My C25K Experience

Remember when I ran a mile without walking and felt on top of the world? I’ve come so far since then! On Friday, I hit a lifetime high of 8 miles without stopping. The credit for that most definitely goes to the Couch to 5k Program (also known as C25K). Before I did C25K I did not consider myself a runner, and I didn’t understand people who did so. I ran cross country in high school because I liked the coaches and my best friend was doing it, but I was always the slowest one and I never really enjoyed running. After completing C25K I still find running hard, and I have to push myself really hard not to walk at times, but I’ve reached the point where I understand that “runners high” people talk about. In fact, there was a week recently where I took a break for a few days and actually craved a nice long run!

I hope that my experience will help some of you feel confident enough to give C25K (or another running program of choice) a try. I most certainly consider myself to be an example of “If I can do it ANYONE can.”

Timeline

January

I started running the C25K program right at the beginning of January and due to the sporadic notes I kept throughout the program I can give you a little peek into how I felt about it. As it was the middle of a very cold Chicago winter I did all of my running for this month on the treadmill in the gym that’s located on the ground floor of our apartment building. When we signed our lease they offered us an extra year of gym membership if we signed for another year within a two week window. I’m so glad we took them up on that offer as I plan on using the gym a lot again next winter.

My notes for my first day said: Never felt like I was about to die 🙂. That’s good right?

Maybe I was trying to attempt a rosy picture for myself though, because I remember grasping the sides of the treadmill after each running period. I came back up to the apartment feeling absolutely exhausted! It was really hard, and I told myself that if I ever walked during one of the “run” periods, I had to do the whole day over again. I also set up some accountability for myself by tweeting about my progress after each run, and I didn’t want to tweet to everyone that I had walked through part of the running section! I did allow myself to hold the handlebars or the head of the treadmill when the running sections got really hard though.

February

At the beginning of February I wrote: Finished without holding the handlebars! Which means it took me an entire month to run for 5 minutes at a time without supporting myself with the treadmill. February 7th was the day I ran over a mile without stopping, but I wasn’t able to run 20 minutes without stopping like C25K wanted me too. It would take me weeks and weeks to be able to do that consistently.

Week 6 is where I started to feel stuck. The program wanted me to run 25 minutes with no walking, but I couldn’t seem to do it. I ended up chipping away at week 6 for 3 weeks total, before I finally moved to week 7 at the beginning of March.

And before I forget, a little tip! Put the incline on your treadmill at no less than 1.0 as it will make your transition from treadmill to running outside (which has terrain that varies) much easier.

March

By the time you reach week 7 (don’t feel intimidated by this, you’ll be prepared by the time you get there if you follow the program), you are running a minimum of 25 minutes each time you lace up your running shoes. When I heard some one talking about that back at the end of January, I thought it would never be possible for me to do such a thing. But then March arrived, I signed up for a 5k in Chicago and was feeling the pressure of being able to run my race without walking, and the weather warmed up and I was finally able to start running outside.

Week 8 in the training is the point where I stopped worrying about the program and started focusing on distance and building up my stamina. I would use Map My Run (thanks to Cecy for teaching me about it!) to figure out how far I wanted to go before I got out there, and then push myself really hard to finish it. Leaving the program behind, and allowing myself to walk sometimes, also allowed me to work on running faster because I wasn’t worried about tiring myself out before the timer on my phone told me my 28 minutes was up.

April

April came and one of my weight loss challenges was ending, so I started running more than 3 days/week at times. I also began tracking my workouts in my weight loss spreadsheet, something I’m glad I started doing because I like looking back at my progress. I was trying to work out at least 6 days per week, at least 3 of those were running days, and I was trying to go at least 2 miles each time, building up to 3 miles each. By the time my race day came on the 16th of April, I felt confident that I would be able to run the whole time without stopping.

As the weather warmed up and school became more difficult for That Husband, I realized that I would need to get a jogging stroller if I wanted to be running outside in the middle of the day. I got lucky and someone from our church sent out a mass email advertising one for sale right when I needed it!

