Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Posts tagged 'couch to 5k'

Thoughts on C25K

In training for the 5k, I did what many people who haven’t exercised at all have done- turned to Couch to 5k to help me do it.

I followed the routine fairly religiously. I started off by walking a mile for a couple of weeks, and then started the program. But no matter what I did, I hit a wall at Week 3 Day 2. I just couldn’t finish it.

Would I recommend it? It’s a good system that I know others have had some success with, but it just wasn’t for me. I do think it’s worth giving it a shot.

Just make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time before your first race, so that you can repeat days if you hit a wall.

Find a community so that you have support from people trying it out (I didn’t).

And don’t be afraid to look for other options if you aren’t liking it.

C25K Week Two Redux.

I had another long weird week where I didn’t get much running in. So today I went, and as I haven’t been able to complete Week Three Day One yet… I thought doing Week Two Day Three was a good way to ease into it.

Week Three has a five minute warm up and 90 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, three minutes of running, and three minutes of walking. It repeats again, and then ends with a cool down walk. I… just can’t do it. Not yet. I get into the two minutes of running and find myself having to stop.

But Week Two has the warm up, and alternates between 90 seconds of running and two minutes of walking. It was a little easier, and wouldn’t you know it- even after almost a week away from running, I went further than I have in awhile.

I ran 1.34 miles, and had an average pace of 14:09 min/mile. I ran wearing my running pants for the first time, with a jacket.. and boy did it feel good!

Though I admit, I have one reason why I might have been speedier than I expected. I decided to run at 6 o’clock and got out the door in 10 minutes. Which meant that with my half hour workout, I was actually trying to beat the setting sun- there aren’t any lights along the trail, and I’d forgotten to bring a flashlight. Turns out that’s a pretty good motivator.

I think that this week I’m going to run every other day, and get back up to speed- so to speak.

Anyone else doing Couch to 5k? I’d love to hear how you’re doing!

Nothing much to say.

I know. I don’t have much to say? It’s shocking.

It’s been a long hot crazy week and I’m drained. I had a flare up last week, and the cramps went on and off for the last five days. As in, it would skip a day and then bother me the next. This was in no doubt exacerbated by stress.

TheBoy had been working a lot of hours and slept most of the weekend (which he definitely needed), so it was me and the boys. Whom I love, and they did spent a lot of time in their grandparent’s room- but my brain never really left Mom mode.

I didn’t run very much. I did complete Week Two Day Three- it was my first early morning run, and a run done when it was just under 60 degrees. And I was a lot slower. My average pace was around 16 minutes because I was freezing. I think if I’d been running for more than my 1.3 miles, I would have started sweating and warmed up- I just never hit that point.

At some point in time I will have to start training in the morning, as the 5k run will be early morning.

I discovered that I need to buy new bras. Apparently all that running has made my breasts go down a cup size. Don’t cry for my breasts, Argentina- being the size that I’ve been at the last few years has been a bit of a fluke. Most of the time I’m right at the A/B border, which is back where I am.

School has been going well for the boys. The Oldest Kidlet is on top of his homework, and the Little Kidlet is blowing everyone away by how quickly he’s picking up writing. His name already looks better than anyone else in the class, and he’d never really written before September.

Mostly though, I just need for fall weather to start. Something about this constant heat just makes me want to hibernate.

How are you, internet?

C25K: Week Two Day Two

Week Two, Day Two

A five minute warm-up walk, followed by the following intervals: 6 jogging for 90 seconds, 5 intervals of brisk walking for 2 minutes each. The program that I use gives me a five minute cool down as well.

After the run on the treadmill, I was pretty eager to see how I’d do outside. So on Monday (yikes- I didn’t mean to fall behind on these recaps!) I put on my gear, told my mother-in-law to watch my kids and went out the door.

It was a warm day, but not as hot as it has been. By that, I mean it was 88. That should tell you a little about the kind of summer and fall we’re having if I’m only describing it as warm.

My first interval of running was a little slower than I usually start. So I made up my mind to make sure that my walking pace would be pretty quick- and I stuck with that for the walking. Then I found a nice running pace where I could hum along to my music and I just kept going.

