By Caralyn Mirand
In case you missed it, earlier this year I set some goals for 2018 and completing a gradual 5k runner program. was one of them. The program duration lasts about eight weeks and I did it 2-4 times per week over the duration of nine weeks because of my travel schedule. I trained indoors at my gym on a treadmill. I was extremely hesitant to ever mention my running goals on my instagram but so many of you responded so positively, you helped fuel my motivation to complete this challenge. I never considered myself to be a runner so I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to complete this program... but I did and that feels darn good to say! To all of the runners and non-runners out there, here are five things I learned along the way.
Stretch it out! For real, I like to stretch before and after my runs and it makes a huge difference. I just feel so much more flexible and warmed up when I stretch. Before my post-run stretch, I always like to do a “cool down” where I walk five minutes at a moderate pace to bring down my heart rate.
It isn’t a race.
To me, it was never about being the fastest or strongest or the best. I set a goal of completing this challenge with no other expectations. As tempting as it is to look over on the treadmill next to me to see their speed and distance, I kept reminding myself that I cannot compare my journey to anyone else’s. I still don’t consider myself to be a runner but I’m sure proud that I was able to complete it on my own terms. And that’s all that matters!
I CAN run.
This for sure was probably my biggest obstacle, perhaps even a metaphor for something bigger in my life. After years of telling myself I don’t have a runner’s body or I’m too big to run, I decided to challenge that voice in my head. When I first started the program, I was really hesitant to ever post about it because I was scared I’d fail. Not that I’m entirely scared to fail, but I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be up for this challenge. I simply started it because I was bored with my current workout plan and wanted to give it a shot. I’ve proved to myself that I can run a 5K and these curves (and previously torn meniscus) were ABLE to run.
I still don’t love running.
Love is a strong word. Don’t get me wrong, I like running, I just don’t love it. When I first started, I had dreams of falling in love with running, craving the “runner’s high” that other people had experienced. After this program, I still can’t say that love running, but I do love and appreciate my body for being able to give it my best shot. Would I do it again? Yes. I still might keep up with it, but maybe try a different approach. I don’t enjoy running for 30 minutes straight, but knowing that I can is enough for me. In the future, I’d prefer 3 mins on, 2 mins off- something like that.
I can do anything that I put my mind to.
This applies to all things in life, this was just a helpful reminder. When I imagined running, I had flashbacks of my high school soccer practice and how miserable I was because I wasn’t good at running. I was never the fastest nor did I ever enjoy it because I felt like I was losing a race I wanted no part of. I really enjoyed this couch to 5K program because it is gradual and at your own pace- literally. Each day, I got better, building up my endurance, surprising myself each time I completed the day. I ran by duration- not speed or distance because I didn’t really care how fast or far I was going, I was more into being able to run for particular amount of time. For anyone considering starting the program, I say DO IT! Prove to yourself that you can, because if I can do it- you can too. This I know for sure.