How Couch-to-5K Made Me Love Working Out

Running is one of the last things I ever expected to be doing on a regular basis, but now, not only do I indeed run on a regular basis, but I LOVE running on a regular basis. How? The Couch-to-5K program!

I first learned  about C25K through PA Melissa and I was intrigued. It’s basically a program that slowly eases you into running, even if you’ve never run before. The most I ever really ran before this was in high school gym class, and believe me, it was not a pretty sight. I grew up taking dance lessons which was more like sprinting – short bursts of giving a routine all you possibly can, and then resting and doing it again x 50. I never had the endurance to just do something active non-stop for more than a few minutes. Finding the perfect workout in NYC had always eluded me whether due to timing, money or just fear, until November 2010, when I started the program.

Technically, it’s a nine-week program, but it took me about five months to really, really finish. Day one starts very slowly with alternating intervals of running (60 seconds) and walking (90 seconds) and each day you continue to build on that. You’re meant to run at least three days per week, leaving a rest day in between running days. At times, it was easier than I expected and at times, it was harder, but the sense of accomplishment each time I met a new goal was awesome and made the tough moments so worth it. Also, I highly suggest buying the Couch to 5K iPhone app. It gives you audio cues as to when to stop, start, run or walk and hearing “halfway” definitely always made me feel good.

I think there are a lot of people out there like me – never able to find the right workout or fit working out into their daily routine. I’m here to say, you can totally do it! Running to me always sounded both too boring and too hard, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be too hard if you start slowly, and it doesn’t have to be boring if you have the right playlist and new goals to strive for each day.

Since I’ve finished the program, I’m doing my best to stick with running three times a week and gradually getting my speed up. Believe it or not, I look FORWARD to working out now. And you know what? Regular exercise does everything that they say it will: I sleep better, I have way more energy, I’m in a better mood, I feel more confident. It even helps me breathe better through my seasonal allergies. And though I don’t think I’m going to put Gisele out of a job anytime soon, I’ve lost 10 pounds (trust me, it’s NOT through dieting). The moral of the story is that if I can do it, you can do it. And doing it rules.

Check out the full details of the program at Cool Running.

Coming soon: some of my running playlist favorites!