Hope can often be found by looking forward, but not for a first-timer training for a 5K.
It’s been my experience that looking ahead when training for a 5K run can bring nothing but dread. I knew there would be challenges when I registered for the Healthy U eight-week Couch to 5K (C25K) training program, but felt excitement about the adventure.
My challenge is similar to that of 2013 Healthy U student Jamie Groshart, who shared at the C25K kick-off meeting her struggle. Groshart, like me, would look ahead discouragingly at the increasing difficulty of her training schedule. I’ve tried to think more positively, telling myself “Tonight’s workout is going to be fun.” But, I still end up dreading my toughest workout every week.
The first workout of the week, which I complete on Mondays, is timed intervals of jogging and walking. These workouts leave me feeling the best, proud of what I’ve accomplished. Second, scheduled for Wednesday, is a jog or walk/jog for a set period of time ranging from 25 to 30 minutes or a distance of one and a half to three miles.
Finally, the last workout of the week, which I do on Friday, is a timed walk from 30 minutes to an hour. I look forward to my Friday workout because I’ve discovered I really enjoy walking. My Jack Russell terrier looks forward to Fridays too because I have been taking him along.
It’s Wednesdays I meet with reluctance. I know I’ll have to kick it into high gear for my mid-week workout. A two-mile jog was scheduled last Wednesday. I couldn’t stop thinking all day about the challenge that faced me.
I felt as if I had a devil on one shoulder, filling my head with doubts that I would be able to complete the mileage. It whispered in my ear, “What are you thinking? You cannot run two miles.” On my other shoulder was an angel telling me, “You can do this!”
In an effort to hold myself accountable, I tried to tell as many people as I could about my scheduled workout. There could be no backing out if I had to face all of them on Thursday and admit I hadn’t done it, right?
I made it to the track and it began. Halfway through, I began to weigh my options about quitting and completed a mental checklist. I could breathe. Check. My legs were not falling off. Check. Physically, I was doing it.
I then began to think about people who would be proud of me if they saw me running. I kept going.
My husband, and C25K partner, was there pushing me. My muscles felt tight and I found myself thinking about how much easier it would be if I could relax. The thought occurred to me that the tightness in my muscles was a sign of how hard they were working, which is a good thing. I want my muscles to work hard to become stronger.
As a former soccer player, I find myself reliving the days when I would be the first one in from our two-mile run, and I wish it were that easy. I know the only way it will get easier is if I continue to make progress toward my overall fitness.
Therefore, I am not going to pretend running two miles wasn’t hard. I wanted to stop. But, I didn’t. I walked a little, but I continued to think the entire time about how I wanted to show others, and myself, that I could do it. I envisioned the faces of those inquiring about my run the next day. I told myself my time for the Lub Dub will be better if I pushed harder now. I did it. Two miles. Check.
It is getting easier, and it feels great.