Over the past few weeks I’ve started to hear rumblings of a genius new way to get in shape, shed the extra pounds and just feel healthier. It isn’t CrossFit. It isn’t juicing. It isn’t the Paleo diet. Brace yourself for this.
I’ve never been much of a runner, unless it’s in pursuit of a soccer ball/basketball, but for some reason so many people in my life find joy in running marathons (or half marathons or 5Ks). My Dad has run 15 marathons, my little sister ran her first marathon at 18, a friend of mine recently completed an ultra marathon (31 miles) and another is chronicling her journey to kick type 2 diabetes by…running (and doing other healthy things).
Basically, everyone is awesome and I can barely finish a mile without wanting to curl up in the fetal position on a New York City sidewalk, while pigeons eye me as a potential food source.
A few bloggers and folks on Twitter have mentioned using the Couch to 5K app (or C25K). The app, as it oh so kindly says, makes you go from “couch potato to 5K runner.” If you run using the app’s program three times a week then you should be able to complete a 5K by week eight.
I’m ashamed that I’ve let my body get so out of shape. Sure, I walk a lot in New York, but I also sit at a desk job for nine hours a day. At 24, I’m really not loving the dull aches and pains in my back from all the sitting. About three weeks ago, I decided to be proactive and downloaded C25K, the free version. Then I forgot about my new desire to get fit until yesterday.
Yesterday I woke up and decided today was the day, put on some running gear, putzed around for a while delaying the inevitable, and finally sucked it up and went outside to run.
As I stepped onto the sidewalk, I pressed start on my Couch to 5K app and a pleasant voice told me to “begin my warm up now.” I programmed the app to stream some songs from an iTunes playlist and started my brisk warm up while channeling my inner old-people-at-the-mall-power-walking.
Five minutes later the pleasant, and vaguely British, voice was back and told me to “please begin running” and for 60 whole seconds I felt great. She promptly then told me to please resume walking and my heart rate happily came down during those glorious 90 seconds. And on we went in this routine. 60 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking.
Around minute 18 things started to get painful. The voice of my high school varsity soccer couch came roaring into my mind for motivation. I needed him screaming in my ear to not be a baby, suck it up and power through even though the side walk was looking like a great spot to curl up and whimper. So what if there was a suspicious yellow puddle nearby?
I managed to keep plodding along, cursing myself for not just staying in shape in the first place, and finally got to minute 25 when the friendly voice told me to start a cool down.
Even though I reaffirmed that I had indeed become a couch potato, the app is a great and FREE tool to start the process towards a healthy lifestyle. I appreciate how it alternates back to walking right about the time my heart was going to explode, and I can tell it will gradually trick me into being a runner.
Now, it’s time to see if I actually keep up with it for eight weeks…
Do you have any favorite fitness apps (for free).
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