I don't run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days. -- Ronald Rook
I have enjoyed running for as long as I can remember. In my early twenties, I was out there running with my giant mp3 player that held 13 songs. I loved being able to leave the house and just start running, going for as long, or as short, as I liked. This is still true today and I found myself missing my good old running days. Not to say I haven't done any running since then but I have not really put in any real effort in some time.
I decided to give running another go. I found a few reasons why I want to run:
- immediate relief of anxiety
- better sleep
- better mental clarity
- more energy
- improved physique
I think it's good to have a personal reason(s) why we choose to exercise. Especially in the beginning. It really helps writing these down and revisiting from time to time when doubt creeps in.
To get started, I downloaded the couch to 5k app (thanks Megan, if you’re reading this!) and started with week one. The app is simple and easy to use and I love that it tells me what to do: “warm up, jog, walk briskly, jog again, etc.” I think it’s perfect for someone like me who’s not totally new to running but hasn’t done it regularly for a while. Also, I can repeat any of the weeks as many times as I want. Or if I feel like my body needs a break I can take a week off and then get back to it the following week. It cane take as little as 9 weeks to complete or as long as....however many weeks needed.
Once complete, I should be —as the application suggests—be ready to do a 5k race! Each run is split into a bunch of intervals that include warm up, jog, walking, and cool down. Each week the intervals get a little bit more challenging with less walking and more running. I feel that the changes are very gradual allowing my body to adjust yet challenge me to propel towards progress. Like I said, breaks can be taken as needed. Will I be completing a 5k race? I don't know. To me it's all about the process. It's not that final race that will make a change in my life but the weeks I spend running will.
My absolute favorite way to run is running outside. If I had to do it on a treadmill, I'd probably quit. There is nothing as wonderful as running and observing life outside: people, plants, how the colors change during sunset, tended gardens, perfect lawns, the not so perfect lawns, homes, noticing how unique each house is. You can't see any of that on a treadmill trapped in a room or a sweaty gym. I don't mean to put treadmills down but I am because that's just how I feel.
Once used to running, I'd like to add strength/resistance training back to my schedule. I think it will be a while before I am doing both. I learned that with my personality, adding things slowly to my life is much more effective. I feel like this is true for many people. Especially after a bit of a break.
So why strength training? Strength training has so many benefits and it really is a must in any workout routine. It also is very effective. Long gone are the days when you just do 45 mins of cardio every day! Doesn't matter whether the focus is on increasing muscle mass or weight loss. I personally have been doing strength/resistance training on and off for a long time. As we age we lose muscle and our bones get weaker. Resistance training helps with all that. It is also the activity the helps sculpt our bodies. I've met people that have never done ANY cardio in the form of running, biking or swimming yet they look really fit. This is because resistance/strength training can also be cardio. It's just amazing, trust me 🙂
As with anything in life, it's really important to start slow and give ourselves proper time to get used to a new routine. It may even take a few weeks and that's totally fine. Slow progress is better than no progress at all. There is no such thing as getting in shape in 9 weeks. It takes months, even years.
My ideal workout schedule:
Day 1: run
Day 2: strength training
Day 3: run
Day 4: strength training
Day 5: run
Day 6: rest
Day 7: rest
So this is where I am at with everything and I’m excited to see where it all takes me. I want to share my experience to hopefully inspire others to start moving.
Check back regularly to see how things are going and drop me a comment or a message with any questions!