From Couch Potato to Running a 10K in a Few Months

In August, I started running after a few years of sitting on the couch. I ran the Peachtree Road Race back in 2007, then stopped running completely shortly thereafter. My post-40 physical decline has been distressing, so I decided I needed to get back into doing something active.

Just as I started thinking "Maybe I should start running again," I ran across a mention of the Couch-to-5K running plan in a blog. The core idea is that the plan very gradually builds up your endurance. Too many people decide "I need to start running," then go out and run a couple of miles, and then wake up in pain the following morning and decide they will never run again. C25K starts you off alternating between 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking the first week, then 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking the second week, then keeps bumping up the jogging time and reducing the walking time until you are running for 30 minutes straight.

The first couple of weeks of C25K seemed really easy, and I was tempted to skip forward a couple of weeks, but I'm glad I didn't. I think its gradual nature is the key to its success. Every other time I've gotten into running, I've had problems with pain in my right ankle, but that didn't happen this time.

There is an iPhone app that will tell you when to start running and when to start walking, so it appealed to both the geeky and lazy aspects of my personality.

I finished C25K in October, and was surprised at how easy it had been. So I decided to follow up with the 5K-to-10K program, which also has an iPhone app.

I expected going from 5K to 10K to be easier than going from 0 to 5K, but it wasn't. The first few weeks were easy, but once I got up to about five miles, it was tough to keep going. But I did it, and a few weeks ago I did my first 60-minute continuous run.

Unfortunately, this coincided with the holiday season, so while I lost 10 pounds between August and December, I put five pounds back on during December. I'll have to work on that.

Today, New Year's Day, I ran the 2013 PT Solutions Resolution Run 10K, organized by the Atlanta Track Club. It was 45 degrees and raining, so it wasn't pleasant, but I did finish, running the whole 6.2 miles except for brief walks at the water stations. My time was one hour and three minutes, which is not great, but I'm happy with it.

Next, on to the half marathon!

© 2003-2017 Kristopher Johnson