Where Logic Meets Love

Jessica's Adventures in Exercising

Friday, September 14, 2012

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Jessica's Adventures in Exercising | Faith Permeating Life

Recently my mother-in-law announced on Facebook that she wants to run a half marathon in the next few years and asked for suggestions for a "klutzy, athletic impaired wanna be runner." I replied that I'd heard good things about Couch to 5K. A while later she told Mike she'd downloaded the app and to thank me for the suggestion.

At this point I decided that if my mother-in-law could start running, I could too. Despite being relatively thin and healthy, I've always been fairly out of shape and get winded easily. Part of the problem growing up was an allergy problem that was only diagnosed a few years ago and remedied with a daily pill, but mostly I've just never dedicated myself enough to building up my cardiovascular endurance. As I'm currently unemployed, I thought this was the best possible time to start something new like this.

So below is a log of the first 10 days of my adventures in exercising. I decided to share it in case any of you need a push to do the same. I'm only two weeks into Couch to 5K, but I like it a lot and am amazed at how much better I've gotten already. I'm also grateful that I can attend fitness classes for free at our on-campus rec center, so I can do some cross-training with the running. With any luck, I'll build up an exercise habit that will continue into the time that I'm working again, and keep myself in good shape!

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Tuesday, Sept. 4: Week 1 Day 1 of Couch to 5K. I'm so glad I bought the app so I don't have to focus on timing myself as I run, and can just focus on not dying until the voice tells me I can switch to walking. It was way too hot to be running, though, and I felt like my entire body was radiating heat when I got done. But I did the entire thing without cheating once -- I jogged when it told me to, for the full 60 seconds each time. I consider that a victory.

Wednesday, Sept. 5: My legs are so sore it hurts to move them. I decided it would be a good idea anyway to continue with my plan of starting a fitness class at the rec center. My lost look got me mistaken as a freshman by the instructor, who, it turns out, is one of our residents. Fortunately there was only one other person in the class, and she was just as out of shape and non-athletic as me. I nearly passed out several times and couldn't lift my legs off the ground at one point, but thankfully the instructor was patient and gave me modified versions of the exercises to do so I didn't quit. Today's victory: Making it to the end of class without passing out or throwing up.

Thursday, Sept. 6: My legs are still really sore, though they didn't get any worse, thankfully, and now my abs and arms are a little sore too. I decided to pass on starting up the Zumba class today, though I hope to be able to do it in the future, and just do some Wii Fit yoga to stretch out my muscles. Tomorrow I'm going to have to get up early to run since there aren't any indoor tracks on campus and it's supposed to get up to 90 degrees!

Friday, Sept. 7: Week 1 Day 2 of Couch to 5K went WAY better than I expected. I'm still sore, but I felt OK to run. This time I didn't feel like I was going to die during the jogging portions, and I was actually feeling fairly good by the time I got back to campus. Things that I think helped: Running at 7:30am instead of 4pm, bringing a water bottle, and having a running playlist of upbeat music that I put together last night. The best part was that the priest who lives in our building was walking down the sidewalk as I was sweatily walking home, and he looked at me and said with admiration, "A runner!" However, when I was in the shower I started to feel like I was going to pass out or throw up, probably from having nothing in my stomach but some water. That's something I still haven't figured out: Eat before running = feel like throwing up, don't eat before running = feel like passing out. Hopefully I'll figure out what works best for me.

Saturday, Sept. 8: Week 1 Day 3 of Couch to 5K. I rocked it. I could have kept jogging when the app told me to walk. I'm definitely ready for Week 2. Now I should be able to get on a regular M/W/F schedule also, which is how you're supposed to do it. This time I ate breakfast as soon as I got home, before I showered, and that seemed to help. I also drank some water before I left this morning and only took two or three sips while I was out.

Sunday, Sept. 9: Day of rest. A local athletic store was having a half-off sale today, so I went and got two sports bras and running shorts with pockets. I think I need to get new shoes too, as my tennis shoes are getting pretty old, but I'll wait to see if I stick to another week or two of Couch to 5K first.

Monday, Sept. 10: Week 2 Day 1 of Couch to 5K. Another early morning run, much colder than it's been recently, but I was fine once I started jogging. In a way I'm glad that I chose such a horrible time of day for my very first day, because everything has seemed easy in comparison. The intervals jumped from 60/90 seconds jogging/walking to 90/120 seconds this week, and I did pretty well with it.

Tuesday, Sept. 11: Decided to make Tuesdays Wii Fit and Weigh-In Day. Interestingly enough, for someone who used to make every excuse not to work out, now Wii Fit seems like not enough workout for me. I actually want to be out running, which is so weird to me. I am thinking about going back to the Wednesday fitness class tomorrow afternoon if I do my run in the morning, to show that I'm normally not in that terrible of shape as I was the first class when my legs were sore and stiff. We'll see how my body's feeling tomorrow.

Wednesday, Sept. 12: Week 2 Day 2 of Couch to 5K. I couldn't get out of bed at 7am this morning -- too worn out. Mike's had a cold the past week and I think I might be catching it. But I did finally get up at 10, and it was still cool enough outside that it wasn't too bad to go jogging. I got the audiobook of The Time Traveler's Wife yesterday and decided to listen to that instead of music, and it actually worked pretty well. The jogging portions were a bit tougher than Monday, probably because of not feeling 100% when I woke up, but I didn't feel completely beat up by the end. My legs are tired, but not sore at all. I don't think I'll make it to the fitness class today, but I'm planning to do Zumba tomorrow with one of the girls in our building.

