{Health} Training for a 5K

At the beginning of 2015, Mike and I made a ton of goals. Many of them were related to health and fitness. We wanted to start a running practice and compete in various runs, from 5k’s to half marathons. Months passed and nothing happened. Our goals languished in inactivity. Mind you, we were getting daily exercise (thank you FitBit and 10k step goals), but we were no closer to our race goals or running on a regular basis.

By the middle of the year, we decided we needed two things: a manageable training plan and a deadline.

The plan. Well finding and sticking to a plan was an issue for us. When we first started our running journey we had no plan. And of course we failed. We ran a few times and quit. Our “no program” training program was a huge fail.

Then, we decided to devise our own training program. Mike created a music playlist with songs of varying lengths. We would run a song and then walk a song. We managed to stick with this program for less than a week, a whole three runs.

Finally, we found a reputable program that also had an iPhone app that we could use. It’s called Couch to 5k and it very slowly eases non runners into running. The first few weeks we would run a minute and then walk a minute. By the end of eight weeks, we were running for 30 minute stretches. Every time we thought we knew better and considered deviating from the program, we reminded our selves that we had repeatedly failed when we tried to go it alone. Stick with the program became out mantra. And it worked. We finished the eight weeks and ready for a 5k. Since we already had some momentum, we went right into training for a 10k. We found another program to follow (10k Trainer Pro) and are about to head into our second week of 10k training (whoo hoo for us).

So the other key to our success was setting a deadline. For us, a deadline meant signing up for a race so we had a concrete goal to train for. Training to run without a specific goal in mind, like the Tucson Half Marathon, seemed doable when we set our initial fitness goals for 2015. But when it came down to it, we just kept pushing back our training or not doing it all because there was no sense of urgency. Once we signed up for a race, we had to get off our butts and work. With a deadline looming over us we had sufficient motivation to not just start a training program, but to finish it strong.

On Sunday, Mike and I will run our first race together, the Thin Mint Sprint (it benefits the Girls Scouts of Southern Arizona). We’re both a little nervous, but we’re ready. We did the work and it will (hopefully) pay off.

Next up: the Tucson Half Marathon in December.

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