Three years ago, I couldn’t even walk down the road, forget running without getting out of breath. My knees hurt, my feet hurt and my lower back ached. I was living a sedentary lifestyle. I had no exercise routine. Oh and I weighted 118kg’s. I pretty much hated myself. I hated that my body was so weak. That I was so unfit. That everything made me out of breath and sweaty and tired.
Then I started banting and with each milestone I achieved, the desire to be fitter, better, stronger and healthier grew.
I knew exercise was the key.
And so one day I went for a walk. And then suddenly, I wanted to walk every day. And then that desire grew and I decided to see if I could run a little bit. And then I started running in short bursts during my walks. And then I found that I could run further and for longer periods of time. And then I didn’t want to stop.
And now, running gives me so much joy. It’s a privilege to be able to run. To feel my legs burn, to pound the pavement, to feel my body working and to know that I did that.
Running has become a part of my life. I train, for nothing in particular, but I train 5-6 days a week. Five of those days are spent running and one day is spent horse riding, which even after just 3 sessions, I can feel, has had a huge impact on my core strength and my legs. It’s my me time. A time when don’t I can go inside my head and let my body instinctively take over. I literally zone out. It’s like my form of meditation. It’s how I prepare myself for the day ahead. It helps me get in the game. It sets the tone for my day.
So many people have commented on my work outs on Instagram asking how I do it. How I find the time, where and how to start.
So here are my tips for going from a couch potato to a 5km runner:
Set a goal:
A 5km goal is a good start. A 5km run is often referred to by runners as the holy grail of fitness running. It’s just long enough to get in a good workout, but without over exerting yourself. Regular 5km runs build great base fitness. They don’t take too long either, especially for us busy working mom’s where time is often limited.
There are loads of GREAT free apps out there that you can use to track your distances and most of these app’s come with a built in coach, so you can set your 5km goal and realistically work to achieve it.
I use Nike Running Club, it has a great coaching app, so no matter what your goal, 5k’s, 10km’s, half or full marathon, the app will guide you. And it’s personalized too, so you can set your starting point as couch potato and grow from there. Check out the Nike Running Club 5km plan here.
Set a time & stick to it:
This is easier said than done. But find what works for you and stick with it. For me, the only time I have to train is between 6am and 6:45am. I can’t go earlier as my husband is at the gym between 5am and 6am. I can’t go later because I’ll be late for dropping Hannah at school and late for work. I can’t run in the evenings because that’s when I’m cooking supper and packing school lunches so that time works for me.
It’s not always easy, especially in winter, when it’s cold and dark. But I try to keep up with my schedule as much as possible.
Share your progress:
I’ve found that generally, people are hugely supportive of my efforts and it helps to keep me motivated. Also sharing my runs on social media helps me stay accountable by using you for my accountability.
Ask for support:
From your family and friends and join running communities. The advice and support is invaluable. And even just talking to my husband about my running escapades helps him realize just how important this is for me. Because we have young children and are married, our time is a partnership, we had to rearrange our schedules to allow for both of us to work out. Walter has always been active. I was a couch potato and initially it was hard for him to adjust his schedule to allow for me to have work out time too. But we negotiated and worked out a way that would allow both of us to train.
Also I’ve found joining online running communities helps keep me motivated, I’m encouraged by other peoples accomplishments and efforts and these groups have provided tons of support and useful tips and advice.
Just DO IT! No excuses. You can. Start slow, build your strength, build your fitness and just get out there. But most of all, just enjoy it!