Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Couch to 5k Week 4: It's all in my head

Today I do my couch to 5k (week 4 day 2) run. I did my couch to 5k week 4 day 1 run on Monday (and then an hour of strength training with some intense cardio mixed in – I was soooore yesterday, and I’m still recovering today!).

Monday’s run went better than I expected. It’s strange – at the end of every week I doubt that I’m ready for the next week, and so far every week I’ve been able to it. This week I have to run 5 minutes at a stretch two different times. I’m pretty sure I’ve never run that long in my life. I certainly haven’t run 5 minutes at a stretch in my adult life, anyway. And if I did it as a kid it would only have been when it was demanded by a brutish gym teacher.

I slowed my pace for the 5 minute run – I’m finding that I can’t keep up the faster pace that I was going when I was only running a minute at a time. (And my faster pace was pretty slow! Oh well.) I focused on my breathing and got through it with minimal discomfort. I was worried about side stitches, but they didn’t happen. I did have some very very slight pain in my right knee, which is new. Hopefully that won’t become a problem for me.

I am to the point where I’m starting to see that running is as much mental as physical. Running 5 minutes … well, this may sound wimpy, but it seemed like a long time. I had a lot of thoughts of “is the 5 minutes over yet?” and “why would anyone ever want to run this long?” and “if running 5 minutes feels this long, how am I going to run 30 minutes?” etc. etc. etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of positive self talk, and I told myself that I was doing great and to keep it up, and that the folks who designed the couch to 5k program know what they’re doing, and that people run 5k’s all the time and I’m no different from those people, and that I could do it.

So, I could talk myself into continuing using positive self-talk, but I also had all those other not-so-positive thoughts. I have a feeling that I’m going to have quite a mental debate on my hands for the next 6-8 weeks. If any of you guys are runners and you have any suggestions to the mental side of this running thing, I’m all ears. If I can stop those negative voices sooner rather than later it would be a good thing.

I’m a little concerned about having the positive talk, the negative talk, and the music/walk-run instructions on my iPod all happening at the same time. With all that, I’m going to be so distracted as I run down the street that I’ll get flattened by a car.

Ack! I want flat abs, but that’s not the way to get them!


Ready Maid said...

Instant flat abs! That's hilarious...but don't do it!!

I am SO watching your progress, knowing that as you find solutions to your challenges, they will help me...the REAL wimpy one who has always said, "I can't run." But now, I'm at least jogging at a 4.2 mph pace - so far, though, only three minutes at a time.

Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

You know, I think you're doing great with this. In fact, you've inspired me to start it, and I've gone so far as to print out the C25K schedule. I haven't actually started it know, the hard part. ;-) But I'm getting there.

When I originally learned about the concept a year or so ago I was pretty sure I couldn't do it. Now I'm thinking maybe I can. I know I'm in better shape,'s scary.

As you said, it's very much a mental process. But you've done so well! Congrats on your loss too, that's great!


Anonymous said...

I have checked in on the couch25k program and it seems great. However, I don't think my knee it going to allow me to do it. But I plan on trying on Friday and seeing how I feel.

I think you are making terrific progress. It is not an easy thing to do. But the fact that you are doing your best shows that you are truly determined.

Great Job!

Stephanie said...

Hey - thanks for coming by my blog and for your good wishes. Running is SO mental - the more distance you begin to do, the more you will see that! Years ago my husband and I trained for a marathon and I really could see that mind/body connection thing at work. And no matter what your distances, the first 10 minutes ALWAYS sucks. Get through it and you're smooth sailing until the body says no more! Good luck to you. Will stop by to watch your progress.

Kate said...

I agree with you, running is totally mental. If you don't feel like doing it, it's amazing how hard you can make it!

sauchagirl said...

No, you don't want flat abs that way!

It is so much mental it's not even funny. I know yesterday when I was running for a while it was painful and I kept thinking about the pain. And then something happened about midway and my legs just kind of took over and ran and my mind was focused and positive about keeping going. The self talk has always been my issue and I can talk myself out of anything.

Your doing great! Keep it up! I'm amazed by all that you've accomplished so far!

Nicole said...

LOL! That's hilarious. No, we certainly don't want you to have flat abs in that way.

What are you listening to on your iPod, exactly? Is it appropriately motivating? You said it's walk/run instructions. Could you time yourself on a watch to do the walk/run and listen to something else on the iPod?

Nicole said...

