Now that I've finished the first week of Guardian's "Couch to 5k" program podcast, it's time for an assessment:
I really like it.
Ok, you know I can't just leave it at that.
From the coach's cool accent, to the 80s-esque music, to the cues for when to walk and when to run, it's just about ideal as far as I'm concerned. But there are a bazillion (well, there are a lot) of similar podcasts out there and an easy Google search will find you one that suits your tastes. But the best ones, IMHO, all follow the same proven program of walking/running with a gradual build over 8 weeks' of training.
Week 1 had me doing three workouts (I won't quite call them "runs" yet since they're more walking than running) and each one was the same: 5 min walking warmup then 8 x 60sec run/90sec walk, then 5 minute cooldown. As a non-runner, I thought this was very doable. The fact that the program has proven to get hundreds of folks off the couch and running a full 5k helps keep me motivated to see it through.
Today's run was a bonus. Since I actually started last Saturday and ran Monday & Wednesday, I was technically done with the first week a couple days ago. But I knew I wouldn't be able to run this weekend, so figured it best to start week 2 on Monday. There's no harm in just doing the same workout one additional time - provided you give your body the same chance to rest/recover.
After Wednesday's icy-road run, and resulting muscle strain/scare, I was just glad to get out at all this morning. I'm discovering this running stuff is every bit as addictive as cycling. Maybe I'm an endorphin junkie as well as an adrenaline junkie after all. So when I woke up and everything felt fine, I laced up and headed out.
Yeah, 4 times is admittedly probably 1 time too many to listen to the exact same podcast, but it had become comfortingly familiar - so much so that I knew my pace had already increased since I started the program. My first run started at the top of the first hill rather than at the bottom - and I got the thrill/scare of running down a steep hill, in the dark, under frosty (though thankfully not too icy) conditions.
Funnily enough, the only real scare I had thankfully lasted only a split second. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed another runner coming up quickly behind me. Now that gave me an adrenaline rush - until I realized that it was the streetlight playing havoc with my own shadow. Weird.
(Yeah, I just admitted that my own shadow frightened me. Moving on....)
The rest of the run followed what had become routine, except I was passing all my landmarks about 100 meters sooner than I had been earlier in the week. But I ended up in the same place I always do. By design.
So, the workout done and having a mile or so left to get home, I decided to try something different (as good as it is, I actually couldn't bear to listen to that podcast a 5th time), so I clicked on a "C25k" app I'd downloaded - RunDouble. It looks really great, has lots of features, and is available for iPhone and Android. But, try as I might, I could not get it to work. Admittedly, my phone is pretty old, so I won't blame the app, yet. I didn't have much patience for fiddling with it and had to get to work, so I did what most runners do (so I'm told): I picked out one of my favorite fast songs, cranked it up, and decided to see if I could run for the length of the whole song. Of course, I didn't really have much of an idea how long that'd be, but I knew even if I overdid it I'd have Saturday and Sunday to recover.
So off I went and up went my HR. I'm proud to say though that I made it through the whole song, over 4 minutes, which - to someone that's only been running 60 seconds at a time and for only 8 minutes total for a whole workout - felt pretty awesome.
I won't lie - I felt it a bit when I got home, but - at least mentally - I was already eager to get out for some more. God help me - I actually looked up some local 5ks during lunch today. Anybody wanna join me in Niantic on March 15th?