(*On a very, very small scale.)
So, as you may or may not know, I need to get into good enough shape to be able hike 2-3 miles a day, for ten days, at 8000 feet elevation, and I need to do it by the end of May. I decided the solution to this problem was to begin a Couch-to-5k program. I have never had an interest in running; I think it’s bad for your knees and other joints and I think there are other ways to keep yourself in shape. However, I am looking for a set program that will raise my endurance level in a relatively short amount of time, and which also requires no extra equipment and fits into my schedule. It seemed like this program would yield the results I was looking for.
The program involves a walk/run routine. On Day 1 you do a 5-minute warmup walk, followed by alternating running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds, for a total of thirty minutes. I knew, going in, that I was way out of shape and that I likely wouldn’t be able to finish the Day 1 program right away. I made some deals with myself before I even started. Firstly, I told myself I would do as much as I could and then stop, and not beat myself up about it. Then I would just keep repeating Day 1 until I was able to finish it all – even if it took weeks. Secondly, I decided that my goal each week would be merely to show some improvement – even if it was only running 15 seconds of a leg I hadn’t reached before. As long as I added just a little more each week, I decided, I’d consider it a victory and be pleased with myself.
I’m now happy to report that the program and the mindset are working well for me. On the very first day, I only ran on three legs and didn’t finish any of them. I pulled up 5-10 seconds short on all three. This morning? I ran six legs – ALL of six legs. And when I looked at the app after I’d gotten back to the car, I realized – there are only eight running legs on Day 1! Having never sat and done the math, I had it in my head that there would be ten or twelve or something. But I am almost able to finish it!
I am amazed and pretty proud of myself. Yes, I know people who run miles and miles just about every day. Compared to that, this is peanuts. Maybe less than peanuts. Maybe only peanut shells. But I have, number one, stuck with the program for several weeks now; number two, continued to improve my endurance every single week; and, number three, gone from being a complete couch potato to now almost enjoying exercising. I say “almost” because I actually still hate it while I’m doing it, and have to keep up a constant litany of pep talk to prevent myself from wussing out. But as soon as I am done, I quickly forget how much it sucked and kind of start looking forward to doing it again. And, just as importantly, I feel proud of myself when I’m done. Today I may have actually fist pumped when I finished that sixth leg (I had started the routine telling myself I’d just do five). I am accomplishing something, and I’m seeing positive results from it. It’s pretty awesome. I never thought I could get into good shape. Now I know I can.