Then we had a few weeks of bad weather, and I was often driven back onto the treadmill again. I did not like it, and I checked the weather forecast obsessively for sunny days. After far too many cloudy skies the 29th of April dawned bright and sunny and absolutely perfect for running. I loaded up the baby in the stroller, filled up my water bottle, and headed out for what I knew would be a nice long run. I was planning to go 2 miles out, and 2 miles back in, and then I’d be able to tweet and say that I ran 4 miles without stopping that day, a new record for me (the desire to tweet seems silly to some, but it’s a very motivating factor for me because of the much appreciated congratulations that come on, and so I think I can say that I owe some of my success to my cheerleaders on Twitter!). When I hit the two mile mark I realized that I didn’t feel that bad, and so I decided to keep running until I hit 3.1 miles, and then I could run/walk back if I wanted. But when I hit the 3 mile mark I still felt good (in fact I felt even better than I did at the two mile mark) so I decided to keep going. When I made it 4 miles I decided that the ultimate tweet would be to say that I ran 8 miles without stopping, and so I turned around and started home. Toward the end I wasn’t really running, more like hobbling at a pace slightly faster than a limp, my right knee was feeling sore and my left foot was aching and the baby was whining because I’d been out for almost two hours at that point. But I did it! I made it just over 8 miles and when I stopped I realized that my legs were weak and I was a little sore, but I wasn’t gasping for breath like I always thought I would be if I ran that far.

I’m in shape! I’m a runner! I’m everything I wanted to be when I started this program. I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like a completely different person than the overweight-huffing-and-puffing-gasping-and-leaning-on-the-treadmill girl that I was back in January.

Equipment/Attire

I used, and swear by, the C25K app on my iphone. It allows me to play my own music, record my workout notes in a little journal, and during my run little prompts come up telling me when to run or walk.

Now that I’ve finished the C25K training I’m using another app called RunKeeper, and for the life of me I can’t understand how this app is free! It uses the GPS in my phone to tell me my pace, average speed, how long I’ve been running, and how far I’ve run. I can use my own music and it pops up every 5 minutes to give me an update (which always helps me run faster, at least for a little bit).

If you haven’t experienced the joys of running outside, get off that treadmill and give it a try! There is something about actually moving from one location to another that makes is much more enjoyable than pounding in place. I am also able to go a lot longer because I can vary my speed from moment to moment. If you’re like me and you feel self-conscious about running outside, you could try starting in the gym. I used to get really stressed about running outside because I could only run for a minute, maybe two, and I felt like everyone was watching me and laughing at my pathetic attempts. But once I moved outside in March I was able to run a full mile without stopping, and I felt much less self-conscious. I still run incredibly slow, and feel like people might be noticing, but I try to use that as motivation to speed up a little bit and show them how awesome I am (at least while I am in their field of vision 🙂 ).

My shoes are several years old (yes, I’m getting new ones!) and were purchased from a specialty running store in Utah. They are made by Pearl iZUMi. I most definitely think you need to go to a specialty store and have someone who knows what they are looking for watch you run. Invest in your shoes, your knees and feet will thank you for it!

Right now I usually wear a wonder tee on top, or one of the free tshirts I’ve hung on to over the years. My favorite pair of workout pants are made my Nike, I bought them 7 or 8 years ago and have worn them through my various weight gains/losses. I believe they are similar to these and I paid $50 for them when I first bought them. At the time I felt guilty and thought it was a splurge that wasn’t worth it, but they still fit so well after all these years that I’d be happy to work out in nothing but those capris! I also pick up new pants as needed at Costco when they have them available. I have some racerback style tanks from Walmart but they fit very poorly and I think I’m going to look into buying some nicer stuff as the weather heats up.

My sports bra is The Last Resort Sports Bra by Title Nine. If you have large breasts, I guarantee there is no better bra in the world. It’s the best sports bra in the world for large breasts. (Really!)

The jogging stroller I recently started using was a secondhand purchase from a family we go to church with. It’s the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger which retails for just under $100 on Amazon, and I would absolutely recommend it to someone looking for a jogging stroller. I’ve never used any of the very fancy jogging strollers, but I think this one moves very smoothly. The seat lays back nice and far so T1 can relax and take a nap while I run, and the canopy on top stretches forward to shield his face from the sun. It has two cup holders, a compartment on top that I place my keys in, a pocket on the back of the seat, and a deep wide pocket down below. I use it all the time for grocery shopping now that the weather is warmer! The only drawbacks I can think of are that it doesn’t store completely flat (but I don’t know if any jogging strollers do that) and if you unlock the front wheel it wobbles very badly. I’m not sure if that is a design flaw with my stroller, or something all users experience.

Future Plans

Those who read regularly will know that I paid $40 for a 5k the day after my birthday, woke up with a sick baby the morning of and decided not to run. I’m going to plan on doing a 5k in my hometown (I think it’s free, and if it isn’t the entry fee will be much less than the exorbitant amounts they charge in the Windy City!) with my parents cheering me on as I cross the finish line.

