I wanted to share my story with you.
I've suffered from shin splits and side stitches while running since I was a small child. Currently, I'm at my heaviest weight and am considered obese. Being overweight has added to a host of health problems and left me with low energy and fatigue. I've cut back on calories and have been eating better since January. While my shape has improved greatly, my weight won't budge. (I'm only concerned with weight because my doctor told me I can improve several of my medical issues by dropping the number on the scale.)
I was inspired and motivated when I found out a close friend was training for a 5K (she runs her first tomorrow!). I was very nervous and apprehensive about running because I've never been able to run for more than a minute without being in pain, out of breath, and light-headed.
I'm so happy to have found this website and phone app! Yesterday, I read testimonials as well as running tips and calculated my target heart rate (~70% of max heart rate) to aim for during the running intervals. I used a foam roller to loosen up. I made the decision to try out this c25k program.
I woke up excited this morning. Today, I completed my first 30 minute session (pain-free)! I felt great afterwards. There was no light-headedness or dizziness!
3 things that really helped me out:
Breathing in through nose, out through mouth
Short, quick strides
Slow run pace
During the running session especially, I focused on breathing slowly in through my nose and out through my mouth. I have a bad habit of holding my breath while exercising. Changing my breathing pattern helped keep me from getting light-headed. I also worked on picking up my feet and placing them down more rapidly than taking my normal longer strides. This improved my running form and posture so much. My calf and shins were not aching and my feet did not have any skin rubbed raw or blisters. I've always been embarrassed regarding the speed I "run" at because it is so much slower than everyone I know (and below recommended starting speed for beginners listed on the internet). However, I decided to go at whatever speed would get me to (and keep me at) my targeted heart rate, regardless of the number on the treadmill. I read some where that you want to run as slowly as you can. That it's better to run slower longer, than to burn out in the first mile and not complete any more miles. That you if CAN run slower, it means your running too fast.
So I am going to post my speed, as a reminder to myself my baseline. I chose 3.0 mph as a comfortable, brisk walking pace and 3.8 mph as my running/jogging pace. I don't really care that others are faster. I am just thrilled that I can find a sustained activity that keeps my heart rate elevated (aerobic) that I can do. One thing that really kept me in a good mood was how I framed the session (another tip I read about yesterday). Since it takes me 5 minutes to walk to the apartment gym, I used that time as my warm-up, and afterwards, my cool down. That mean I would only be spending 20 minutes on the treadmill for an effective workout. This mindset really helped me compared to the drudgery of hour-long walking sessions that I dreaded.
About my speed and mileage, I know that comes later, after finishing 5K, 10K, etc. I'm not worried about it.
My biggest concern right now is sticking with it. I haven't had success with exercise programs in the past. So here's my goal: complete this program by doing 3 sessions a week with a rest day between each session. It's okay for me to repeat a challenging week, but my goal is to continue running each week (to not skip a week...or two). I want to see this through to the end of the program. And "my plan" is of course the pre-planned interval training by the c25k app.
Here's to a lifetime of health and happiness!