Before I even knew it, I crossed over the bridge.

The running trail I go on used to be a railway track. It crosses over one of the major streets near us, and that’s about the halfway point of my run. I used to run right up to the bridge and be informed I was halfway. One day I ran over the bridge. That day I actually made it over the bridge and all the way down to where the dirt trail they put in for walking/running started again.

And I plowed through the rest of the run. The fact that it was hot didn’t matter. I’d gotten so far that I was determined to demolish the rest of the run- and I did. The running interval right after I hit halfway was my fastest yet.

I know I whined in the beginning of C5K about hearing the statistics at the end of each interval- but now that I’ve gotten a feel for the intervals and now that I better understand how my body tells me I’m pushing myself too hard, I’ve been using them to help me feel out comfortable paces.

The stats:
Distance: 1.47 miles in 19 minutes
Average Pace: 12:54

Couch to 5k: Week Two Day One

If you’re following along, the disastrous run was last Tuesday. I gave myself a few days to avoid running with cramps again, and this run happened on Friday. As it was still 100 degrees out (Fall can arrive any time now), I decided to take advantage of the in-laws being out of the house to use their treadmill.

It was only my second time on the treadmill, and this was going to be the first time I would be doing intervals.

On my program, I turned off the GPS tracking, since it wouldn’t work on the treadmill. Then I got my water, my phone (so that I could listen to the intervals) and got going!

Since it starts with a 5 minute warmup, I had some time to figure out speed setting was a good slow walk, and what would make a quick walk. From there, I played with the setting as soon as it asked me to run- moving up the speed in increments of .1 (since that’s how ours handles it. There are several buttons that are shortcuts to speed settings, but you can adjust between them in increments). On the NordicTrack, it turned out that a brisk walk was setting 3 (a 20 min mile pace) and a good run was 4 (a 15 min mile pace).

While those are slower paces than I usually run at, Week Two changes up the program. Plus, I’m used to running on a fairly flat trail- the treadmill is at a slight incline even at its lowest setting.

Week Two, Day One

A five minute warm-up walk, followed by the following intervals: 6 jogging for 90 seconds, 5 intervals of brisk walking for 2 minutes each. The program that I use gives me a five minute cool down as well.

Since I didn’t have GPS to tell me how far I ran (they tell you to turn it off in Run Double’s settings), I had to keep track of the treadmill’s settings. I ran about 1.22 miles, which is a little less than I run outside- but considering it was all uphill, I’ll take it.

So what did I think of running on the treadmill?

It wasn’t 100 degrees where I was running, which was a bonus. Of course, running the entire thing on an incline threw off my groove. Running on a treadmill also meant that my kids have the chance to barge in- which I didn’t like. I managed to kick them out of the room and quickly hop off to lock the door.

Also frustratingly, I had nothing to focus on besides the numbers and no vague idea where I was in the course of my run to help me pace myself. Even with the TV on, it was impossible not to stare at the readouts of how far I ran, how long I ran and how many calories I would have burned if I were my mother-in-law (I didn’t change that).

The more I run on the treadmill, the more I realize that I really don’t like running on treadmills. I guess I like being able to see my progress based on where I am, not on a screen.

Your thoughts? Am I crazy? Do you love the treadmill? I’d love to hear from you!

Couch to 5k: Week One Day Three

If you’ve noticed, there was quite a gap between days two and three. I went to Comikaze over the weekend, and something about walking for hours and carrying the hammer and a bag filled with snacks & my electronic stuff made me not want to go for a run.

The next day I walked around Disneyland for a few hours, too. Monday- by the time I remembered running, it was already dark outside.

So on Tuesday, I was pretty committed to doing this, despite having some fairly bad cramps. We’re all adults right? I had two kids, you know I’m a woman, so the fact that I have a period shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. For the record when I say fairly bad cramps, I mean aches and intermittent stabbing pains.

I suited up anyways and started going. I did the first half of my run without a problem, and shortly after the halfway point, the stabbing pain (which had vanished while I exercised) came back with a vengeance and felt like there was a symphony of knives stabbing me (yes, it was that bad). So I walked the rest of the way.

Average pace: 16:32 min/mile. I made it a little over a mile, distance-wise.

