Tag Archives: couch to 5k

Project Speed Demon: Week 1, Day 1


Well, that sort of sucked.

More accurately: I sort of sucked.

Yesterday I began my re-doing of a Couch to 5K using running & faster running instead of walking & running.

“Walk” speed (slower run speed): 5.0
“Run” speed (faster run speed): 6.0

It wasn’t that I was DYING OF FATIGUE or was even breathing too hard/struggling to breathe — but every time I had to switch speeds on the treadmill (which is nearly every minute in the first few weeks of the program, so, plenty more where that came from) I lingered a few seconds or took a sip of water.

Realistically, this isn’t the end of the world.

However, I am really irritated at myself for taking such liberties, even if I DID run my whole cool down and then some to make up for it.

Part of my pride in my initial 5K success stemmed from my refusal of those little “breaks” for water etc. And Chelsea says “Well just take a sip while running!” But readers, I CANNOT. I spill. I mess up my breathing patterns. I lose count of my steps. I stop using my arms.

It’s always — since childhood — been hard for me to get in a “groove” while running. And doing anything that disrupts that groove while still trying to continue it… Really messes up the groove and the breathing and the general flow. I’m not trying to make an excuse for myself — moreso trying to pinpoint a problem and it’s source so I can decide how to fix it.

This is all relevant because when I have to switch speeds, etc. I need to hop onto the side rails of the treadmill. Can’t run and do it at the same time. At least, not yet. I need to practice. But all that hopping leads to lingering.

And I did not come this far to start lingering again.

So I’ll have to work on that, methinks.

Lastly, I’m a little sore after yesterday’s run, even though it was 15 minutes shorter than my “usual” and supposedly burned about 100 fewer calories.

I think what I am going to do is work on my “speed” (such that it is, as I am a slow turtle) every third day, and on the two in-between days I shall run a 5K at my comfortable speed of 5.0.

So Week 1, Day 1 is complete.

Three more miles!



Guys, it happened:

I graduated from Couch to 5K.

Thinking I had more than one workout left because of the “free run” button at the end, I went into yesterday’s run primarily concerned about getting to run in my BRAND NEW SHOES (see post below; they’re glorious). However, at the end of the run, I realized that the “free run” was an indefinite button — I could log workouts into the future.

But that meant that after yesterday’s run, my first stab at Couch to 5K was over. Just like that.

For my last workout, I did what I’ve been doing — I ran for about 39 minutes, using the extra few past 36 to make up for (more than make up for, really) any time I took a sip of water or changed the TV station, and did my five minute walking warmup. This amounted to 3.6 miles, all told.

And so, my last three miles of Couch to 5K and my first three miles in my new shoes were one and the same. The passing of a torch, in a way.

I’ll be updating soon with my plans for how I’m going to continue running (and I am, of course, going to continue) and you’ll be hearing about my adventures. The new “title” for my running adventures?

“Project Speed Demon.”



What’s really amazing to me, though, is that I finished the C25K program at all. When I first started, I thought nine weeks sounded like forever. I also felt very skeptical that I could ever, ever, ever finish that much running. I also didn’t believe I’d do it three times a week — let alone 6. I also didn’t believe I’d ever grow to like it.

But the nine weeks flew by; I not only finished “that much running,” but added 6 extra minutes to my daily routine (because I run 12-minute miles, not 10-minute miles, those extra 6 minutes are needed to reach the full 3.1 miles); I run 5-6 times a week happily; I’ve grown to enjoy it — I look forward to it every day.

It probably sounds hokey to say that Couch to 5K changed my life, but I suppose it did. When I started, I was nearly ten lbs heavier and incapable of running a single mile. Now, even though I run slow, I run steady. And as I always say, “That’s not nothin’.” For most of my life, running has felt like a door that’s been closed to me. Mom is good at it. Matt is good at it. My friends were good at it. I never was, but always wished I could be. What I’ve learned, I think, these past nine weeks is that I AM a runner/can be a runner, and that “good” is relative. I don’t need to be FAST to be good. I don’t need to run marathons to be good — although it would be cool to run one (baby steps… baby steps…). The discovery: All I need to do, to be “a runner,” is to run.

And I do run.

And I like it.

A lot.

And for me, that is nothing short of a miracle.


So thanks, Couch to 5K. Your terrible voice actors and occasionally glitchy logging feature were there for me every step of the way. Literally. You gave me structure and routine, and pushed me harder than I thought I could go (DAMN YOU WEEK THREE). You made me feel accomplished. You gave me a visual representation of how far I’ve come. You kept count for me. You counted ON me to be there three times a week (at LEAST), and always made me want to be better and to keep going. In your strange little poorly-voice-acted way, you changed who I am.

