While we’re off on vacay this week, I’ve invited some of my favorite bloggers to share a post while we’re off fist-pumping, throwing tables, GTLing, not pumping our own gas, and getting otherwise Jerseyfied. Today’s post is from Monica at C'est Law Vie, who I originally met through Weddingbee when we got married within a few weeks of each other. Mon and I also started Couch to 5k around the same time. Here's the story of how she took it and ran with it. Literally. Enjoy!
I ran 10 miles on Sunday. If you don’t know me, this may not seem like a big deal. But if you do know me, you’ll know that this is huge, because prior to 8 months ago, I couldn’t run for 5 minutes straight - let alone an entire mile. As the title of this post suggests, I quite literally went from Couch to 5K, then 10K, and now to training for my first half marathon. It’s been quite a journey, and I’m thankful to Meagan for asking me to share it with you. My experience has convinced me that if I can become a runner, anyone can - it just takes a bit of commitment (and a great pair of running shoes!).
Like many others, I started and stopped the Couch to 5K program several times before sticking with it. I finally stuck to it once I realized that those 15 pounds I’d been trying to lose for years were not going to lose themselves, and running seemed like the most efficient (and cheapest) way to lose them. Over the past seven months, I’ve not only lost most of that weight, but have also learned to love running in the process.
For my 5K training, I used the Run 5K App by Felt Tip, and I was pretty happy with it. There are multiple Couch to 5K type apps out there, and they all require you to run about 3 times per week. What ended up being key for me to stick with the program was to set designated running days in my calendar. I committed to running every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, no matter what. I am not a morning person by any means, but I realized the only way I would actually stick to it was to run in the mornings, between 6 and 7 am, when I wouldn’t have any meetings or commitments and life was less likely to get in the way. This was a challenge at first - especially because I had not consistently worked out since…ever - but I found that treating that 6-7 AM window as a sacred time that I wouldn’t miss for anything really helped.
Another thing that helped for me was to always lay out my running clothes/gear ahead of time. This way, I could roll out of bed and straight into my running clothes, and I wouldn’t lose precious time fumbling around looking for my stuff. Speaking of stuff, I found that investing in some great running shoes and cute workout clothes made exercise a lot more enjoyable.
Tracking my progress visually was another great motivator. I circled the days that I ran on my calendar at work, and pretty soon it started to look like this:
Seeing all the hard work I’d already put in motivated me to keep going. Additionally, I rewarded myself - for each full month of running 3+ times per week, I allowed myself one item of Lululemon (or other exercise) gear. I’ve been working out since January, and am amassing quite the collection.
Perhaps the most important thing I did to stick with my running program, however, was to make myself publicly accountable. My blog served as one form of accountability: Each month, I write a report sharing how I did on this and other resolutions. Signing up for real races was another key to accountability for me. There is no substitute for having something concrete to train towards.
I ran my first 5K on April 15, but I didn’t want to stop running after that, so I signed up for a 10K six weeks later. I used Bluefin Software's Bridgeto 10K app to train for that. Then on June 2, I ran my first 10K, obtaining a PR time of 51:13.
I am now training for my first half marathon, which is a little less than 3 weeks away. Though I still hate waking up early in the morning, I have grown to love running and wonder how I ever lived without it. Not bad for a former couch potato.
What are your tips and tricks for sticking to an exercise routine?