I know you’re thinking there’s no way you’ll ever be able to run a 5k race. However, as you lose weight and gain more mobility, you’re going to find that you have more stamina and energy than ever. A great way to test your abilities is by signing up for a 5k race, which is a fun event that usually raises money for a good cause. It seems intimidating, but if you download the Couch to 5k App on your phone and follow their program, you’ll be running to the finish line in no time! This app actually makes running fun, as it allows you to run at your own pace. You can feel yourself getting stronger and faster, which is always motivating.
The App that Makes Running Fun
Couch to 5k (C25k for short) is an app for your smartphone (available for iPhones or Androids) that is like a personal trainer in your pocket. It’s an eight-week program where you train three days a week for 30 to 40 minutes. You start off slow and alternate between walking and running (or jogging). It has an audio coach that tells you when to run, when to walk and how many more running segments you have left. There is also some music available on the app, but you can also use your own music.
The app and Web site boasts that C25k claims it will take you from a coach potato to a 5k runner (3.1 miles) in eight weeks. It really doesn’t matter your fitness level because I believe this program would help people of all fitness levels. For the first time in my life, I found something that makes running fun. I really enjoyed my training. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind as you go through the program.
Don’t Peak Behind the Curtain!
When you download the app and see the workout for the first day, it seems doable. But, please, don’t do what I did! I wanted to see how the program progressed, so I glanced at the workout for the last week. I was completely intimidated! There was no way I was going to be able to run 20 minutes straight. These people were crazy!
I was so overwhelmed at the thought of running for 20 minutes straight, that I almost gave up before I began. However, one of my post-op goals was to get back to running, so I knew I wanted to do it. I put on my brave pants and went with it. After all, it’s not like they’re asking you to run a marathon.
The geniuses behind this app knew what they were doing because by the time I got to the running for 20 minutes, I was enjoying and looking forward to my runs so much, that the 20 minutes flew by! I know it seems hard and scary at first. However, stick with it, and you’ll see results too. This app really does make running fun, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. You’ll be ready for your race in no time!
The reason I used this app, and the reason I recommend it to everyone is simple: the C25k program takes baby steps to the intimidating task of running three miles. You start off slowly, running for only about thirty seconds at a time. Each day you build up and run a little more, walk a little less. We all know that slow and steady wins the race, and this program slowly builds you up to complete your first race.
Whenever it seems too scary and like I can’t possibly run that far, I give myself a pep talk. I say, “If I can put up with [insert incredibly hard situation] for so long, I can run for one minute.” Reminding myself that I have been through harder situations than simply running gives me the push I need to at least try the workout. Making running fun is a hard task, but Zen Labs Fitness knocked it out of the park. Again, trust that the people who designed this program know what they’re doing because it worked for me. It can work for you too! Start training for your race today!
So What’s the Downfall?
I know that I am hyping up C25k, but that’s only because I love it so much. However, there are a few downsides to the program. As with any workout regimen, you should get your doctor’s permission before starting C25k. While the app makes running fun, it can be hard on your knees, so if you experience discomfort, you should contact your doctor. Expect some soreness, but nothing should necessarily be painful. It’s also helpful to stretch after running so your calf and thigh muscles don’t get tight.
I personally had problems with plantar fasciitis. I found stretches online and rolled my foot over a frozen water bottle to help ease the pain. Remember not to over do your exercise. It’s okay to push yourself (and you should!), but not to the point of injury. We want you to be able to get to your race day and succeed. Who knows, maybe you’ll even try a marathon one day!
It’s Like Rain on Your Training Day
If you’re running outside, a downside can be the weather. Some of my training days occurred in rainy or possibly rainy days. I ran in drizzling rain, pouring rain, hot sun, cold wind and moderate temperatures. It’s up to you if you run on those days when the temperature or weather isn’t perfect. I found the varying weather helped my endurance. Also, if you wait for perfect weather, you’ll end up waiting forever! Honestly, the rain made running more fun. I loved that extra sprinkle of water on me while I was running.
Maybe this is showing my age a little, but I found their music player to be too confusing on the app and not worth the extra money. I used Pandora instead. I also wish it tracked the distance in the free version. You can use Map My Run to track your distance instead. It would just be nice to do this all in one app without having to pay for the premium app.
A Wanted Side Effect: Weight Loss
Another reason you need to try this program is because the cardio will boost your weight loss. My surgeon told me the reason I have been so successful is because I exercise regularly. When I was doing C25k, I ran three days a week and did strength training two days a week.
As a bariatric patient, it’s super important to incorporate exercise into your daily life. Whether it’s parking further from the door at the grocery store or doing the C25k program, exercise will boost your weight loss. C25k is a great option because it builds the strength in your legs and increases your endurance. These bonuses to the program make C25k the only running program I’ll do.
Makes Running Fun
It’s the only running program that made running fun and easier. The more you do it and commit to the program, the easier it gets. It is hard at first, there’s no doubt about it. However, the running gets easier and even – GASP – enjoyable! Just keep up with it, and you’ll see results.
I know you’re thinking that it’s so hard for you to find time for yourself between work, kids and the endless household chores that need done. However, when you decided to get this surgery, you decided to make yourself a priority. There is no shame in bettering yourself. Remember that you are doing all of this work so your kids will have their mom around for a long time. Taking 30-40 minutes three times a week to work on your goals isn’t asking for much. You can do it. Just make an appointment time for yourself to run each week, and you’ll be able to do it! If you have issues with feeling guilty about putting yourself first, read this post I wrote about how to overcome the guilt.
Better yet – get your kids in on the action and have them run with you! 5k races are a great family event to do together. I even know a family who regularly runs together, and they say it brings them closer together. The memories you make are worth it.
Another reason you’ll love running with C25k program is because it is a great stress reliever. For me personally, I was able to channel all of my frustrations and emotional problems into the pavement. It was just me, my music, C25k, and the park. I started the program at about six weeks post op and over 300 pounds. The first several months after surgery are tough emotionally. Your hormones are all over the place, and you need a new way to deal with your emotions that doesn’t involve food or alcohol. C25k is a great way to process all that your feeling and take out your frustrations.
The Only Running App to Try
While C25k has its limitations, I highly recommend it as it tremendously helped me train for my first 5k post op. If running is a post-op goal of yours and I hope that some form of physical activity is, C25k is the only running app to use. It will give you the baby steps you need to be able to complete your race. Don’t get overwhelmed when you peak ahead, instead relish in the possibilities. The added exercise will boost your weight loss, and running does get easier over time. It will help process all your emotions, since you can’t turn to food or alcohol. Download the app today, you won’t regret it!
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
Couch to 5k is by far the best running app there is! It makes running fun by slowly challenging you to run a little more and walk a little less. The audio coach tells you when to run and when to walk. It slowly progresses you from mostly walking, to eventually running 20 minutes. The slow progression keeps you motivated, and you can listen to your favorite music as you run!