After my 8 mile run on April 29th, I’m actually feeling ready for a half-marathon. If all goes as planned, I should be running one with a few of my best friends from college in Utah on the 25th of June. I’m thinking I’ll use this half-marathon training plan from Oh She Glows to get ready for it. After I run the half-marathon will I start training for a full one? I have no idea! I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. 🙂

I hate to end this post on a sad note, but I’m actually taking a one week break from running while I try to figure out what is causing some intense knee pain I’m experiencing. I’ll be buying some new shoes soon, and looking into some stretches that should help. Some very kind doctor friends on Facebook suggested that it might be “patellofemoral pain syndrome”. I’m not ready to give up though, the runners high just feels too good!

————————–

You’re going to start running now as well. Right? RIGHT?!?!?

I did it, you can too!

 

81 thoughts on “My C25K Experience

  1. I enjoyed reading this. I would be concerned that a June half is really soon without enough time to really train properly. Marathon training plans are usually 4 months for a reason, and that is a time line for runners with some experience.

    My first half is in 4 weeks and I cannot imagine going into it really confident without all the training I put in.

    I am looking forward to hearing how it goes.

  2. Great post. Posts like this are the reason I love your blog. It’s so neat to see you change and grow.
    You’re an inspiration to me. I recently joined a gym so that I can start exercising, hopefully bring down my stress levels and (ironically?) get my weight up a bit. I’ve been tossing around the idea in my head of training for a half marathon and I think you’ve convinced me to give it a go.
    Also, your post is weirdly serendipitous because I’m in Chicago on business tonight. (and not sleeping due to stress….)
    Congratulations on a huge accomplishment.

  3. I think new shoes and some PT exercises (especially strength training for your legs) should help with your knee problems – or look into a knee brace. I also find that after long runs, wrapping my knee in an ace bandage overnight helps a lot.

    One thing I learned the really hard (and expensive) way is to not sign up for races I’m not 100% sure I can train up for, or I will end up eating the cost, and half marathons tend to be really expensive. Keep in mind that the hardest part of half-marathon training is the 9-13 mile runs – they take a LOT of time. Since you’ll be chilling at home this summer, you might have time, but I wouldn’t commit to the half until you’ve done more than 10 miles.

  4. This post is really timely for me, as today (in less than an hour) I’m about to go do my very last C25K workout, though instead of jogging for 30 minutes, I am going to do a 3.1 mile route and see what happens – I am running my very first 5K on Saturday!

    Obviously, I identified with a lot of what you said and it was neat to “share” some of your observations. I too transitioned outside and I can’t imagine going back to the treadmill!

    Congrats on your 8 mile run and good luck with your next goals! I have yet to decide what I’m going to do after my 5K – all I know is I want to keep running!

  5. I have patellofemoral maltracking, too. The newer research (as far as physical therapy) recommends more strength tranining for your core (along with strengthening your inner thighs, hamstrings), which apparently helps stabilize everything. A knee brace that realigns your knee cap does help when you’re having to be on your feet for long periods of time.

  6. Awesome!

    I have never enjoyed running – even when I’m fit enough to go for a few miles. Just not my thing. But it is such an effective and relatively inexpensive way to exercise I wish I could love it. This warmer weather does mean some nice long bike rides though and I am so excited!

  7. “I’m in shape! I’m a runner! I’m everything I wanted to be when I started this program.” This is the best endorsement for C25K I’ve ever read.

    Congratulations and good for you!!

  8. My husband has patellofemoral pain syndrome and has had three surgeries on his left knee and two on his right to try to correct it. All his orthopedic surgeons, and the ones he worked with during his own surgery training, believed that it is a condition which develops slowly over time, not something that pops up suddenly like yours.

    It sounds to me like you just have plain old overuse. You are never supposed to increase your mileage by more than 10% a week and you more than doubled yours. The 10% rule is designed because even if you feel great and like you can go further (which you did!), your muscles just don’t have the stamina to handle it. Take a week off, go back to 3 miles, and increase slowly and your knees will be much, much happier!

    CCR Reply:

    I agree with increasing your mileage more slowly. Three miles to eight miles in one week is a big jump and I wouldn’t be surprised if your knee problems are a result of this jump. Give your body enough time to adjust to the increased mileage! I say go for the half marathon, but one later in the summer, so you have enough time to train properly.

    Congrats on becoming a runner!

