “I can’t run,” instead of a hard one, like “I’m not good enough”.
Yikes, there it is.
Two years ago, I came back to running for a purpose. My life felt both chaotic and stagnant. I wanted to kick-start some changes, ride some momentum, and begin focusing on the things I could control, that were within me, and stop trying to manage my surroundings. I came back to challenge some of my self-beliefs. And you know, get really sweaty and get t-shirts and stuff.
I hope what brings you to running is something a bit more lighthearted.
But I hope we both stay for the same reasons – because it cultivates joy within us. It cultivates success in our lives. It helps us challenge the rest of our preconceived beliefs.
If we can cross “Not a Runner” off our identity list, what else can we cross off? What other self-beliefs can we challenge?