When I started running I didn’t know a thing about what I was doing. All I knew was that I wanted to run so I laced up the sneakers I had in my closet and went for a very short 2 block run. From there I slowly increased my distance, literally by adding a hundred feet or so to my last longest run. Once I reached a mile, I started increasing my distance each run by about a ¼ mile until I reached 3 miles. It took several months and at times I felt lost. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing and I didn’t have a goal.
I eventually wised up a little and decided to sign up for a 5K race. I figured that if so many people ran 5Ks I should check it out. I loved that first 5K and was hooked. I think that’s probably when I really became addicted to running, but I didn’t realize that until well over a year later.
After that first 5K I kept increasing my distance, little by little, still not really knowing what the heck I was doing. I soon hit a plateau though. I couldn’t seem to push myself past 5 miles. To solve this problem, I signed up for a 10K. Never having run more than 5 miles in my life, I blew through my plateau and ran 6.2 miles. Who would have thought I could do that?
It was soon after that race that I officially committed to running the NYC marathon even though I still knew next to nothing about distance running. I had managed to buy good running sneakers by then, but that was pretty much it.
It was after I’d committed to the marathon that I learned about training plans and run-walk. I was amazed by this whole new world of experts who mapped out exactly how far and how often you had to run to reach your race day goal. Who knew? (Yes, I know the entire world knew all about training plans, but it was all new to me.)
It wasn’t until after my first marathon that I learned about Couch to 5K (C25K) programs and apps. If you’ve been a runner for any length of time, you probably know all about C25K programs, but if you’re a real newbie like I was, here’s the gist. These apps for your smartphone (or mp3 player in some cases) take you from day one, sitting on your couch, through training for a 5K in 8 weeks or so. The app helps you start your running journey by walking most of your route at the beginning and then slowly increasing the amount you run until you can run 3.1 miles. It magically guides you through the process of becoming a runner. Hallelujah! I wish I’d done a Google search on running and learned a little before launching my running journey. I’m sure it would have made my life easier.
So I’ve never actually used a C25K program since I didn’t know they existed, but I now have plenty of friends and acquaintances who have. If you’re just getting started running or you’ve been thinking about starting, here are two C25K programs to check out. Again, I haven’t used them so I can’t attest to how great they are myself.
First is Jeff Galloway’s app. I love Jeff Galloway and his run-walk method. I’ve used his marathon training plan twice and have read several of his books. I am sure his C25K app is superb. It’s only $3.99 on iTunes so that’s not a big investment either.
If you are a new runner and your aim is to run a 5K then be smarter than I was and get yourself a C25K program. It will make your life and running much easier!
Have you used one of these C25K programs? Have you used a different one? Let me know what worked well for you.