05 February 2014

Treadmill Running

One Saturday morning last February, I met up with a friend for coffee. I hadn't seen her much over the prior year, so it was funny when we discovered that we had each been toying with the idea of doing a bit of running. While I had been going to the gym regularly, I had never tried running (unless you count that race back in 4th grade...more about that later!) and didn't have a clue how to start. Then my friend showed me an app she had just discovered: Couch to 5K

Although I've never been a couch potato, the idea of starting from NOTHING and going to SOMETHING held great appeal to me. With a C25K program, you learn to run in short intervals over a 30-minute period, gradually increasing your running and decreasing your walking until you reach the 5K mark, generally around nine weeks. So my friend and I embarked on the C25K program separately but together, checking in with each other frequently to offer support and encouragement throughout the spring. Little did we know that we would both go on to lose our dads unexpectedly within just a few weeks of each other.

 Later, my friend told me she believed there was a reason we started running at the time we did. As we talked about it, we agreed that it was empowering to achieve some success at something neither of us had ever attempted. Learning to run gave us confidence and reminded us that we were stronger than we thought we were. It may sound crazy, but we believed that if we could learn to run, then we were surely strong enough to navigate the completely foreign territory of losing our dads. 

As we've each worked through the grieving process, we've found treadmill running to be a huge stress reliever. We've laughed at our ineptitude -- falling off the treadmill (okay, maybe that was just me!), having to repeatedly start the nine-week program over, and being completely unable to conquer the terrain, bugs, and humidity of outdoor running.

But through all the angst of the past months, we've each kept at it. And I'm happy to report that, after more than a few stops and starts, I'm finally back to being able to run 30 minutes without stopping on the treadmill. It's a great feeling, and every time I meet that goal, I leave the gym smiling.

So with this post as an introduction, I hope to share a bit about my running from time to time on my blog. I firmly believe that if I can run, anyone can! :)


Heather said...

I *am* a couch potato, but I've been trying to motivate myself into getting in shape. My husband and I joined a gym a few months ago, but I haven't been going. Oops. I keep telling myself that not only will I start going, but I want to start running. I have some friends who have gone from nothing to running, and I feel like I could do the same if I just got started. I want to learn to LIKE exercising...I keep hearing about that "runner's high" that makes you crave running after you get started. I'm definitely checking out that app! Thanks for sharing and congrats on reaching your goal! :)

Janet said...

Thanks for stopping by, Heather! I have been going to the gym for a few years now and definitely do NOT like exercising! BUT I do like how much more energetic I feel, and how much better I feel about myself, so that's why I keep doing it.
I had never found any particular exercise I liked but the idea of running appealed to me and frankly, I needed the extra challenge at the gym because I was being far too easy on myself! I found the C25K to be motivating because you just do a little bit of running at a time and it's easy to achieve success.
Now as for that runner's high? I'm not sure I've experienced that yet! But it's definitely a stress reliever! :) I hope you give it a try! Good luck!

Heather said...

Just stopping back by to tell you I got the app, went to the gym yesterday, and did Week 1 Day 1. It was tough, but I made it. Maybe I can keep it up! Thanks again for recommending it!

Janet said...

Heather, that is awesome! Getting started is the hardest part! Well, not THE hardest, but one of the hardest! :) Here are 3 additional suggestions for you: 1) You don't need to run every day. In fact, you're supposed to give your body a day to recover before running again. I go every other day, so I run 3-4 times a week. 2) I also try to do some other exercises before or after my running as I've read it is important to continue to strengthen your entire body. I don't do a great job with this part! LOL 3) If you feel like a particular day's run is super hard for you, or the program is progressing too fast, just repeat a day or a week. There is no rush to get through it. I repeated Week 5 three times before I felt like I could move on.
Excited for you! Thanks for sharing, Heather! :)