The “cool down” walk was done extremely slowly, and I swear, never before had the street seemed so far. I thought about calling for a pick up a few times, and when I was walking up to the house- my husband was coming out with his keys, off to make sure I was okay. He had been extremely worried about me.

I drank my gatorade, had a little bit to eat- and was sent off to my bed with a heating pad.

Thankfully, that was the worst of my cramps and everything felt better later on. So there you have it- if you were waiting for some misery, there it is. I still haven’t started week two, but I plan on doing that this weekend, and getting back into a regular schedule.

Couch to 5k: Week One Day One.

After putting it off for awhile, I finally attempted Day One again.

Couch to 5k is an interval training program designed to get you in shape to run a 5k, even if you’ve never run before. When I first tried it, I hit a wall. So I started by trying to walk a mile, and now I’ve been running and walking semi-regularly.

The last couple of days, life got in my way and I didn’t get to go for a run. I’m not much of a morning person (especially after the late nights I’ve been pulling writing) so running in the morning is out- not to mention I have two kids to get ready for school.

And running in the afternoon only works when TheBoy is there to watch the kids- and he was sick.

Week One, Day One

A five minute warm-up walk, followed by the following intervals: 9 jogging for 60 seconds, 8 intervals of brisk walking for 90 second each. The program that I use tells me when I’m halfway through the time so that I can turn around, and gives me a five minute cool down as well.

So how did I do? As it turns out, this is a more structured version of my usual run- about another five minutes of running than my mile. Because the app I use announces my average pace at each interval, I noticed I ran harder than I usually do, just to get the time down. Which meant that my walking intervals weren’t very brisk. So I’m not sure that actually helped much.

In the end, it was about 1.22 miles, and obviously the distance depends on my pace. But I survived! I’ll be doing Day Two on Monday (and probably going for a mile run tomorrow)

For those of you here for the schadenfreude, I’m sure I’ll be crying around Week 3.

Well hello September!

I sort of forgot that yesterday was Monday. Sometimes I just see the world as weekend and then Monday. So three day weekends throw me off.

We went to a family party on Saturday, at my grandmother-in-laws house. I had a nice time. The weather was cooler than it’s been, and not very humid at all. A neighbor of hers was having a party with a mariachi band- the serenading kind, not the loud obnoxious kind.

Other than not being able to blink after looking at this picture, you have to admit it’s a relaxing garden, isn’t it?

So we sat out on the patio in somewhat mild weather and enjoyed the music.

Sunday we ran some errands, including buying TheBoy new running shoes. If you’re in the LA area, the store that we go to Legacy Running has two locations- Long Beach and Whittier. They have a great knowledgable staff.

All in all, it was a nice and relaxing weekend.

We tried out TheBoy’s new running shoes yesterday, setting out for my 1 mile run. I know I haven’t really started Couch to 5k yet, but after hearing people freak out about getting hung up on the first week, I sort of became obsessed with making sure I wouldn’t fail.

With TheBoy, I find that I do better. Case in point, on Monday I ran 14:46 with him. My average pace has been about 16:23. Why? When I run with him, I’m not running against myself.

I know, a lot of people advised me not to compare myself to other people. And I’m not. I know that these runs with me are a piece of cake for TheBoy. Yesterday and today he actually went on his 3-4 mile runs before going on the mile with me. So I tend to push myself a little more because I know he’s holding back.

But what I mean is that when I’m running by myself, the only person I am running with is me. I’m in my head, and boy can I be a bitch. Without me worrying about my pace, and every run I haven’t gone on yet- I can just focus on my stance, how I feel and trying to show off for my husband.

Today we went together as well. It wasn’t as fast- only 14:49, but at least I know that Monday’s score wasn’t a fluke. In face, I was surprised it was that fast. I know I walked a fair amount of it and whined about the heat. But I guess when I was running, I ran for longer stretches with longer strides. Who knew?

TheBoy admitted that he didn’t think I was going to take to running this well, or be this determined. I am the sort of person who gives up when it gets hard. But when upfront you plunk down a non-refundable fee to do a 5k, there’s a fair amount of motivation. And now that I’m doing it, I’m not going to let anything stop me.

