I’m starting to run again after a hiatus of maybe 10 years (yikes!). My SO wants us to run in a 5k in October, and I want to get in better shape and improve my cardio fitness, so why not. I’ve always hated to run, but got myself up to 3 miles a day a few times a week back in high school. The first time I went was ugly. I keep reading that you’re supposed to be able to carry on a short conversation without gasping. Well, after running maybe 1/4 mile there is no conversation for me, just gasping. It was really sad just how short a distance I could go, even slowly. And I got honked at and catcalled. I mean, really?! And I chafed-oh how I chafed...
I’ve been following the Couch to 5K plan, and I’m a week in. I actually like it, and I’m slowly improving my time and distance. No more shin splints, and my ankles and knees aren’t aching anymore. I really need a new pair of shoes though. My blisters are gross.
Does anyone have any good tips, articles, apps, etc for a terrible new runner? Other things that have helped me are to imagine that there are zombies chasing me, or run by yards with big-ass scary dogs that bark and run after me.
I would say start SLOW!!!!! Go slower than you think you need to go, like embarrassingly slow. Run for a minute, then walk 4. After you can do that comfortably, jog for 2 minutes and walk for 3. Then 3 min jogging and 2min walking, etc. And you don't have to run your first 5k all the way through, most people do not. Unless you want to be competitive, and you probably will not be in your first one, plan to walk and stick to it. I often go with headphones and have an interval app in it and have it set to go off at certain intervals, usually 9min running and one min walking for me, but I have been running for a while and am training for a half marathon right now. When you are more comfortable, slowly increase your embarrassingly slow pace as long as you can still talk. Once you get closer to your race, then you can push the pace a bit, but you really don't need to right now, it is all about finishing for the first one. Good luck!!
Just keep going! I recently started running again too. As in last week lol! Before, when I first started running I'd go as far as I could, then I'd go a little more. To the next lamp post/mailbox/end of the block. It's amazing how much further you really can go!
My BF just shared this insight: Find your stride. It may actually be longer/faster than what you think you can do, but its more comfortable. Going along on a shorter stride is actually harder on you. Tried that myself, experimented a bit and I did find that a little longer stride/faster pace was more comfortable. Granted, I still huffed and puffed, but I feel like I'll actually make some progress now instead of always shuffling around at a snail's pace lol.
*just to clarify: When I say find your stride, I don't mean push yourself beyond your limit. Just literally find the pace that works for you. In my case, it turned out it was a bit longer. Think of it like a hunter: long, smooth strides are less wear and tear and work than a horse who has short, choppy stride.
Slow but steady gets you there without injury. If you push harder, you will injury yourself and, what's the point? It's not like you are going to be either making the Olympic Trials or not in your first 5k.
Oh, and yes, WALK breaks are your friend!! Walk until you recover a bit, then keep going. You can go a lot further that way, and I'm sorry, I DO NOT believe in the whole, run til you puke thing. No way!
I started the couch to 5K program in May and finished in July (having not run for years). Going slow is key, like everyone else has said, but not running two days in a row - i.e., giving your self at least every other day off to recover - is just as important. I was thrilled when I was able to "run" (really, I just did a super slow jog) 20 mins with no walk breaks... and I was also really excited to "run" my first 5K. Oh, and one other thing to keep in mind is that it's a good idea to keep your strides short in the beginning to minimize stress on your legs and feet. If my lazy ass can do it, anyone's can!
You can get into the fancy apps once you finish the C25K. My daughter likes the one where she's chased by zombies.
There will be no attempt to be competitive! LOL, I'll be happy if I just finish the darn thing. My goal would be to sloooowly jog the whole 5K, since that's about the distance I could do back in HS.
The program I'm doing is run 1 minute, walk 90 seconds, repeat 8 times per run. I can manage that so far. This week I'm supposed to bump up to 90 seconds of running, 2 mins walking. My boyfriend told me to do the run-til-you-puke thing (actually he bragged that he puked 3 times on his run- gross!). I think I would collapse before I puked though.
NERider- You're so right about the stride thing. I feel so much better when I open up into a extended-trot type run. The shuffling, western-pleasure jog hurts my ankles and shins. I can't keep up long-strided running for that long though....yet!
