“I don’t know how to make it happen. I’ve tried training before but ended up quitting because; I just couldn’t stay motivated, I got too sore, I don’t like to sweat, my feet hurt, it was just too hard and besides that I’m too old”.
Yep, I thought all those things off and on for several years. (Well maybe not the sweating part because I don’t mind that.) I wanted to run a 5K sometime before I went on to heaven but I just never got around to really doing something about it. I would start “training” but I would run too far the first several days and then would be so sore that it didn’t seem worth it. Sometimes I would run for a couple of weeks and then lose interest because I didn’t have anyone to encourage me or keep me accountable. As a result, I just dropped any serious thoughts of running. I needed a plan.
I ended up hearing about the Couch to 5K program. Forsyth County Parks and Recreation includes this several times a year in their sports classes. I saw it advertised and decided, “Why not?” I enrolled at their Central Park location in Cumming and in 9 weeks I ran my first 5k. It wasn’t pretty and I don’t really run (I jog) but I finished!
Fast forward 5 years or so and I have probably participated in 6 or 7 races. Sometimes my finish times have gotten better and sometimes they have gotten worse. But, it has been an accomplishment that I am proud of. I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened had I not found a plan that “spelled it out” for me.
One of the best benefits of this type of program is it gives you a schedule to follow so that you are making steady progress. It starts off slowly with more walking than running so if you are not an “exerciser” you are easing into it gradually. This helps to cut down on the chance of exhaustion at the end of each training session. (Some people don’t want to be “spent” each time they exercise.) It also helps to minimize soreness and chance of injury. Now, if you have not exercised regularly and then you start any type of exercise regime, you are going to have a certain amount of soreness. But there is a difference between muscle soreness and injury from doing too much too soon. The plan I have followed starts with several days of warm up walking (5 minutes) followed by jogging (2 minutes) and ending with more walking (5 minutes). If that is too much jogging, reduce it to 1 minute. Most of us can do that! After several days of following the same schedule you will start jogging more and walking less etc. etc. etc. until you are eventually running for 30 minutes or an entire 5K.
If you need to be encouraged and held accountable (we all do) then check out your local Parks system and see if they offer a running program. If not, find a Couch to 5k type plan on the internet. (there are several different versions) Then check and see if there are others in your neighborhood or work place that might be interested in joining you.
There are several of us in and around our community of Ball Ground that exercise together twice a week. We started with the Couch to 5k program about a year and 1/2 ago. We have since run 3 or 4 races. We’ve hiked together and we’ve done a lot of push ups, jumping jacks and planks. Part of what we enjoy is the camaraderie of being together and part of the enjoyment is just getting up and out and moving. We have fun!
If you are interested in joining a group and you live near Ball Ground, grab your running shoes and come join us on Monday and Thursday nights at 6:30. Call our office for details.
Here’s to being an EX-couch potato in 2017.