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Get Off the Couch and Run! Run to Lose Weight, Get Fit and Feel Better

Updated on April 18, 2012

My 5K Training Program

Ever wanted to start running? Trying to lose weight? Want to get in shape for a 5K? Me too. I'm working on reaching my running goals by following the Couch to 5K training schedule and using an iTunes podcast, and I'm chronicling all of it right here in hopes that it'll inspire others to do the same. Join me!

I love finding inspiration from "regular" people. Go mama!
I love finding inspiration from "regular" people. Go mama! | Source

Running to Lose Weight...and More

I’ve wanted to be a runner for a long time, and I’ve tried to get started more times than I can count. I've often heard that running is the best weight loss exercise out there, but even when I was happy with my weight I had dreams of being able to run a 5k. I’ve been exercising for years, doing everything from kickboxing to strength training to step aerobics, but I just couldn’t get into running. I found it boring, tedious and almost impossible to keep up for longer than a minute. So this winter, as part of a New Year’s resolution, I decided to give running one more try using the Couch to 5K training schedule. This plan is designed to gradually turn couch potatoes into 5K runners by guiding you through a series of walking and running intervals; as the weeks pass, the running intervals get longer and the walking intervals get shorter until eventually the walking is eliminated entirely.This 5K training program makes it both easier and safer to learn how to run than just stepping outside and running until you can't go any further.

This isn’t my first attempt at doing the Couch to 5K program; it’s my third. I’ve tried Cool Running’s plan twice in the last 5 years and both times I gave up after the second or third workout. I would get on the treadmill with a stopwatch and a printout of the program and suffer through the intervals; I’m not sure if it was the mind-numbing boredom or just the exertion of the jogging intervals, but after the second failed attempt I gave up on the idea that I’d ever be a runner.

Fast-forward four years, one baby and a 30-lb. weight gain, and once again, I had the running itch. I’d see strong, fit moms gliding through the neighborhood with their jog strollers and think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” Turns out, there’s no reason I can’t!

The truth is that I'm running to lose weight and look better, but my long-term goals go far beyond that. Being a runner is something I've always wanted to do but never truly believed I could succeed at.

What's Working For Me

I’m not sure exactly why this attempt at the Couch to 5K training program has been so much more successful, but I think one factor is that I’ve taken the workout outdoors. Instead of pounding away on the treadmill in a dark basement, I have fresh air and beautiful scenery to help pass the time.

Another big improvement was ditching the stopwatch (which I used to check every 30 seconds as I prayed for the misery to end) and downloaded the Couch to 5K iTunes podcast to my iPod; this free podcast gives you cues so you know when to start and stop jogging without having to check the time. There are several Couch to 5K iTunes podcasts but I’ve been using the Running Mate 5K101 program. This 5k training schedule is set up as an 8-week program, with three 30-minute workouts per week. Todd, your running “coach” offers running tips and periodic encouragement without sounding like a drill sergeant.

I wanted to chronicle my Couch to 5K journey from start to finish in the hopes that it would keep me motivated to keep running to lose weight and finish a 5K, and maybe even encourage others to try the program for themselves. I’ve had moments when I’ve felt like I was on top of the world, and others when I’ve felt like a complete loser, but I find that sharing all of them really helps me stay accountable for my progress and motivated to keep going. So here it is, my week-by-week Couch to 5K journal!

I’ll be adding more entries as the weeks pass, so keep checking; and if you’re doing the program, too, please chime in on how it’s going for you!

Find a Running Route

Whether you're new to running and not sure where the best trails are, or you're a veteran runner in need of a new route, check out MapMyRun. This free website lets you enter your city to find running routes mapped out by nearby runners. You can also track your own route to find out how far you've run, and save your routes for future reference.

Resources for Runners

A great hub that offers straightforward and invaluable advice for anyone wanting to start the Couch to 5K training program.

This article offers running tips and encouragement for those of us just starting out.

Check out this comprehensive collection of articles designed for new runners, which includes exercise motivation, running tips, running training programs, fast workouts, exercise nutrition and more.

Photo Credit

Thank you to Ed Yourdon for the above image, which is published under Creative Commons License.


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    • Rafaela Lima profile image

      Rafaela Lima 4 years ago from US

      We have to get up and RUN!!! I loved your hub. Thanks!

    • Neinahpets profile image

      Stephanie 5 years ago from Canada

      Great hub, and shared on my own hub! Thanks for sharing!