All good thoughts. One thing I'd add on the stride length/cadence: breathing awareness. Because we naturally tie our respiratory rate to our stride, a super slow cadence (unnaturally slow, as in under the norm of 90, even under 80/min) means fewer breaths per minute, too. Notice when you pic it u in a dash, say for the next power pole, you can only fit in two steps (left right) with an exhalation and two steps with an inhalation, but when doing a sustainable jog, it's generally four steps (left right left right) with each inhalation and each exhalation. If your jog doesn't feel susainable, your cadence may actually be too slow, not too fast (tho your stride length could be too long) as a higher cadence will give you a few more breaths/minute.
I'm certainly no expert so keep that in mind. I ran track in high school (distance) and then off and on over the years. Mostly off.
In March, I started with the 10K for Pink app - it's similar to the Couch to K programs. When I first started, I thought I'd quit once I got to the 5K point - in part because I run before work in the morning and I thought I'd run out of time and also because I thought there is no way I could run a 10K.
As I progressed, I found myself very motivated to meet the goals set by the program and found myself getting up earlier to make the time.
I kept telling myself, the program wouldn't ask me to do it if they didn't think it was a reasonable progression.
So stick with it. You can do it.
Get shoes that fit well - and comfortable running clothes.
I finished up my program in May or June. I am still running. M-W-F, I run between 5 & 7 miles. Tuesdays I do sprints. Thurs I do a short run or a nice walk. I do think the T&Th breaks help me. Sat & Sun are days off.
Also, I use the Nike + running app - used it in conjunction with 10K for Pink and now use it as a stand alone. Now I find myself motivated to improve my times - love it when I set a new personal 10K record. It's silly but rewarding at the same time.
Just seek ways to motivate yourself. Remember at the beginning of the run when you're hating every step (the first 1/2 mile is still the toughest for me) just how good you feel about yourself at the end when you've accomplished what you set out to do. And don't suffer with uncomfortable shoes/clothes!
Not much to add, but just wanted to say that I started running with the Couch to 5k program and loved it. Do you have the app on your phone? It's really helpful to have the person tell you when to walk or run so you don't have to be checking your watch.
I also love the Endomundo app, there's a free version or the upgrade for a couple of dollars. I have the upgraded version and really like it. Once you get farther in the C25k I think it's nice to be able to track mileage and it's a great motivator for me to hear how far I've gone!
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If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever
I jog super-slow - as in, the local tortoise regularly passes me on his treks to find food. Guess what? I don't care! I'm jogging! It's sort of a cross between a shuffly walk and a jog, but it's the first time in my LIFE I've been able to do it and keep it up. It's actually easier for me than walking. I do it till I can't do it any longer, then I walk for a while. So you're still faster than ME, so take heart
Yes, love couch to 5K! Don't worry about speed, and don't try to do MORE than what Cto5K says ... I tried to double the workout early on, and ended up with sore knees. Just follow the plan, and you should be good to go!
On the subject of blisters ... I had an awful, persistent blister on the side of my big toe every time I ran. So I switched into my "workout" shoes ... and my middle toe goes numb. Sigh. So I gave in and went to a runner's store (just googled running stores in my area). Employee measured not just my foot size, but also my arch. Watched me walk, watched me run, and brought out about 4 pairs of shoes I've never even thought to try on. Taught me how to do the "runner's loop" because every pair of shoes was slipping slightly on my heel (it fixed the problem 100% btw). I paid $110 for the shoes, but they do NOT rub, they do NOT hurt my foot, and I can run my full 3 miles with no pain whatsoever. I think the $12 synthetic socks made a big difference too. Wright socks they're called; awesome!
Good luck to you! I'm in the camp of if I can do it, YOU can DEFINITELY do it, lol
When I started running I was like you and could barely run a quarter mile because I was trying to run too fast. Like someone else said, start out embarrassingly slow... Like you could walk faster than you're jogging. I started out with a friend jogging 16 minute miles on our riding trails (think hiking trails with some nice hills). At that speed you really shouldn't need to walk because walking would actually be faster. Just try to keep going. We started with one mile at a time and gradually built up to four miles. Once we were doing four 16 minute miles we started picking up the pace and now run four 12 minute miles.
I try to do one 5k a month and love them! I'd definitely recommend obstacle/mud runs too because they're a blast!