Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Couch to 5K: Week 1

I restarted Couch to 5K last Friday. This will be my fourth attempt since I usually ditch the plan after Week 4 or 5, thinking I can do it on my own. Which is true, I probably could, but I think the C25K plan is one of the best training plans I've seen. And since I'm still struggling to make it past 1 mile, I really want to see this to completion.

On Friday, I made the decision to just run. My plan was to run 3/4ths of a mile, walk to the 1-mile marker, and then run the 2nd mile. That didn't happen. Instead, I made it a little past 1/2 a mile before stopping. My legs were on fire. And I was really disappointed in myself, thinking running was "not for me" and a stupid decision. Then I thought of C25K and how it really eases you into the running game. I'm going to make it work this time.

I think my mind is getting warped by all the marathon posts I've been reading. Folks, one mile is a long way to run. That's 1,760 yards. Twelve whole minutes of running. (Well, more if you're like me.) While I may not be running a marathon, or even a 10K, in the near future, I need to focus more on the process.

The C25K plan has you running 3 days a week, doing the same interval pattern on these days. It ups the intensity each week. For Week 1, I started with a 5-minute warm-up and then began the intervals of jogging for 60 seconds, then walking for 90 seconds, for 20 minutes. The program ends with a 5-minute cool-down. This would usually take me 1 and 3/4 miles, and I would walk an extra 1.25 miles to round my miles out to 3.

Friday, my run went so smooth. I felt great, my pace was awesome, and I really felt like I was making a great decision to restart this program. (I also went for the run at 6pm.) On Saturday, I went to the park around noon and struggled a little bit more this time. It was a lot hotter and I had only eaten breakfast at that point, which I think had something to do with it. Tuesday was my last day on Week 1. I ran at 6pm and it was cool. I felt a cool breeze while I was running! It felt great, although I dealt with weird pain at the top of my right foot which made it harder. While it didn't hurt while I was running, it was awful pain when I started walking.

For the first 2 weeks, I'll be following the C25K app I have on my iTouch and then using the plan I found on Cool Running to run for distance, instead of time. The app only does time. My mom and I have been running at a park about a half hour away, because it's safe and the trail is marked perfectly. It's a 1-mile or 2-mile trail with markers for every quarter-mile. I've yet to find a better trail in my city.

I've been disappointed with my shoes thus far. I am still dealing with arch pain, although it's not as intense as before. And I'm once again dealing with shin splints. Again, they aren't as painful and I'm usually fine once I stop running. And on Tuesday, I began experiencing pain on the top of my right foot up to my ankle. I tightened my shoes, hoping it would help which it somewhat did. My only problem with keeping my shoes tight is that it makes my feet go numb, which I'm guessing isn't a good thing. I'm not sure how much longer I should give them before returning them for another pair. These shoes (with custom insoles) cost me over $200, so I kind of want them to be gold on my feet. The fact that I'm still experiencing a whole lot of pain is starting to annoy me.

How did you get started with running? Have you ever used Couch to 5K?


  1. I really like the C25K program. It's doable and I know a lot of people who've succeeded with it. I've started it twice this year only to be interrupted by moves (once to North Dakota and once to Germany). Still, I think it's a great program. I used the time focus and found that if I eased into it, that helped with not having any undue pain.

    Do you do any stretches during your run? I always try to do a warm-up walk and then stretch before starting my actual run. Another way to help alleviate shin splints is the massage roller: My sister has one of these and she swears by it. You can find some here:

    Good luck!

  2. I'm doing the same program to. Figured I need to back track and start over. My shin has been killing me! This seems to help a little. I wonder if you try a different lacing technique this well help with your foot pain? When I was fitted for my shoes, the gentleman said he used a different technique (box?) to lace his. Hope it gets better soon!

  3. I haven't used Couch to 5k, but after I run my 5k on October 16th, I might try it. I've only been training for five weeks, and my running has been sort of up and down, so I'd like to see some progress if I do the C25K. I'm actually going to attempt two miles today. I've only ran two miles once before, and after taking a week off from running, I almost felt like I was starting back at square one this week. I've made my way up to almost 1.5 miles, so I'm pushing myself a little further each day.

