As the title may have already told you, I have officially signed up to run my first 5K! On May 18th I will be running in a 5K called colorsmacked at the Champlain Valley fair grounds! For more information you can visit the web page here. While I am more than excited to take on this new adventure and step (well, run) completely out of my comfort zone, I have found myself needing to really dig down and force myself to exercise and train in hopes that I might actually successfully run the entire 5K. You see, I have been reading a lot about getting back into shape after giving birth and while I have found many of the blog posts that I have come across to be inspiring, I have also noticed that they focus a lot on women who were in shape before birth. Well let me be honest, I just frankly was not. So this whole running and getting an exercise routine thing is a whole new ball game! Fortunately the blog posts that I have read have not only been inspiring but have also once again provided me with that comforting ‘I’m not the only one’ feeling. Especially one that I found on the Burlington VT moms blog. You can find it here. The biggest thing that this post helped me realize was that I need to stop being so hard on myself. For example;
The first time I decided to go running I was so excited! I put on my workout gear, set up my ipod, grabbed my water bottle and head outside. I made sure it was early so I had plenty of time to run, I was assuming I would just go ahead and run 30 minutes. I mean why not, it couldn’t be that hard right? So I walked over to the bike path right next to my house (I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly convenient and helpful this is) and started to lightly jog thinking I would just quickly work my way up and start running. Well about 15 seconds in I started huffing and puffing and got that oh so wonderful side stich. So I stopped and said to myself ‘Oh I’ll just wait until that goes away and then I’ll run in intervals, 5 minutes running 1 minute walking’. So I walked a bit and then started running again…once again it just did not work! Needless to say 5 minutes later I found myself completed defeated and ready to throw my running shoes into the garbage and tape myself to the couch where I belonged for the rest of my life. Thankfully I did not do either and instead I decided to try going to the gym and starting on a treadmill. After a few days of this I went outside and finally said to myself ‘if I can just run for 1 minute than I have taken a step’. One week later I have now been able to run 3 miles; okay I do intervals of 1.5 minutes of walking to 2 minutes of running, but it’s a start and it is a huge improvement from where I began!
To keep myself motivated and on the right track I have some little tricks:
My first trick for staying on task has been utilizing social media. I use an app called runtastic.com (yes, this is a real app). What this app does is it allows me to hit the start button as I get ready to run and using GPS it tracks how far I run and my pace. It then allows me to input additional data, such as how I am feeling, what the weather was, my heart rate ect. After I input the data and hit finish it automatically uploads to my facebook page. On my facebook page all of my friends are able to see how far and how fast I ran. This sort of public sharing not only encourages me to continue running but also to improve my time. It’s my way of keeping myself on track and motivated.
I have also started using an app that is compatible with both the Iphone and Android called 5K pro-run your first 5K from Zero. This app is my 2nd secret weapon. It begins by setting me on a pace of running 1 minute, then walking 1.5 minutes for 30 minutes for 3 days. Then it upgrades to running for 1.5 minutes and walking for 2 minutes for another 3 days. It will continue to upgrade until it reaches the point where I am running a continuous 30 minutes. I love this app because it allows me to build my stamina and stay focused. It helps track my progress and keep me motivated. I highly highly recommend using intervals for anyone who is trying to get started in running.
My final trick for running has been getting my family involved! I have done this with the generous help of our Aunt Nancy (who I cannot thank enough)! She helped us purchase an unbelievably amazing double jogging stroller that has allowed me to start running in the morning with the girls! We bought this stroller and have loved the results, so far each time we have used it our daughters have fallen asleep which has made it wonderful because not only do I get exercise but they also get a nap and some fresh air!
I have also been able to convince Matt to run with me which has been great for both of us! It really helps me to have someone there to keep me motivated and it has been nice to spend some time outdoors with him being active and healthy!
So with this in mind I guess I really just want to say even if you have never run before, or have and are struggling to get back into it, it is more than possible and it doesn’t matter how small you start as long as you do start! Baby steps are still steps and if you keep at it than you can do it! You just have to figure out what works for you and with that in mind I’m going to go try and figure out what else I can do to keep myself going! Wish me luck!