A few months ago I decided to train to run a 5k. I don’t think I have ever run outside of gym class or softball practice (so, since high school), so I honestly didn’t know if this was something I could do. I have two long-ago injured knees and many extra pounds on my body and I am not in good shape. But I always admire runners and it seems like such an easy thing to do for exercise: you don’t need any equipment (other than decent shoes), it can be done anywhere and anytime, it’s great for cardiovascular health, and so on. I had heard about the Couch to 5k program and I decided to give it a shot.
I started the program – 9 weeks of graduated running/walking intervals – in late July. Shortly thereafter I mentioned it to my friend Amy, and she had done the program once before, and we decided to train together. Amy and I both benefit greatly from having a partner in our exercising. It’s great motivation to have someone else to be accountable to, plus we enjoyed spending 30-45 minutes together a couple of times a week to chat and catch up with each other. We signed up for the local Race for the Cure 5k (which was today) partly because it was a good cause to support and partly because the timing was right for our training schedule.
We followed the program and made it most of the way through week 5 (where our running intervals were 8 minutes with 5 minutes of walking in between) and then I hurt my back. I was diagnosed with a muscle tear and told to completely restrict my activity other than what was necessary for everyday life. I have been easing myself back into the program over the past couple of weeks. But we ran out of time to complete the training.
I’m sorry to say that we didn’t even go to the event this morning. We had planned on going, knowing that we would need to do our run/walk intervals as we hadn’t completed our training, but the weather was outright horrible. Today it is about 45 degrees and it rained all morning. So, we bailed. I feel sort of bad about this, but then again, we didn’t want to be out in the weather for an event we knew we couldn’t accomplish. And we were both willing to forfeit our registration fees to the good cause of supporting breast cancer research.
Instead of just sitting at home today, though, we went to the gym together this morning. So that was good. We have decided to continue our joint workout routines this fall/winter by meeting once on the weekend and once during the week. When it’s nice out, we’ll hit the track and do some of the run/walk intervals. We’re checking out some group fitness classes at the gym, but we can also simply go and use the machines together. It’s great motivation for both of us, so it works out well. We’re going to pick up the 5k training again in the spring and find a race to sign up for in May or so.
I hope to make it to the gym at least one more time each week to swim, and I’d also like to try some yoga. I will be really happy if I get to the point where I am exercising 4 times a week. It seems doable, but then again, I’ve been here before and it’s so easy to make excuses. One thing I need to do is work on exercising in the mornings, especially on days when I know I’ll be working late (I typically work about 2 evenings a week in addition to my business days since many of my clients are volunteer-run nonprofits and that’s when they tend to meet). On those days it would be easy for me to simply go in to work late and then I wouldn’t even have to get up earlier (and that’s my number one excuse – that I don’t want to get up earlier). Whatever I do, I’m glad to have a training partner to keep me honest and motivated!