RE your question: My counselor is a civilian. I could get free counseling from the VA, but I prefer to stay as far away from the VA as I can. I personally haven't had the best experiences with them. That's why I'm shocked that my psychiatrist is as good as he is.

I told my counselor she could contact my shrink if she needs to, but I can't fathom a situation where that would need to happen. I'm a pretty easy patient, I think. :o)

Pattie said...

I can'tt offer you any advice on running, seeing that I'm still in the couch potato stage! But I want you to know how motivating you are to me. Every time I check in and read of your progress AND your determination, I walk away thinking that I CAN do this very hard thing of getting healthy.

Oh, and crunches will do the flat-ab trick faaaar better than a car will! ;-)

Many thanks.

paul said...

What do you do for your (intense) cardio?

It sounds like you're making great progress. I admire your ability to just get out there and do it.

S said...

Way to go on the running! I think 5 minutes is a great accomplishment and it is a long time to run. I just ran 2 consecutive minutes last night and that was tough!! I really know what you mean about running being a mental thing. I don't have any advice (because I'm not a "real" runner yet) but I definitely know what you are saying. It sounds like you are doing great and really progressing with the C25K program. I'm sure you'll be running 30 minutes before you know it.

Felicia said...

LOL Ok you so know I am not a runner BUT with that YOU ARE and you are doing great!! I am inspired everytime I read how your doing. Can you believe where you were just not to long ago!!! Run a 5 minute stretch for me would ya! LOL


Heather said...

self talk definitely helps, of course when its positive! so often we do talk to ourselves and its never anything positive, so I thikn its great that you can keep telling yourself to kick butt, and you are!

MomOf3 said...

Yep you don't want flat abs that way! Ha ha! Good for you for getting a run in AND the cardio + strength training! I am impressed.

I don't think I can help with the negative voices in your head because I am not as far along in the program as you are. My only thought: Get some positive, upbeat music that you love to play during your run. Let me know if you find something that works for you!!

Great job!!

Cammy said...

No, that's a little TOO thin. LOL

Congrats on the great running week! You CAN do this, and it makes me so happy to see that you KNOW that.

**Top Secret Cammy Trick for Ridding Oneself of Negative Voices**: Imagine the little negative voice in human form, sitting on one of your shoulders. Make a circle of your thumb and finger and flick that little you-know-what to kingdom come. (Note: Expletives make them fly farther away.)


Grumpy Chair said...

You are doing great on the C25K. The longest I was able to run was 12 minutes but it was a lot easier for me on the treadmill - killed my knees when running outside.

Are you signed up for a 5K yet?

Tina said...

I'm sorry I've been a little absent lately but you know what I love about you (and forgive me for sounding like Paula on AI but..).. you are SO consistent. Consistently kickin' A out there.. pounding the pavement, telling the scale to take THAT and then THAT.

Two summers ago I was running 2 miles, every other day. It is tough. The only thing that works for me is the loud music, usually Britney or Christina, that gets me pumped up that I'm not even paying attention to how long I've been running.

My mom was a runner... I mean 8-10 miles at a time. Ugh. I'm just jealous. But she always said the first 5 minutes (usually the first mile for her) were the hardest.. everything else was cake.

So, I don't think I really helped with advice except to encourage the human speed bump flat abs!

Becky-BBW said...

Being fat is ok as long as you're fit--I like this saying when I first time found it on the

Kristy said...

I've just found you blog and I'm really enjoying reading it. I know exactly what you are going through with your running as about 12 mths ago I was in the same spot. I never thought I could run (and trust me I thought everyone who said that before me was lying, but they weren't). I had never been able to run, but now I have ran 12 km's without stopping, which took 1 hr 12 mins. You will get to 5 km's and you will really enjoy it. You will slowly get fitter and you will feel amazingly good at the end. Keep up the great work and great to find your blog :)


Linda said...

I have heard it said that whilst running you have to focus on the breathing, I don't run so don't know for sure but it sounds logical to me.

WELL DONE for running because it is blummin hard work.

Hugs x

Bev said...

WTG on the running! ; )

Julia said...

Awesome... I love your blog. I know exactly what you mean about the mental side of running. I have to really bring out the positive me to squash my inner critic. I’ve got this terrible 'I cant’ attitude towards running that has totally stopped my couch to 5k. I’m going to get back into it though because I really want to run. I’m going to try the podcasts you have been using.... might be a help. Reading your blog has been a big source of inspiration to get back on track. THANKS