    Cécy Reply:

    The 10% rule is explained pretty well here: http://trainingtidbits.blogspot.com/2010/04/magical-10.html
    and here
    http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267–1051-0,00.html

    I learned that one the hard way, with shin splints. I’m very careful with this now.
    Oh and Jenna, if you’re adding your workouts to mapmyrun, it gives you the weekly mileage and the increase compare to the previous week automatically. It helps me plan my running increase.

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks so much for your input! I know self-diagnosing online isn’t the most accurate way to do things, but I’m not ready to see a doctor about it yet. I’ll definitely be taking your advice!

    Krista Reply:

    I was dropping in to say the same thing. I saw your request for help on the knee pain issue on FB, and I’m willing to bet that this is overuse. This is a BIG increase in milage and likely too quick. Take a week of NO running (so hard, I know, but worth it to prevent further injury) and then conisder a HM later in the summe to give yourself time to train properly and safely. The last thing you want is an injury that keeps you from running for a long time (I pushed too hard last fall while training for my first full marathon and ended up not runnning due to injury for 3 months – it was torture!).

    Krista Reply:

    Also, adding strength training is a great idea. I found that when I worked on improving my core and back strength my running really improved and my pain and injuries noticeably decreased!

  9. so great to hear about your running accomplishments!! Congrats on coming so far in just a few months! Isn’t it the best feeling to realize that you’re in shape enough that your body craves runs?

    Chicago got me hooked on running, too. Running on treadmills feels like work but running next to the lake, through the pretty parks, is so enjoyable. My own running journey started when a friend talked me into signing up for a half marathon. I did a 4 month training program – the customizable plan on the Runner’s World website. It was totally do-able, and every week when I ran farther I felt such a great sense of accomplishment.

    You mention knee pain so just thought I’d chime in with my experience, and some words of caution about signing up for a half marathon with less than 2 months for training. Even though the plan I did for the first half was pretty gradual, I still ended up with some strained muscle/nerve issues in my knees and upper thigh/butt (I think it was my piriformis muscle, thanks to working with a bunch of PTs). I always stretch after running, but the more intense training showed me just how important stretching is. I had to be sure to stretch out ALL my leg/hip/butt muscles after every work out, and I did a yoga class once a week. This really helped the pain go away. So definitely be sure to stretch! For knees, a good one is to bend over to touch your toes, but with your legs crossed one over the other, then switch. Also, funnily enough doing hip stretches helps prevent knee pain for me (I do low lunges to stretch the front of my hips). Runners world has some great stretch examples on their website to make sure you hit all major muscles.

    I also took advil after long runs, although I’ve read in some places not to do that. But it seriously helped me to not feel dead the rest of the day! I ran a second half marathon last summer using the stretching/advil method and training was practically pain-free.

    Again – since you mention you are dealing with pain, I would advise to maybe hold off for a later half marathon. It is hard work training for a race that distance, and if you don’t do it properly you risk injury – which means you might have to give up running for a while and is always sad. I know it’s probably not what you want to hear since you have such great momentum going, but being injured sucks – and makes it really hard to keep up with exercise. You don’t need that!! 🙂 I also recommend a beginner’s program – the Oh She Glows one looks pretty good but it does pick up much faster than the one I started with, and she mentions she’s done 3 previous half marathons.

    ok sorry this is so long, again working with lots of physical therapists, many who do crazy marathons/triathlons, I have way too much info in my brain about this topic! email me if you’d like more info 🙂

  10. Looks like you got some great advice as pp mentioned stretching post run is important and can prevent things like IT band injuries (which can manifest itself with outside knee pain). You might google ‘foam roller stretches’ to see if a foam roller is something you think you’d benefit from. For half plans you might also look at Jeff Galloway, he teaches a run/walk method, Hal Higdon or runnersword.com has a tool to create your custom plan. Good luck.

    Carrie Reply:

    I second the advice on the foam roller! It hurts TERRIBLY the first few times because you are working out the tension in your IT bands, but after regular use keeps you nice and aligned! I call it my free chiropractor. Great job, by the way. I’m so impressed with your dedication.

  11. Great job Jenna! Running can be so rewarding and the runners high feels fantastic.

    That pain is very likely related to wearing old shoes. Running shoes will only carry you so many miles (it ranges) and if you wear them to walk in or any cross training they will wear out faster. Definitely get some new shoes before heading back out. Might also want to look at using a foam roller to help stretch out the legs post run.

  12. Congrats Jenna! I finished C25K for the 2nd time, but recently sprained my ankle and am just getting back at it this week! I did run outside yesterday and its so much better than a treadmill!