How can I say “thank you” enough times for that?

(But don’t worry, my little App Friend, I have plans for you… you’ll be seeing me!)


Thanks for accompanying me on this journey so far — we’ve got many more adventures to experience, too, what with me and these great new running shoes.

Three more miles.

And then, three more.

Three more after that.

And on we’ll go.

Couch to 5K Update


Today begins Week 9, the FINAL WEEK.

Wow, wow, wow, wowee wow.

For Week 8, I admittedly didn’t listen to the app very much. I did what I wanted, which was to run three full miles instead of just running for 28 minutes. And in my defense the app is glitching and not letting my log my specific workouts anyway so it all hardly matters.

Here’s my reasoning: Couch to 5K is designed so that if you run a 10 minute mile, you’ll be running three of them by the end of Week 9. Which is all well and good… If you can run a ten minute mile. I would venture to guess that most people (including myself) who are using Couch to 5K do NOT run ten minute miles. I believe I’m capable of it — it’s actually my next goal, which I’ll explain in a later post after I’ve finished Couch to 5K — but if I just follow the C25K program itself without upping my speed, that 3-mile marker is never going to hit. It takes me 36 minutes to run three miles — not 30. See what I mean?

Also worth noting: I usually still run for three minutes of my cooldown.

SO. Here’s what I have been thinking, then. If warmup is 5 minutes. And then C25K says, “Run for 28,” and then cooldown is 5, and if I run for three minutes of the cooldown anyway… then that’s 31 minutes. THAT’S ONLY FIVE MINUTES AWAY FROM 3 MILES. Which is just dumb not to pursue. So I run the full three then walk extra at the end. I use the timer on my phone to guide me in places the app falls short or doesn’t last long enough.

I suppose this means that for Week 9, there won’t be any new surprises or levels of surprise, because I already can comfortably run 3 miles. That is, unless I start running four miles this week…

But that’s not likely.

It would take me 48 minutes and really, I ain’t got time for that.

But yep yep, Week 8 is over.


The initial journey, anyway.


More Couch to 5K

Ran again today – 3 miles again. I stopped once to change episodes of my show (damned Wii remote) and once for a sip of water since I coughed, for unknown reasons.

Including my warmup, it was 3.5 miles.

Sometimes I worry that I get too giddy about this stuff — that I’m annoying anybody who might read or hear about it; but then I think to myself, If I can’t talk about it here then where CAN I talk about it?

I figure, if you are reading this or following the blog, you’re probably interested in wellness or at least in me, so maybe you’re as happy about my successes as I am.

And so I will say this: it just occurred to me that in the past two days, I have run 6 miles. 6 miles in two days! Sheepers creepers! If you count my warmup of brisk walking, it’s been 7 miles.

Even this time last week, I probably wouldn’t have believed that the third mile would come as easily as it did.

But somehow, it was easier than the first two miles — I’m not complaining!

Anyway, just thought I’d pop in to say I repeated yesterday’s success.

By the way, here’s a picture of yesterday’s treadmill post-run!



Couch to 5K Update

I was going to wait until Monday to post about this, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

Today was Week 7, Day 3.

Should’ve been warm up, cool down, and 25 minute run.

But something possessed me —

Run for 30, I told myself. But then 30 hit, and I felt good. And so I thought, Why not 36?

For those of you who have been following along, I run/jog at 5.0.

Which makes 36 minutes of running THREE FULL MILES.

And being that I ran for 37:45, I think it’s pretty safe to say THAT I RAN THREE FULL MILES WITHOUT STOPPING FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE.

The good part: It wasn’t that bad!

The very best part: I never ever ever thought I could do that. Ever.

And I just did.

Couch to 5K Update: Week 7

Um, Week 7 is SO not subtle.

Day 1: Run for 25 minutes.

Now, because I forced myself to do this back when they only asked me to run 20 minutes (I was intent on hitting that 2 mile marker, and at 5.0 24 minutes is needed for that), I was not too terrified.

I did it, and it was fine. At one point I did have to stop for about 23 seconds to hit buttons on the remote to start the next episode of The Office (we have the Wii hooked up in the basement which is how we’re streaming Netflix to that TV and I CHALLENGE you to use a Wii remote while still running), but I ran for an extra 1 minute at the end (so, 26 minutes total) to make up for it. I didn’t linger. I just had to wake up the remote and clickety-click.

As I’m running the full 26, I find that I get a little bit restless but I think that’s only because I have gotten so used to the time being broken up into smaller increments — it’s not because I’m TIRED or DYING. But it’s hard to figure out how to deal with the restlessness. I’m sure I’ll get used to it as time goes on. I find myself eying the clock too often. And again, it’s not because I’m too fatigued — I think I’m just too used to those distances being broken up.