    I started running a different route on the sidewalk next to the highway near my house. (I usually run at the park on the asphalt path, but it's sort of secluded so I only run there if Husband goes with me--the highway is much less secluded.) After each run on the sidewalk, I was having HORRIBLE leg pains, and I was thinking maybe my Nike Frees weren't the shoes for me. Yesterday, though, I ran at the park on asphalt, and my legs felt SO MUCH better. I think the concrete of the sidewalk is what was causing them to hurt. (Likewise, my husband doesn't like running on hard surfaces because it hurts his knees. He prefers trail running, which is something I'm much too clumsy for right now!)

    I wouldn't take the shoes back quite yet. With these new shoes, you're using muscles that weren't used in your old shoes, so your feet are getting used to running correctly. I'd say to give it another week, and if you're still having problems, go back to the store and talk to someone to see what they have to say about it. You may even want to go to a doctor/specialist (if you have insurance) about it to find out if there's anything they can tell you. It really might come down to doing different stretches for your feet and ankles before each run.

  4. That is such a bummer about your shoes, Brooks are supposed to be soo good. Maybe your body is still getting used to running, you know? I think it takes a few weeks to feel comfortable doing it. Even when I don't run for a week i still feel like I need a couple runs to get back in to it! And you can do it! You just have to persevere and not make excuses for not going! (my biggest struggle, haha)

  5. Go back and tell them what's going on and maybe they can help you. Maybe your body isn't used to the running motion yet so that's why it's in pain. Girl, do what you gotta do and don't focus on what everyone else is doing. We all had to start somewhere, I know I sure didn't just train and run a marathon over night!

  6. Return them! Return them now. You should not be experiencing ANY pain from your shoes - especially when they are new!!

  7. I hear you on feeling the pressure from all these running posts around the blogosphere lately - they've been great for motivating me to run (I've been doing it every other day for the last two weeks!) but also I feel frustrated because I can barely make it past the 1 mile mark either. Although I was talking to my army friend on Sunday night and he's halfway through his training course, and hearing him talk about being pushed to the absolute limit, doing physical activity pretty much 8 hours a day... put me to shame. So last night on the treadmill I thought if he can do that, I can push through my exhaustion for a couple of minutes longer just to get another half mile. It felt like it was going to kill me but I figure if I can keep doing that, trying to add .25 or .5 miles every few times, I'll eventually get there. With more practice, I'll slow down the speed and power walk less often and run more. These things aren't easy at the beginning, but when is anything worth doing easy? :)

    I hope you feel better soon though - I agree with Amber, you need to take those shoes back!!

  8. Oh gosh! I am so bummed the shoes are not working out. After all of that?

    I used a similar program to C25K - Fitness mag 6 Weeks to a 5K. It is set up similarly, and totally eases you in to running. You are right that you need to focus on the process! Running is no joke! Take all the time you need! I redid this program a few times!

    I am happy to hear the end of the week got a little better for you, running wise :)

    (Oh, and PS, although I am running a marathon this weekend, in the beginning of July, I could only run a mile, and barely, because of injury! Hang in there!)

  9. Good for you for trying C25K! I tried & gave up awhile ago - and I really want to get back into it. My $200 shoes aren't too comfy, either... :/

  10. That's so lame that the shoes aren't working out! You shouldn't be experiencing pain from your shoes- especially if Amber says return them, I vote return them!!

    Starting out is the hardest part of anything, the way that I look at it is someone who can easily run 5K trying to run their first is like a short story story writer writing their first novel, and someone who doesn't run at all trying to run 5K is more like someone learning english for the first time and trying to write their first novel.

    Which is a long way of saying, give yourself a lot of credit miss!! It's not easy! And at the same time, if you are really struggling it might just not be for you. Instead of running you could do cardio classes, biking, or swimming, or a hundred other things. There are lots of lower impact ways to get your heart rate up, so don't feel like this is your only option <3

  11. You know what? I'm with you on this. It's hard to not be envious or aspire to those who are doing serious marathons and etc. Take your time. Train the way you need to! Training plans are there for a reason. When I was training for my 10 mile race earlier this year I thought there was no way in the world I could pull it off. Before I knew it I was running 9 miles without stopping. So with practice, patience, some darn good running shoes + a great exercise mix, you can do it. I know you can =)

    (and if it makes you feel better I'm doubting my ability to run this 10k next week! I'm a little nervous about running it!)

  12. It's a great program - but it's HARD! I was about seven weeks in when I finally had to give it up because of my knee. It definitely gives you a sense of accomplishment though - and if you can have a buddy to do it with you? Even better.


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