    I agree with others about slowly increasing your milage. 8 miles though is amazing! I’d also recommend doing streches for your IT band. I do the 2nd & 3rd from this video (I don’t have a foam roller). I was having knee pain as well and don’t have it any longer after using these stretches.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9aJtO0VCqw

    Congrats again!

    Cécy Reply:

    The last two stretches are moves with do in my yoga classes. It only confirms my feeling of how beneficial yoga is for runners 🙂

  13. I’ve been using a similar iPhone app, Get Running, but they sound pretty similar. I was doing really well and definitely saw major improvement in my running and endurance until life got in the way and I fell off the wagon. I have such a hard time sticking with exercise and my weight yo-yo’s so much. I was hoping I would stick with this longer than I did and that it would help get my my weight under control. I’m determined to get back into it though and will be very happy when I can run a mile without stopping.

    It’s great to see how you’ve stuck with it and all the weight that you’ve lost. I will definitely be using you as inspiration to get back out there!

  14. First of all congratulations on you’re achievement. It’s been fun to follow your improvement on twitter and here.
    You’ve definitely come a long way and I’m glad you found a program that helped you not only get fit and motivate you to exercise but also helped you become a runner.

    I’m going to have to go with everyone else on the half marathon: take your time.
    First of all you probably don’t want to run your first half during summer when it’s too hot outside.
    Second: it’s a big jump from running a 3.1 miles to running 13.1. Most training plans are 3 to 4 months long to allow you to build for it slowly.
    Would you consider looking for a 10 or even a 15k to start with and then maybe later in summer or even in the fail go for a half?
    I’m doing mine in September to give myself time to prepare. A trainer that works with my company sent me this program http://www2.furman.edu/sites/first/Documents/10%20Mile%20Training%20Program.pdf
    it’s for a 10 miler, but mileage wise it’s pretty close to what you need for a 13.1. I would probably recommend not to increase your long run more than a mile or a mile and a half per week to start with. Take water with you and some energy gels/blocks/snack/drink. Something to help replenish your body’s electrolytes, sodium, etc.

    In any case good luck with your progress. Keep us updated.

    I’m having to take a running break too (boo-hoo). My knee is sore and so is my thigh. Not sure what it is either. I need to stretch, reinforce and go to the chiropractor. I’d rather rest now so I can run the 15k race I have lined up for May 15th!

  15. Our stories are so similar! I just ran my first half marathon in March after training through the most RIDICULOUS Chicago winter(that I think is still going on!) Keep it up girl!

  16. Thanks for this post, Jenna! I’ve really been thinking about doing C25K over the last few days and your post is just added encouragement. I have no idea why I’m even considering the idea of running- I hate running! I’ve always hated running! Even as a kid I hate playing soccer or any other sport that involved a lot of continuous running. But I still have this idea that if I could get past the ohmygoshI’mgonnadie feeling, I might actually like it. I hear there’s endorphins and adrenaline involved- and I sure like those things after giving birth, so maybe I *could* like running. We’ll see. The weather here in ND hasn’t exactly been great for getting out and running and I don’t have a treadmill. But even if I could get to running a mile without stopping by the end of the summer I’d be happy.
    A question for you and any of the other runners around here: I would be running on our gravel road that is very crowned up- would this not be a good idea? There’s literally no flat place- not down the middle, not on the sides. I’ve noticed while walking that I need to walk right down the middle, with both feet on either side of the crown- if I don’t, my knees always feel the unevenness when I’m finished. I don’t if the fast pace would be a good thing or a bad thing.

    Cécy Reply:

    Gravel is one of my least favorite ground to run on. I feel like it’s more of an ankle twister than dirt trails.
    Do you have a park you could go to, or even a running track or trails? Even a safe stretch of road would be better.
    While it’s easier to train on a flat course to start with, some small hills on asphalt might be easier on your joints, just don’t worry on how slow you go uphill.

    Regina Lynn Reply:

    Ummm, yeah, probably not. The closest paved road is 4 miles away and I don’t have a jogging stroller to put the babies in. And the closest park or running trail is more than 15 miles away. I live in rural ND and can’t just pick up and go because of aforementioned little ones and no babysitters, so I have to make do with what I have. 🙂 But that’s ok. Maybe I’ll just start walking again.