I have a lot of things to write about this week. Fair warning!

I have shoes!

Running shoes, that is. This weekend we went to a local running store (not a general sporting goods place) where there was someone who could watch me walk and figure out what sort of shoe I need.

I now have a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12. And boy, it feels like a complete 180 from what I’d been running in.

TheBoy came along with me on my run today, which was nice. I’m not used to actually having someone to talk to, and when we got to the final stretch of me walk/run, he pushed me to run it. And I did!

16:45. Considering that I took a week off from running because of my being sick, the heat and then my ankle- I’m pretty darn proud of that time for my mile.

Yes, I do plan on starting Couch to 5k. That’s on the slate for this upcoming week. I anticipate a lot of whining.

If you’re into misery, well, then you’ll probably be in luck.

Oh the agony!

At the end of November last year, I was hospitalized after I had a very low hemoglobin count and mentioned a few things: occasional fevers, painful stomach cramps and weight loss. Actually, I was hospitalized for a blood transfusion (I was VERY low on iron), but they vowed to get to the bottom of the fever issue.

While I (nearly) have a diagnosis- it’s either Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease (we’re just too early to tell which, apparently), I am now faced with a pretty significant recovery. I’d been steadily losing weight over a year, which included a lot of muscle tone- which I didn’t have much of to begin with.

Workout videos haven’t been much help- I get bored of them easily. And a gym membership isn’t exactly high up on my list of ways I want to spend our money. So I decided to try something drastic.


I am not a runner. My memories of P.E. and having to do the mile run for the Presidential Fitness Test make me cringe. I remember sobbing at home because I was one of the last girls to complete the mile, and I was in so much pain afterwards.

I married a runner. Seriously. TheBoy started running in high school when he joined the cross country team, and he’s been running regularly since then.

But a 5k run seemed like the sort of kick in the ass I needed to get in gear, so I registered TheBoy and I for the Neverland 5k run (part of the Tinkerbell weekend) in January. I downloaded an app that would help me do the Couch to 5k program, and I’ve started walking to sort of prepare myself.

I know, this is supposed to be doable by someone who hasn’t worked out at all- but I’m sure they have some muscle tone. Most of mine vanished.

I was doing well with walking regularly, right up until this heat wave hit. I’m not much of a morning person anymore, and anything after 8am is downright horrible to exercise in.

So yesterday morning, when I came downstairs, TheBoy informed me that he went for his run, so it was time for me to tackle Day One of Couch to 5k. I got my phone ready (the app plays music and tells me the intervals for walking/running) and headed out with my bottle of water. The five minute warm up walk was great! Then I started doing intervals. And halfway around the block (I discovered that two laps around the block is a mile) I stopped being able to breathe.

I slowed my pace, forcing myself to breathe through my nose, but it all kept coming out in gasps. As I neared our house, I could see TheBoy waving to me. Then I could see the kidlets waiting on the porch to cheer me on. And I just couldn’t even try to run past them.

So I sat down on the driveway, struggling to breathe. The kidlets went inside and TheBoy listened to me blubber about not being able to breathe and being in pain. He got me breathing slowly again and told me that maybe I needed to focus on walking before running. I was sitting there, ready to give up because I felt like I was drowning from the breathing problems, and apparently I’d bruised my knee and hadn’t noticed.

He told me to walk around the block and then call it a day. When I got home, I felt defeated (though I did have an idea about part of the plot of my book). And he reminded me that it wasn’t easy for him in the beginning, but that I’d picked a race that gave me enough time to do some pre-training. That I shouldn’t give up.

He’s a great coach. He shoves me out the door when I try to say I don’t feel like it (though he did accept that I am worthless when it’s over 90 degrees, so he didn’t try this week), and knew just how to keep me going.

I am going to blog about this, so if you’re doing Couch to 5k, or just want to laugh at my misery… feel free to follow along.

My set up:
To hold my phone, I have the Amphipod Micropack SmartView- it clamps onto my waistband and has a slot for ID!
I carry this water bottle by Amphipod. It’s light and has been worth every penny I paid for it!

RunDouble Couch to 5k (an Android app)

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