As I mentioned as part of my On A Happy Note Segment on Episode 50 of the Podcast– I am not a runner. I never have been. Even as a kid. Well I guess if I’m being honest there were a few exceptions: I would run to first base during a wiffle ball game and I would run for the ice cream truck…and well, that’s it. I’m out. Even in soccer practice I pretty much refused to run. That’s real, folks. Why is that? It never really felt right. I don’t know exactly what that means, not in so many words, but I always felt awkward. Clunky. Like my body just wasn’t built for it. I was never really motivated to run. I hated playing sports…though I did have a delusion for about 10 minutes that soccer would be fun [it wasn’t], I never had that competitive spirit. If someone else on my team could get the ball– good for them! We’re all on the same team… why not? It didn’t need to be me. I’m not a natural athlete. My brother got all of those genes. Now, don’t get me wrong I wasn’t a complete lug. I rode bikes as a kid. I danced 2, 3, 4 days a week all the way through high school. We went ice skating, skating, canoeing. I certainly wasn’t the most active kid in America, but I did do something… So how did we get here? Fast forward to age 34. I’m certainly not in the best shape in the world, but I try to stay healthy and fit. I still have zero interest in sports (unless it involves watching it, ideally live with a beer in my hand and some knitting at the ready for when things get slow). I’ve done aerobics, kick boxing, group strength training classes. Mostly now I enjoy yoga and zumba with a little dose of strength training on the side. The structure of group classes works well for me. I do well knowing I need to show up at a specific time and stay for an hour (or more depending on the class length). I have friends I look forward to seeing, and who are expecting me to turn up. I can’t decide I’m bored half way through and walk out. So all of that works really well. Except when it doesn’t. Recently I’ve had a lot going on at work. Long days. Crazy schedules. Lots of stress. All of which meant I really needed to exercise out some of the frustration. However, it also meant that there were many nights after work when a) I totally missed my class because I got out of work too late or b) I was just too wiped to mentally or physically handle an hour of jumping up and down. I needed a solution. Something more flexible. Something I could do on my own but that I’d be motivated to do. I was enjoying being outside in summer during the little free time I had, so I told my friend Kim that I was going to do some interval training and see how that went. She mentioned an app she had just downloaded called c25kfree that she was planning to use to do the same thing. You turn on the app and let it tell you when to walk and when to run. Sounded ok with me and since you’d only start out running for 60 or 90 seconds, I figured it was worth a shot. Even a non-runner like me should be able to handle that right? And guess what? It worked! I run! Why has it worked?
- Duration | It’s only about 30 minutes/ 3 times a week. Who doesn’t have 30 minutes? Don’t try to fool yourself. You can make time. It was less than my hour long classes and I didn’t need to commute. That works.
- Pace | the program is very gradual. Just when you have a segment mastered they move you up so you’re running just a little more or walking just a little less. You get a chance to feel comfortable with something and celebrate that without stagnating there.
- Price | the app is free! No sign-up fee. No contract. No commitment. No risk!
- Flexibility | they recommend 3 days per week with rest days in between, but really there are no rules. You could stretch those 3 days over 2 weeks if you were doing other things or weren’t able to fit in the runs. You can repeat a day if you feel like you need a chance to really master that before moving on.
Where am I now? I still have more I want to do. I’m currently on Week 6 of the 8 Week Program. I may move on to another program that helps you prepare to run 10k if I’m still enjoying it and feel like I need the challenge. I still haven’t mustered much competitive spirit. I’m sure it would be fun to run at an actual 5k event, and maybe I will some day. The idea of people cheering as I run across a finish line would obviously be a rush! I could enjoy that. But for now? I’m ok with running for me. Enjoying the scenery. Breathing the fresh air. Pushing myself. Getting in exercise on my terms.