Have you heard of Couch to 5K? It’s a program to get your lazy rear end off the computer chair or the couch or wherever you chose to plant it, and get it running 5 kilometers, all in the space of 6-9 weeks.
There are many variations on the program, but I think they’re all pretty similar. We’re using the free Podrunner music to tell us when to walk and when to jog. You alternate brisk walks with short easy jogs for about 20-30 minutes, 3 days each week, gradually increasing the length of the intervals and shifting the proportion of walking to running.
By the end of 9 weeks, you find that you can run 5 kilometers, nonstop, without collapsing into a gasping quivering heap of flesh in the middle of the road. At least, not until you reach the 5k mark. Then I think it’s ok to fall down and cry.
Although I only became a couch slug in the last 6 years, I have never ever been able to run or jog for any respectable distance. I have done martial arts, weight-lifting, bicycling (can I call a 12 mile trip “cross-country bicycling”? What if I was 9 months pregnant at the time?), spent an entire summer mowing lawns (and lifting a big heavy mower in and out of the trunk of the car), and more.
In spite of all this, I have never been able to run farther than it takes to outrun a toddler in the grocery store parking lot. Couch to 5K was a new and exciting concept to me, and I couldn’t wait to start.
I breezed through the first week, challenged to my limits but eager for more. I even posted on facebook that the 3rd workout of the week was easy. Nevertheless, I agreed to repeat the first week for the sake of the late starters in our family.
The second week, surprisingly, was no easier. My second workout last week was the hardest yet – I had to skip one of the running sessions and sat down to rest twice, afraid that I was going to faint. Do you think I’m exaggerating? Not a bit. I know that feeling.
We spent 5 days on the road for a homeschool conference so we missed our 3rd workout last week. I did it this morning instead.
I thought I was going to die.
Once again, I had to skip one of the 60-second jogs. Then I had to sit down in the shade as soon as we had finished, because my legs just weren’t going any further. I made it halfway up the hill to my driveway and had to sit down again because walking was too hard. When I finally made it up the steps to my deck, I collapsed into an exhausted heap on a wrought iron chair and paid a child a quarter to hose me down.
I’m trying to convince myself that it was due to climate: we spent 5 days in air conditioning then came back to higher temps than when we left, and I was working out much later in the morning than I usually do. I should get up much earlier and try again tomorrow.
Maybe it was diet. We just spent 5 days eating a combination of junk food, fast food, and fast junk food. I should eat plenty of greens and protein and try again tomorrow.
Maybe I was just tired. We didn’t sleep well on the hotel beds, and Parker made it clear that he missed his bed too. I should go to bed early tonight and try again tomorrow.
Or maybe I’m just a Can’t Hack It Pantywaist. If that’s the case, excuses abound. Number of past pregnancies, recent childbirth, breastfeeding, age, weight…I should give up now instead of torturing myself for 9 weeks before I face the truth.
Which do you think is the real reason? Be honest. Can I do this? Could you do this?