Thursday, Sept. 13: Zumba was definitely different than the two-person fitness class I attended last week, since there were about 50 people there. I've found that the structure of classes and Couch to 5K is exactly what I need; I would give up a lot sooner if I were working out on my own, but instead I find that the limits of my abilities are much broader than I thought they were. Even though I was a puddle of sweat by the end, I made it through the hour-long Zumba class. I'm grateful for this sophomore girl who seems to have adopted me as a role model of sorts and who talked me into coming with her. I need that kind of accountability.

So that's where I am right now. Anyone else done Couch to 5K? Suggestions for making sure I stick with it?

12 comments:

  1. No matter what kind of exercise I do, I always eat immately after. Before showering, before anything. I eat a banana and some protein (usually a low-fat cheese stick with a couple ultra thin turkey slices, but I know you don't eat a lot of meat, so you'll have to find your own protein source!) The combination of natural carbs, protein and potassium are perfect for muscle recovery. It cuts down on soreness, and prevents the half-hour-post-workout fainty feeling.

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    1. That's what I've found works best for me. The past few days I've been able to shower quickly before eating, which is good because it's been pretty warm out and I feel super gross when I get back. But as long as I eat right afterwards, I've been feeling fine the rest of the day.

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  2. I began with Couch to 5k this past winter and am now training for my first half marathon (did a 20K in June and many 5K's over the summer). I found that about 3 weeks in I got past the huffing and puffing and started to feel good after the runs. Then I started looking outside and thinking, "man this would be a great day for a run". But build in rest days. Your body needs it. Over training will lead to all kinds of problems, even if you really want to be working out.

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    1. Glad to hear Couch to 5K worked well for you! I did a ton of reading from people who have done it and am feeling good about it and my cross-training plan, though I'm definitely taking cues from my body on when it needs rest. I feel like I'm already at the point where I feel good after running, so I'm hoping that keeps up as the workouts get harder!

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  3. Good for you! I've always been skinny but out of shape too, so these past few weeks I've been trying to start exercising as well. Though it's too hot to run outdoors, I've been going to yoga classes, running and lifting at the gym, and even tried Zumba this week! It's amazing how pushing yourself a little can feel so good, both physically and in terms of achievement. Good luck with reaching the 5K! I might have to add that to my list of goals...

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    1. Thanks! That's awesome that you have decided to start exercising as well. You're right that it feels rewarding, both in terms of the feeling of accomplishment and getting physically more in shape. Good luck!

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  4. Good for you! I just started a half-marathon training program, and like you, it only took a couple days to get past the "I feel like I'm gonna die" sensation during the run. :) That is awesome that you have free access to rec center classes -- that's what I need! That and/or a swimming pool (but I know that's not your favorite :P) I would second the person above who said to give yourself rest days and don't be afraid to take it slow and easy... the worst that can happen is it takes longer, but if you push yourself too hard too soon, you can end up seriously injured.

    Enjoy you're training and we should keep each other updated for accountability! When is your 5K goal?
    -Missy

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    1. I don't have a specific goal because I want to be able to repeat weeks of Couch to 5K if I need to. After that I hope to do the 5K to 10K program to keep pushing myself. At that point I'll be running 5K regularly and don't know if I'll sign up to do an actual race or not.

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  5. Over the past few months my husband been doing a lot of cross-country running, and is hoping to take part in a half-marathon in November. I've tried to muster up the enthusiasm to join him, but I just hate running. So we've both joined the gym together (I like the variety of machines there), to encourage each other, and I will also be taking up swimming again because that's what I enjoy.

    I've found that after just a couple of weeks of going to the gym every other day or so has made me feel better already, and that I actually want to go as well!

    All the best with your running. It sounds great, and it is good to know what others are doing to stay fit because it's good motivation for the rest of us to keep at it :)

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    1. That's great that you've found a form of exercise you enjoy and want to keep doing! I never thought running would be something I'd enjoy, but I am enjoying it more as I get better at it. Hopefully the same will be true for Zumba as well :) Good luck to you!

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  6. I did my first 5K a few weeks ago and learned that treadmill running is so different from running outside! But I think you've got the right idea -- finding a routine and having something to keep you accountable. I just finished P90X and there were days that I really didn't want to do it (sometimes because I was super sore, other times because I was just tired), but having that set routine of each specific workout on each day and knowing that if I missed one workout I'd be perpetually behind unless I skipped something really helped. And if you ever find yourself losing your motivation to run, signing up for some sort of running event (be it a traditional 5K or 10K or something more unique like The Color Run or the Tough Mudder) could help boost your motivation. Good luck!

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    1. Many of the Couch to 5K sites I consulted said to start running outside from the very beginning because the switch is so difficult. I did it from the beginning mainly because I thought it would be frustrating to have to adjust the treadmill constantly for the alternating walking and jogging. I agree about the set schedule and the structure -- that's not how everyone works best, but it's definitely best for me. Besides keeping me to a weekly schedule, it also motivates me not to stop jogging before the app tells me to because I would make myself repeat the day if I did that, and then my schedule would get out of whack!

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