  17. Each update on your journey through C25K has been so helpful. About two years ago I joined a local women’s running group, and together we trained up to a 5k. It was easy then, because I had built in accountability… If I missed a run, I had 20 people asking me where I was! Stress overtook my exercising though, and I fell off the bandwagon. After you posted your successes w/ c25k I decided I needed to give it a try. I just finished week 1, and am feeling great! I’ve missed that adrenaline that I get from running.. It’s an awesome mood/attitude booster!

    Thanks for sharing your story! It’s been a great inspiration for me to get off my rear & get moving!

  18. i think it’s so exciting that you stuck with running long enough to find out how awesome it is! that’s the hardest part of running, is reaching the point where you find enjoyment from it, but once you do, it was worth the struggle to get there. running is my passion! 🙂

  19. Congrats, Jenna! I just finished C25k last week and am running my 5k in a couple of weeks (obvs I’ll keep running between now and then!) You were definitely an inspiration.

    If your week off and the new shoes don’t help, definitely go see a physical therapist! (Depending on your insurance and the open-access laws in Illinois, you may have to get a referral from your doctor) It sounds like PFPS, but could be any number of things, and a PT can help you sort it out and get back on track (if you have any other questions, email me!)

  20. Great overview and similar to my story of hating running, but finally feeling the runner’s high! I went from 5k to half marathon in about 4 months with a great 10k, 15k, 20k race series leading up to it. After two halves in 2009, I stopped running all together for almost a year. I’m getting back into it now and I’m definitely going to try your recommendation of RunKeeper – thanks!

  21. I would like to think I gave you the idea for this based on a Formspring question I asked. 🙂

    This post is super-timely because I just started the C25K program and it’s really motivating to hear you say you feel like a runner and feel like you’re in shape. That’s what I want! I love that all you need to run are good shoes (and a good sports bra!). I am hoping to be where you are – although I can’t imagine ever considering a half marathon!

  22. Simply amazing! What an achievement – if I ever do give this a try, I’ll think of you and realize that you did it even though you never thought it was possible!

    Thanks for the bra tip! I’ll have to check it out since I need a new one. And I have some major bounceage to control. I can’t concentrate on running when there is too much bounce – it’s all I think about not only the weird look of it, but I just keep thinking about my skin stretching out. Way easier to focus if there is tiny or no bounce.

    Also, how is it running those long distances while pushing the stroller? I have a double jogging stroller and when it’s loaded up with both kids we’re talking 70+ lbs plus the stroller to push. Sometimes I think it’s making the running that much harder, but maybe I’m just imagining that. I think we have a pretty good stroller and all!

    Jenna Reply:

    I think it’s harder, but I remind myself that if it’s harder I’m burning more calories. 🙂

  23. I’m so proud of you, Jenna! Physical fitness is just as important as being a healthy weight and I’m so glad that this whole running thing has worked out so well and that you love it so much. I started C25K for the 3rd or 4th time (or more, I lost track!) at the end of Feb/beginning of March. I have had brutal hip and back pain since a cheerleading injury, and every single time I tried to get back to my distance runner in high school self, I had to quit on the first week of C25K due to pain.

    The difference this time around is that I started running barefoot. I got Vibram Fivefinger shoes, the Bikila LS, and the difference between running in shoes and running barefoot is night and day. I told some friends that it felt like my feet were finally invited to the running party! I have had zero hip/knee/back pain. I step off the treadmill sore, tired, a bit sweaty, but with no pain. It’s truly incredible- there is almost no way you can run with poor form when you’re barefoot, it’s so self correcting. About 3 weeks in I read “Born to Run”, which was also really interesting. I also watched videos on ChiRunning on YouTube before I started, which was an excellent resource for helping my running form.

    C25K is such an incredible program, I understand now why so many people endorse it! Every person I have ever talked to who has tried it, and stuck with it, has become an avid runner and loves to run. They’ve lost weight, gotten in shape, and rave about it. Now I can rave about it, too! 🙂

    Jenna Reply:

    I hear so many people talking about Vibrams! I have really high arches though, do you know anyone with high arches that uses them?

    Sara Reply:

    You might want to look into orthotics for you running shoes if you have high arches. I am a long distance runner and I was experiencing extreme knee pain. My doctor recommended a mix of orthotics (for my high arches) and leg strengthening exercises. Apparently, I’d gotten a bit out of whack and my IT bands were overcompensating. I had to retrain my legs through strengthening what muscles were supposed to do what. One of the first questions they asked me was if I had given birth. It is apparently a common problem after childbirth.

    Congrats on the eight miles! That’s an awesome accomplishment. My hunch is that you increased your mileage a bit too much, wearing worn out shoes. You should replace your shoes every 350-550 miles depending on you weight, running style, body etc.

