Seems natural, right?
No seriously, I hate running. Not just like I don’t enjoy it, but while I’m running, I just hate everything. I can’t say the word “hate” enough.
But after watching all my friends run races and triathlons, I decided I should give running another try. So I looked up races in the Portland area and found one that sounded fun (a run over the Fremont Bridge with free beer at the end for all participants – right up my alley). The only problem was that it’s 8k instead of 5, which is what I had planned to do. But it’s in April, so hopefully I have enough time to gear up.
Anyway, the reason I’m telling you all this, Internet, is because I found this really cool program that I’m sure everyone knew about except me… It’s called Couch to 5k. The best way I can describe it is using the metaphor of lifting weights. If I wanted to bench press 100 pounds by April, it would be stupid for me to just go to the gym every day and max out on the bench. I would probably hurt myself, first of all, and if I didn’t I would most certainly not look forward to the ritual. The best way to do it would be to do 10-20 reps of a lighter weight (say… the bar?) and increase the weight gradually over time. That way I would get stronger every day and in the end bench pressing 100 pounds wouldn’t make me feel like I want to die. And maybe along the way I would start to enjoy the feeling I got from the weight lifting, since it was challenging but not impossibly difficult.
Same thing here. I run 3 times a week for a half hour. Each run is broken up into running and walking intervals. In the beginning, It was one minute running, one walking, one running, etc. Then each week the running periods get longer and the walking intervals get shorter. Pretty soon (from what I’m told), I’ll be running 5k without even realizing it. Okay, that might be a stretch.
But it’s great. And there’s a bunch of different podcasts you can download to make it super easy. I’m into Podrunner Intervals, because they include music with BPMs that speed up when you’re supposed to be running and because they have a training system for an 8k, too. But there’s a whole bunch of Couch to 5k podcasts available if you want something different.
Anyway, after 4 weeks, I’m still enthusiastic. I would highly recommend it. And that means a lot coming from someone who hates running.