Monday, March 15, 2010

Couch to 5K - 1 week in

Last week I stumbled across a fantastic iPhone app called Couch to 5k in the search for an interval training podcast or app. For $2.99 you can't beat it!

To give you a little background, I am not a runner. Never have been and never thought I would be. I was more interested in art and partying than anything athletic through high school and college and was also a smoker. I quit smoking about a year ago and feel amazing! Almost every day I go through life without even thinking about cigarettes - only triggered by other people smoking. My immediate reaction is "Blech! I am so glad I quit!" I can't even picture myself as a smoker since not smoking comes so naturally. Even after a year, I still suffer from shortness of breath. The only way to fix that is to get active and get this body in shape!

Enter "Couch to 5k." A 9 week training program set out to get you from couch potato to running a 5k non-stop using a graduated interval method done 3 days a week. It will be perfect timing for our trip to England - hopefully along this quest to a healthier me I will trim down as well! I'm 5'5" and fluctuate between 145 and 150 - not overweight by technical definitions but I bit more weight than I would like to be carrying around.

Week one...warmup 5 min, run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds, cool down 5 time 30 min

March 9th = W1D1 Got home from work around 6, changed and hit the road not far after. Recently I moved to downtown Scottsdale so this is also a fun opportunity for me to explore my new neighborhood. Considering my OCD planning behavior I have decided to just run aimlessly, making turns as the moment inspires me. Wandered through the neighborhood and then into downtown, passing a few of my favorite spots. Note to self: running past restaurants, bars and clubs equals great motivation!

March 12th = W1D2 The program suggests running every other day but I worked until 8:30 on Thursday so day two had to wait until Friday. It was a little nicer out this day so I was able to wear shorts and a tee. Took a lap around the other way, going through the park this time. I noticed a shortcut to the backside of a nice little community of houses I wanted to snoop on so I cut left off the trail and through a marsh. 5 strides in my logic kicked in and I realized I could have a run in with a rattlesnake or two. What was I thinking! This is the moment where my adrenalin spiked and amazingly my fatigue vanished. I sprinted knees up across that marsh, even after the guy told me to start walking! Forget that, I'm gettin outta here! lol Lesson of the day: it's all in my head. Now, let's see if I can maintain this as a mantra...
Returned home this day with Simon and his mom having a drink on the patio. Well, it is Friday evening... Why not! ;)

March 13th = W1D3 Didn't skip a day this time and went out Saturday morning, this time bringing Simon along. Simon grew up in England and, as expected, played "football" as a kid and in high school. So of course, he is a natural runner and still has great endurance, even if he is a bit out of shape right now. I loved being able to go out and do this with him. Not only did I get some great one on one time with him but I was also able to learn, too. Watching him in is graceful springy stride was motivating. Lesson of the day: learn proper technique!

How I felt:
HEAVY! Out of breath and fatigued. I had a quick recovery between intervals thankfully! It seemed as if I was ready to quit right when the app told me to start walking.

What's on my mind:
Get new shoes? Mine are comfy but they're cross trainers
How's my technique? I asked Simon how I looked - was I awkward or sloppy? Any advice? He said I look great except the way I plant my feet is different than he does. He puts heel first and springs up from his toe while I land on the ball of my feet. Maybe this is why i'm feeling so fatigued! Was doing some research and found an article that says otherwise. It directed me to what is called the Pose Method that argues the tried method of heel first claiming that it gives too much impact while ball of the foot first allows the runner to spring forward. I'm going to try heel first next time and play around with what feels best.

Looking forward to week two - longer stints of running and walking, but still keeping the same ratio of 1:2 respectively. Wish me luck!

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