Running for Fun and Fitness

I was never a runner.

Always the slowest, always out of breath, always “it” for the longest during tag. That is, until I ran for a mile for the first time without stopping to walk. That simple act of completion was all it took for me to have my mind completely blown. At that moment in my life, the bright and shiny world of running opened up its horizons right in front of me. I just knew I could be a runner.

I’m currently working through a program called “Couch to 5k” which is supposed to get me from being a couch potato to being able to run for 5k, or 3.1 miles in 9 weeks. My motivation? Running a really fun 5k race in May.

Since I’ve been training and running, I’ve noticed so many positive differences in my life. It sort of makes me wonder why more runners don’t try and convert everyone they meet into a runner, just based on the sheer enjoyment that I’ve found through doing it.

Some great things that I’ve noticed after running are:

  • Increased self-discipline¬†
    I’m currently near the end of Week 3 of the program, and I haven’t skipped a day’s workout. With the program, I’ve constantly pushed myself to do things I feel that my body’s not capable of, but I always pull through. In the end, I’m always glad I’ve done my running for the day.
  • Better posture
    Without that extra fat around my midsection, I don’t feel as if I need to hunch my back as much. Super win!
  • More stamina/endurance
    Okay. I’ll admit it. When I started the program, running for a full minute was hard. Now, I can comfortably run for three minutes and one minute seems like a warm up. (Yeah, okay, that’s still not GREAT, but I’m getting there!)
  • A more toned body
    In addition to running with the Couch25k Plan, I’ve also been exercising more in general and adding strength training and abs work into the mix. It’s funny how quickly I’ve noticed a serious difference in my body’s physique.
  • Better food choices
    I now consider every food I put into my body and ask myself “Will this food be good fuel for my run?” before I decide to consume it. This has helped me, over the past few weeks, to keep away from too much sugar, junk, or just anything that seems like it would slow me down and make me sluggish. Since my #1 goal is to be ready for the 5k in May, I’m not willing to throw away even one workout for fear that I’ll fall off schedule and not be able to complete my training. I think the worst thing would be for me to not keep this promise to myself of running a 5k.

Gear Choices

I’ve chosen to run with Nike’s barefoot running shoe, known as the ‘Free.’ This shoe allows for your toes and foot muscles to work more during your run, allowing you to develop the muscles in those often-neglected areas. It’s my belief that one should stay as close to barefoot or natural running as possible, and these shoes allow me to do just that while still allowing my feet to remain safely covered up.
I haven’t bought any new athletic clothes lately just because the shoes were such a big expense. My idea is to reward myself with a purchase of new athletic gear once I complete what seems to be the “turning point” or transition week, also known as Week #5 and 6.

Extra tips:

  • I asked a friend who’s completed the program before, and she told me that running inside on a track (what I tend to do) and running outside are very different. Her advice to me was that I practice doing outside runs once I become more comfortable. This is solid advice, and I can’t wait until the weather becomes a little more bearable outside. If it never does, I suppose I can always buy some athletic gear that will help me get through the chilliness of the outdoors!
  • Start as slowly as you need to, but don’t stop pushing yourself, because you’re capable of more than you think you are. In my experience, the only thing holding me back was the thought that I wasn’t able to run that far, or for that long, or that quickly. Of course you don’t want to burn yourself out, but make sure that you don’t let your routine stagnate. Keep your body guessing, and the benefits will be more toning in your body, and a better sense of accomplishment.


Do you run? If not, do you feel like running now?


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