C25K 1:1 – Color Me Surprised; Secrets to Success

Today was my very first workout in the Couch-to-5K program, which entails:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Even this morning as I was walking out of the locker room and into the gym, I was thinking, I can’t do this. I figured that couch-to-5K is one thing … but overweight, extremely out-of-shape couch potato is another. And that would be me. I hopped on the treadmill anticipating failure, and assuming I’d have to do a “remedial” C25K to even build up to being able to do the week 1 workout.

Imagine my shock when, 30 minutes later, I finished my cool-down walk feeling great. I followed the program to the letter. I ran all the time I was supposed to run, and walked only when it was allowed. In other words, I did it. Without sounding too arrogant … I’m proud of myself.

This cute little panel on the treadmill was my best friend today. It has buttons for Walk (2 MPH), Jog (4 MPH) and Run (6 MPH). So instead of having to adjust the speed with the up/down arrow, I could hit one button and jump to the speed I was looking for. The jogging pace (4 MPH) was perfect for me right now. The walking pace was too slow, so I’d hit that button and then turn it up between 2.5-3 MPH.

I’ll let you in on two secrets that I think really helped me out…

ONE: The C25K App for iPhone (or iPod Touch).

This little app is fan-damn-tastic! You load up your favorite music playlist, pick the week/workout you’re on, and hit start. Your music starts and you’re off … the app keeps your time, letting you know where you’re at in the workout. A voiceover and a “ting”-sound let you know when to switch from walking to running. The best part? You can glance down at any time and see how many more seconds you have to run before you can walk again … which helps keep you motivated to run those 5 more seconds even if you think you need to quit. When you’re done you can record info about your run and even share it on Twitter or Facebook. Really, really cool. (Kudos to this app developer!)

TWO: Running Cadences.

I will be the first person to admit how cheesy this sounds. But trust me here. I was on Amazon.com looking for iPhone armbands for running and stumbled upon someones “Listmania” recommendations where they suggested loading up your iPod with military running cadences for inspiration. So I downloaded this one and tried it out today.

I felt stupid. I double- and triple-checked that no one could hear my music. ‘Cause a fat girl running to cadence is pretty damn laughable, ya know? But you know what else? It worked fabulously. At 4 MPH, it kept me moving on pace perfectly.

Tuesday is going to be my next workout. I think next time I’m going swimming afterward too (I wanted to today, but didn’t have my swimsuit with me). Could it be? Might I become a gym-rat? Ha ha. Too early to tell.

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