As the weather grows warmer and the sun stays up later, millions of people around the world begin participating in 5K walks and runs. I have never been a fan of running. In fact, you may have read in a previous blog entry that I hate running. In truth, I don’t hate anything, I’m not much of a hater. I do, however, strongly dislike it. However, transitioning into maintenance once I hit my goal weight put me at a loss for goals. Sure, I’ve made progress with my kettlebell workouts, but I just felt I needed something else to work towards, since the scale was no longer useful for rewarding me. I happened to mention to my coworker Josh that I might be interested. Josh, an aspiring artist, has recently begun lifting weights (could some of my healthy habits rubbed off on him?) and kind of latched onto the 5k idea. (Okay, okay, he basically bugged me until I agreed to train with him.) We decided to use the C25K Free app to train.
The C25K app (C25K stands for Couch to 5K) is an 8-week long plan designed for people who are just beginning to run. There are 3 sessions a week, each alternating walking with running until you build the strength to run the entire time. The sessions begin at 30 minutes and eventually stretch to 40 minutes, including warm ups and cool downs. Plus, like I said earlier, it’s FREE. There’s way more to the app than I just mentioned, including compatibility with playlists and GPS programs, but I’m sticking to the basics here.
We started our training on the warmest day thus far in April. It nearly hit 80 degrees in South Jersey that day, and we were dressed to enjoy that warmth!
We were at a decent sized park with a combination of paved and gravel paths and lots of grassy areas. There wasn’t a huge amount of elevation change, being South Jersey, but there were some small hills and a short flight of stairs. Right off the bat I told Josh that I would do my best to finish all of the jogging segments, but that I wasn’t sure I could. Josh had far more faith in me than I did, insisting that I would do just fine, because I worked out regularly, but I argued that kettlebells and running use different sets of muscles, which, I soon discovered, was absolutely true. More on that later.
Day 1 of C25K involves a 5-minute warm-up, followed by intervals of 60 seconds of running alternative with 90 seconds of walking, then a 5-minute cooldown. Despite the heat and my lack of running confidence, we made it through Day 1 without stopping! There was the minor detour through an invisible mud puddle which resulted in much swearing, hilarity, and the startling of a recreational fisherman, but other than that, smooth sailing. My calves, however? They SCREAMED at me for days. I’ve had my quadriceps and hamstrings ache after a particularly good kettlebell workout, but never my calves. I took it as a sign that I’d done something right!
Day 2 I did alone. This day was much, much different. The temperature didn’t make it to 50 degrees, the sun was cruelly hiding behind a blanket of grayish clouds threatening rain, and a brisk wind was more reminiscent of March than April. Ugh. So I cranked up my favorite podcast, The Morning Stream, turned on the app, and got moving. I was freezing in running pants, a tank, a tee and a hoodie. I told myself I would be warm if I just kept going, which turned out to be true. And, lo and behold, I made it through yet again! It wasn’t easy, and it was cold, but I did it.
Day 3 Josh and I were a team again, this time just running through the neighborhood near work. The day was gorgeous once again, despite being cooler than Day 1. The route we chose had a large hill on the return and traveled through a small wooded area with a creek that was just beautiful. It made the run way more pleasant than my dreary, freezing Day 2! For some reason, it felt like my body was ready for Day 3. I kinda sorta understood why people might like this running thing. My favorite part? The challenge of the hill. It was difficult, but I didn’t feel like my head or lungs were going to explode like they did a year or so ago when I tried running. I’m going to go ahead and chalk that up to kettlebells doing my body good!
Stay tuned for a Week 2 update, coming soon, and until then, have fun and flash those guns!