I tell myself, The important thing isn’t whether or not you’re bored at times — the important thing is that you can (and HAVE) run more than two miles without stopping, now!


I tell myself, You will get used to this. Just like you got used to the broken-up times, you’ll get used to the all-at-once times.


I tell myself, You are seven whole weeks in, and going strong. An actual 5K run is within reaching distance.


I tell myself, Yanno, I’m really proud of you.

Couch to 5K Update







Today, on Week 6, Day 2, I ran TWO FULL MILES WITHOUT STOPPING.












Couch to 5K Update: Week 6

I survived Week 5! And with zest and zeal, I might add.

So now, I’m on Week 6, which started with a pleasantly light run yesterday.

Rather than wax philosophical about the workout itself, I’ll instead tell you about what it did for me.

Guys, I’m stressed out.

I mean REALLY stressed out.

The type of stress that makes you teary, in need of hugs, and unable to answer simple questions about your day without seizing up and tensing and saying, literally, “I CAN’T.”

I am really, really worn thin at this point in the semester.

Thankfully, Chelsea and the cats are wonderful and so is my family, and so are my friends. But that doesn’t really make the days that much easier to force my way through, you know?Yesterday was a truly bad day. I felt like all my responsibilities were crashing down around me with the force of a typhoon — it gave the sense of there being no light at the end of the tunnel. Exhausted. Fatigued. Three cold sores. A fever. A bad day. I HAD HAD IT WITH MYSELF.

When I got home from my last leg of the day, Chelsea agreed to heat up supper (we were having leftover lentil soup) while I went for my run.

I went down into the basement defeated and withered after a crappy, brow-beating day.

I came back up after my run feeling relaxed, more in-control, relieved, and grateful for the chance to reconnect with my body BEYOND all the stress it’s been enduring.

Shock of shocks: I actually found comfort in my run, and not for the first time.

If you’d told me six weeks ago that by mid-March I’d find my daily run to be a comfort, I’d have laughed at you.

Perhaps I don’t know myself that well after all.

And perhaps that is a good thing.


Couch to 5K: Week 5, Day 3

What else can I say?


And it wasn’t even that bad!

I actually think it was easier to keep running than it is to start and stop. Like, running straight through hurt my legs less than doing the walk/run hybrid that they like you to do.

So today I ran for 20 solid minutes at 5.0.

That’s 1.75 miles.

Without stoping even for so much as a sip of water.

I am immensely proud of this.

Today I feel like a T-Rex with an extender claw: UNSTOPPABLE.

Couch to 5K: Week 5 Update

Guys! Girls! Everyone in between!

I forgot to mention that I have begun Week 5 of Couch to 5K.

So far, so very-very-very good!

The first two workouts were sincerely a breeze — so much so that I think when I do my second round of W5 (since I usually do 5/6 running workouts a week depending in how hard they are), I might try to up SOME of the running to 6.0 again instead of 5.0.

Recently, I saw someone in Facebook making disparaging comments about people who “run” (they put the word in quotes) ten or twelve minute miles. How rude, right? If it’s hard for that person (and it’s certainly hard for this person!) then it’s just hard. It just is. And who is anybody to take that away from someone else who is trying their best?

Readers, I don’t care what speed you set your treadmill at or how often you need to stop for water or walk a few steps. You are always, every single time, lapping the version of you who never got off the couch.

One of the best things I ever learned from Crossfit (which I miss but which has been hard to fit in, because of the recently lengthened drive) is that when it comes to wellness and fitness, competition is fun and all but what really matters is meeting yourself where you are at, focusing on your own goals and improvements, and celebrating yourself — YOUR. SELF. Not you relative to someone else. Not you as you might be next week. Just you. Now.

That’s worth feeling good about. It really is.

Tomorrow, I take on the oft-fabled 20-minutes-of-running-with-no-breaks part of Couch to 5K, AKA Week 5, Day 3. I’m almost looking forward to it — it’ll be a big accomplishment if I middle through without needing to stop. I don’t think I ever really ran at a 5.0 for 20 minutes without walking.

So rather than dreading the workout, let’s try to reframe, shall we?

I don’t dread the workout.

Instead, I am looking forward to achieving a new little bastion of fitness that I’ve never reached before.

Ok, yeah. Still nervous.

But attitude is everything, eh?

Haters can hate. To me, “running” is anything that isn’t walking and tomorrow I will “run” for 20 minutes.

And then I’ll be back to tell you all about it!