Couch to 5K complete – Lessons Learned

Yesterday I was unsure about whether I would run or not. I was truly dreading a 35-min run and I was worried that I would be unable to complete it. I got a call mid-afternoon about a gig today and that meant that I would not be able to run on Tuesday so I decided to give it a go and I am so happy I did. I DID IT! I FINISHED! 

At mid-point I posted a few lessons that I had learned along the way. Here’s the second part of the lesson:

1. Running is hard: There’s no way around this folks. I still don’t love it but I got through it and I am so much better for it. It’s good to pick up new challenges and it’s even better to get through it. This was my third attempt (it’s a charm) and I realize that a few things definitely helped:

– I’m lighter: The last two times I attempted the program I was at least 40 lbs heavier.
– I’m active: This one is the one I attribute my success the most. This time around I had been working out routinely for almost a year. My body was much more prepared for the exercise and I had developed more confidence in myself.

2. Running gets easier: I really enjoyed the program and the progression. Although I had my doubts all throughout and kept thinking “there’s just no way I can run 6 minutes straight”, but not only did I run 6 min, I also ran 8, then 15, and yesterday 35. I just kept telling myself “one more minute” and it worked.

3. You need the right gear: You need good shoes, good socks, and breathable apparel. It makes a huge difference. Don’t be stingy. Get fitted by a professional and your body will perform.

4. Get Appy: I used 5K runner which I really enjoyed. The pace was doable and the badges and quotes did motivate me. I used Songza for music which provides music stations that meet your mood or activity. I usually ran to its Uplifting Pop Motivation station which really kept me going. In fact, I ended the program with Kelly Clarkson’s What doesn’t kill you (stronger) which was kind of perfect. On week 7 the intervals stopped so I started using Nike+ to track my calorie burn, pace, and distance.

5. Listen to your body: There’s sore and then there’s pain. Rest when needed, drink water when thirsty, and fuel smart. I would have a glass of water about half an hour before running, then a small amount before starting the brisk walk. I stretch after the walk and after the run and I would drink plenty of water when I was done and usually have a snack like a protein bar or a handful of almonds and dark chocolate. Sometimes I didn’t need it. Listen to your body.


IMG_1276I don’t know if this is true but I am starting to believe that this program is responsible for breaking my 5-month  plateau. It had been recommended that I add a different exercise to my routine and the scale finally started moving in the right direction the last three weeks of the program. What’s next? Nike+ allows me to set distance runs so I’ll be adding two 5K runs every week, still indoors because it’s pretty hot and humid here but once the weather cools my plan is to purchase the 10K runner app and start reaching new heights.



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