    A half-marathon at the end of June may be a tall order but the Chicago half in September wouldn’t be at all. I’m going to post below the beginner training plan I used for my first half. When I began I was running 3 miles at most. It was written for me by a friend who works for Runner’s World. Ignore the dates. Sorry this will make this the longest comment ever:

    Week 1 (Feb 23) (BUILD WEEK)
    (Day 1) 4 miles
    (Day 2) 4 miles
    (Day 3) 4 miles
    (Day 4) 6 miles

    Week 2 (March 2 (BUILD WEEK)
    (Day 1) 4 miles
    (Day 2) 4 miles
    (Day 3) 4 miles
    (Day 4) 7 miles

    Week 3 (March 9) (BUILD WEEK)
    (Day 1) 4 miles
    (Day 2) 4 miles
    (Day 3) 4 miles
    (Day 4) 8 miles

    Week 4 (March 16) (BUILD WEEK)
    (Day 1) 5 miles
    (Day 2) 5 miles
    (Day 3) 5 miles
    (Day 4) 9 miles

    Week 5 (March 23) (EASYWEEK)
    (Day 1) 5 miles
    (Day 2) 5 miles
    (Day 3) 5 miles
    (Day 4) 6 miles

    Week 6 (March 30) PEAK WEEK
    (Day 1) 5 miles
    (Day 2) 5 miles
    (Day 3) 6 miles
    (Day 4) 11 miles

    Week 7 (April 6) EASY WEEK
    (Day 1) 4 miles
    (Day 2) 4 miles
    (Day 3) 4 miles
    (Day 4) 8 miles

    Week 8 (April 13) PEAK WEEK
    (Day 1) 6 miles
    (Day 2) 5 miles
    (Day 3) 4 miles
    (Day 4) 12 miles

    Week 9 (April 20) TAPER WEEK
    (Day 1) 4 miles
    (Day 2) 4 miles
    (Day 3) 4 miles
    (Day 4) 5 miles

    Week 10 (April 27) (RACE WEEK)
    (Monday) 4 miles
    (Tuesday) 3 miles
    (Wednesday) REST
    (Thursday) REST
    (Friday) 3 miles
    (Saturday) REST or 2 easy miles–try to stay off your feet and eat carbs!
    (Sunday) RACE

  24. I am so grateful that you posted this… I have gotten out of the habit of running for the last two weeks with company in town and projects to do and I have GOT to get back to it. I’ve been feeling stuck for a while but this was just the jolt in the arm that I needed!!!

  25. I’ve been itching to run outside, but thanks to the lovely Utah weather, it hasn’t really been that nice until this week. The second I get home from work today, I’m changing into my running clothes and heading outside. Can’t wait! And thanks for sharing so much, it really is motivating to me.

  26. It’s so great to hear how happy you are about running! I love running, and I’m glad when others find the same joy.

    Some of the commenters above have given really good advice, so I’ll try not to repeat them. But be very, very careful about doing too much, too soon. I don’t want to sound discouraging, because I know how awesome it feels, but I pushed too quickly into training for a half marathon and ended up with a serious overuse injury (and wasn’t able to run the race). It took me about a year to get comfortable running again (which was very much pyschological, but still). There’s nothing wrong with having a half marathon as a long-term goal (maybe for the fall) and using shorter-distance races as steps to get there.

    Runner’s World is a really great resource for basic training info; build mileage slowly; see how you feel with new sneakers (I always get twinges when my sneakers are old); be certain you take rest days; etc.

  27. Congrats, Jenna! This is awesome. I loved C25K when I did it. I ran a four mile race in April and ran the whole thing without stopping which was a first for me. I had never run more than two miles without walking. It felt really good.

    I’m hoping to do a half marathon in 2012. I could do one before then, but I want to add it to a vacation and I don’t have any un-planned for vacation time until then.

  28. Congratulations! This was so inspiring to read.

    I’m coming off a couple months break from running because of an over-use knee injury. My advice is similar to others here, follow the 10% rule.

    Also critical I found was ice, really good stretching and allover strength training. These are so important that I am putting yoga or strength workouts in front of running so that I don’t injure myself further.

  29. WOWSA! WTG Jenna! After I started running I got patellafenoral or runner’s knee. I wear a patella strap on my knee now and I do just fine. I still ice them after long runs, which I haven’t done in a long time! But that helps too!

