It’s 5:45 am, the alarm goes off (gross), you drag yourself out of bed (agony), do your morning routine, throw on your workout clothes, lace up your favorite running shoes, and now for the hard part, it’s time to hit the pavement. I run in the morning before my brain realizes what I’m really doing. After just completing my first marathon I can honestly say the secret to running is not running at all! Don’t get too excited just yet, this doesn’t mean turning off the alarm and burying yourself under the covers. I have found the most effective way to run and still enjoy the time I’m on the pavement is to do interval running. There are lots of different programs out there that advocate interval running. The Galloway method, for example, recommends a 3:1 mechanism where you run for 3 minutes, walk for one minute, and repeat. I’m personally a fan of the 20:5 mechanism but everyone can find a time that works for them. The benefit of this lather, rinse, repeat style of running is that you run faster, can run longer, and still feel decent (not fabulous, but decent).
So you’re not a runner? Can’t even run for 2 minutes? No problem! As recently as March 2012 I was in that same category (seriously, couldn’t do 2 laps around the track without stopping) until my best friend Kim begged me to run the Air Force Half Marathon with her. So what did I do? I probably sulked for about a week telling myself I can’t do this, how am I going to finish, everyone is going to laugh at me when I don’t make the time limit to stay on the course, etc. After I stopped feeling sorry for myself I started looking into some couch to 5k programs. There are hundreds of plans out there, all you have to do is find the one that works for you! I decided to try a 6 Week to a 5K plan I found on Fitness Magazine’s website. The link is below for your viewing pleasure and I highly recommend the program!
After starting this program I was quickly impressed with how effortlessly it felt like my stamina, and consequentially mileage, was building up. By the end of the program not only could I run a 5k without needing to take walking breaks, but I could do 7 miles using the interval method. What’s even more impressive was I looked forward to my runs. I craved the time to myself to decompress, think about whatever floated across my mind, tune out the rest of the world with some music and have some “me” time. This program gave me the running bug and in less than a year and a half since starting running, I have completed a half marathon, triathlon, and full marathon. Trust me if I can do it, any one of you can! I had the benefit of being in decent shape before I started running, I am a Jillian Michaels DVD addict! So whether you’re already in shape, or looking for that inspiration to start working out, I promise you running is rewarding and will leave you feeling proud and accomplished with a side of endorphin highs.