I had just signed up to run my first 5K. I had just paid real money to race! So I knew I couldn’t punk out of it. I wasn’t sure about figuring out how to get from no running stamina to being able to run 3.1 miles at a good clip, and then I found the Couch-to-5K running plan (Also known as C25K).
<cue Hallelujah chorus>
You start small with a combination of walking and jogging. Most workouts are set up to last about 30 minutes with warm-up and cool-down. Gradually, you add more running for longer periods of time, with just a few short walking breaks. Within nine weeks, you should be able to run three miles.
I took it a little slow. I had 12 weeks between the time I started the plan and the day of the race. So, I repeated a week in the middle to build up my endurance, took a week off because I hurt my hip, and had an extra week at the end to make sure I really could run for three solid miles.
For the first eight or so weeks, I was glued to the treadmill, partly because it was wintery outside and partly because I was embarrassed to do the stop-start thing outside. Silly, I know. I taped the schedule on the wall next to the treadmill, and recorded my times and distances after each workout. Once I got more confident with the longer distances, I started running outside. And, with one or two exceptions on rainy days, I only run outside now. The treadmill is boring to me, and I feel like I’m going nowhere. (cue rimshot sound) Outside has fun little woodland creatures, fresh air, and sunshine. I like all those things.
I ran my 5K race without stopping and got the respectable time of 33.12. Boo to the yah!
Emboldened by my success, I’m now working through a training plan for a 10K race in September. Next year, I want to do a half-marathon at the Ludington Lakestride. Pretty darn sure that as long as I stick to a training schedule, I can do it.