  30. Yay! Congrats Jenna! You’ve come such a long way since January, I’m proud of you. Hope the knee feels better (there are sooooooooooo many things that could be wrong, better to have an orthopedist check you out than self-diagnose. if you read “Born to Run”, you’ll come to believe the problem isn’t with your old shoes … but that you’re wearing them in the first place). Glad you’ve caught the runner’s high. It’s fun up here 🙂 xo

  31. This has come at the perfect time, as I’m actually trying to get back on the running train. I also ran cross country in high school, but hated running. Talking with my friends while running made it bearable. Back then, I weighed 40 pounds less and could easily run a mile or three- it sort of sucked, but not in the same way. I slowly realized that I have a huge mental stamina weakness- if I can stop or walk, something in my brain says JUST STOP! So on Sunday I went to the gym telling my brain that it needs to shut up and I ran a mile without stopping- and stopped only then because I had set this terminal period in my brain. I could tell that I could have kept going.

    So, I say all of this to point out that I so feel you and tonight when I go to the gym, I’m aiming for 1.5-2 miles without stopping!

  32. Love those pants! They are my FAVES!

    I’ve been using Nike+GPS for my runs and the GPS has been crapping out on my a lot lately. Might have to give RunKeeper a go!

    Nike+ was nice because it has a feature that posts on FB when you’re out running. If anyone “likes” or comments on your post, it automatically sends “cheers” through your headphones. It’s AMAZING and so motivating to keep going! Sometimes I feel silly for posting my runs to Twitter or FB, but frankly I need all the help and support I can get. It really does help!

    I’m hoping some of the other programs and apps will follow suit with the “cheers” features.

  33. Awesome job Jenna! You already received some good advice already, so I want repeat them.

    Definitely a good idea on taking a break from running to see if your pain subsides. Then start up slowly again. Where is this half marathon in Utah? June 25th is my bday, good way to spend it running a half =) But most likely think my 2nd Half will be the RnR Las Vegas (also to visit the bestie)

    As for ppl saying it’s too soon to run the Half. I’d go for it nonetheless. Most ppl I’ve known ran walked their 1st. Are you planning on run walking the half? Besides, it’s always fun to run with friends. My 1st Half was the Disneyland one. Soo much fun!

    Oh, and as for the relationship with running…Trust my, to do this day I have a love/hate relationship with it. Started running in 2008 to lose weight for my 2009 wedding. Joined a running a group. Guess, I could quit. After investing all that money into it, some how can’t justify it. Typically I try to run 10K, and if possible run a Half once year.

    Would love to run a full marathon, but running is soo tremendously hard on my body. Don’t know if I want to subject it to that. My body is already all messed up from doing Gymnastics for 8 years.

  34. Your knee pain may likely be from tight IT Bands (runs from your hips to your knee). It is really common in women who run, because of the way our bodies are built. I started running a lot recently and had a lot of knee pain. A foam roller and stretches helped get rid of it. I still have to make sure I stretch a lot though.

  35. Great job Jenna! That is amazing and so inspirational!

    I just printed out the couch to 5k plan yesterday actually so yes I am going to do it!

    I did the Maui Marathon last year and when I reached 14 miles I decided to stop. I am ok with that decision but since then I have grown so insecure about running again that I want to start over completely and follow through this time for health!

  36. YEAH, SPEEDY! Huge congrats on finishing Couch to 5K and on learning to love running! I also gush about C25K as I feel like it pretty much changed my life. I have to echo some of the cautionary advice from other folks, though, because running injuries are no joke. I was training for a 10K back in November and ran my longest run to date — 5.5 miles — and I did something to my ankle. I ended up not being able to run until February and then it was only a mile or two at a time and running made the injury worse. I took another solid month off from running and now I’m back up to 3-4 miles consistently with no pain. I stretch and ice like crazy and really try to listen to my body. Do not try to run through the pain! I never thought I’d be one of those people who got injured but I did and I can tell you that I missed running SO MUCH while I was sidelined. I did focus on strength training in the interim but it wasn’t the same.

    Anyway, huge congrats again! I am so excited for you!!

  37. You inspire me!! I’m on week 2 of C25K after doing week one over and over (about once a month for the past 3 months… I’d get started and then stop)

    I can’t believe you don’t get hot in those pants — that’s one of my problems, I always get so hot and itchy, so I am totally immodest in my shorts and tank top. But I think it is OK for working out.

    I ran a half entirely unprepared 5 years ago — I think you’d be fine, but probably just sore… I had never ran more than 3 miles at once and I just run/walked it. As long as you know your body.

Comments are closed.