Couch Potato

So, as mentioned previously I’ve decided I’m going to start running. In fact, I’m slightly past “deciding” since I’m on week two (after doing week 1 twice) of the Couch to 5K 8-week running program from coolrunning.com.

So why running?

I am not a joiner. While I liked rowing as an activity, my past experience reminds me that a sport training on someone else’s schedule is going to frustrate rather than motivate me. Plus (snob that I am) I want an activity for fitness and me time – not another social activity. Honestly though, I’m super busy these days and hardly see the friends I already have, and the whole team thing doesn’t really work if you don’t engage in any “off the water/field” teambuilding. I suppose I could row a single but I don’t like them much, I far prefer the bigger boats.

I also loathe having to travel to my activity – dragging gym clothes plus work clothes plus all the necessary equipment to get from one into the other (hair-things, body-things, makeup, etc.) just plain sucks. I want to roll out of bed, do my thing, then get straight into my own shower and get on with my day.

I must work out in the mornings, before work. Not only does it get me going in the morning (which is what I’m really looking for), but once I’ve sat down for dinner or on the couch on any given weeknight, I’m not likely to get up again. Once I’ve slowed down or stopped for the day, that’s it. Ask Neil, who pokes me back awake at about 9:30pm after I’ve fallen asleep on the couch for the umpteenth time and points me in the direction of the bedroom so I quit drooling on the upholstry.

Impressions so far

Running, when done properly, doesn’t totally suck. Sure after my first run I felt like I’d been hit by a truck for 2 days, but when I ran again on the 3rd day the very same run was noticeably easier. Then when I left it for 4 days, it was more difficult again. Instant results and feedback like that do a lot for motivation*.

A good training program also makes all the difference in the world. I’m using the Couch to 5k podcasts created by Rob Ullrey – they make it wicked easy to just plug in and go. No checking my watch every few seconds to gauge time, and some great ambient tunes that I can listen to while I just focus on that elusive “point in the distance” that I tell myself I need to get to.

Another thing that surprised me: I like mornings. What I don’t like is getting out of bed – but once I’m up, mornings are awesome. I am a “morning person.” Anyone who knew me during my teenaged years will likely fall down in shock and disbelief right about now, but it’s true. This whole morning person thing also makes me feel markedly better about definitely not being a night-owl (see: falling asleep on the couch around 9:30 just about every night).

Running makes me HUNGRY! That whole kick in the pants to my metabolism at 6:00am gears me up to be pretty ravenous for the rest of the day. So far I’ve been mostly good about responding to HUNGRY with APPLE instead of COOKIES – but only mostly. One thing at a time, people.

There is a camaraderie among runners. Those people I used to glance at the few occasions I was out and about at such an ungodly hour thinking “they must be insane” are now nodding and smiling and sometimes even saying “hello” to me in the mornings. You know the saying “if you can’t see the crazy person nearby, you are the crazy person nearby?” I’m now the crazy person.

So, all told, running has been going pretty well – I’ll fill you in on my progress again in a week or so.

*The week 2 program is seriously kicking my ass. I’ve run it 4 times, and still want to barf at the end every time. I’m just waiting for it to feel “easy” once, and I’ll ramp up to week 3.

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7 thoughts on “Couch Potato

  1. Courtney

    It’s good to hear that you are enjoying the Couch to 5k podcasts. I downloaded them ages ago thinking I was going to get into jogging again but just haven’t got around to it. Going after work seems like the easy thing to do but maybe I should try the mornings because, like you, I generally eat dinner and then fall asleep on the couch watching TV. heh.

  2. erin

    I hate it when I forget to do the math and the internet eats my post. >:(

    I’m doing C25K too and I found the podcasts my first week. I love ’em for the same reasons you posted above.

    One thing I’ve found is that running outside is waaay harder than running on the treadmill. My first week 3 run on the treadmill I kept going after the second 3 minute interval and I ran for 7 minutes straight. I could have kept going but my time was up on the machine and I had to get off. My first week 3 run outside I couldn’t finish the second 3 minute interval because my ankle was starting to twinge. My goal is to keep going alternating with inside and outside runs to build endurance, but so far I’ve been terribly lazy and haven’t gotten around to it.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences with the program, so please do update! πŸ™‚

  3. Gwen

    As a runner, I’m always happy to read about the experiences of someone starting out. I would be thrilled if my running-loathing boyfriend would give it a try so I’ve been thinking lately about how one goes about starting running again!

    Like you, I totally love how the activity is on my own time. I mix it up with some group runs – all/many of the running stores have a mid-week and weekend group up should you want to drop in. And I also agree that morning workouts are the best… when I get around to doing them. It takes at least 10 times more willpower to get an afternoon one instead of heading straight home.

  4. Beth

    That couch to 5K thing sounds awesome! Another great online running resource is mapmyrun.com – it uses Google maps and you draw out where you run on the map and it will tell you how far you ran – then add in your age, height, weight, etc. and it will tell you how many calories you burned (and thus how many cookies you now get to eat!).

    And I totally know what you mean about exercise making you ravenously hungry… I played hockey on Sunday and I’m *still* hungry!

  5. Derek K. Miller

    I always hated distance running. Still do. I think my physique and heavy legs don’t do it justice. But I love bicycling — I get farther, can commute to work, and get to coast on occasion. Swimming is good too, but takes too much prep and de-prep time.

    I’ve also never been one for group activities, only child that I am. Good luck with the runs!

    Uh, I should rephrase that.

  6. Emma

    I started running (well huffing, puffing and stumbling along at a pace marginally faster than a walk) a few months ago. I actually quite enjoyed it up until a couple of weeks ago, now trying to get out of bed at sparrow’s fart when I’m all toasty and warm and it’s so frosty outside is proving difficult. Your post has made me determined to redouble my efforts AND to search out some podcasts for my jog!

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