I’ve mentioned before that this is the third year I’ve attempted Couch to 5k. I just want to share my experiences with why I’ve actually stuck with it this year when I didn’t the others.
- I always have a race scheduled.
The first time I started Couch to 5k was in 2011 to train for the Law Enforcement Memorial 5k that I knew I would be running with my coworkers. However, after the 5k came and went, I didn’t have any reason to run, so I stopped after week 3 (which was probably my second or third time through week 3; it took me a while to get through it).
The second time was in 2012, just because I don’t like quitting things. However, I never entered a 5k, so after two weeks I stopped. I started up briefly again in the fall, but quickly got distracted by other things and didn’t return.
Enter 2013. I was determined to actually do it this time. I signed up for the Color Run as soon as I could. Then this year’s Law Enforcement Memorial 5k. I plan on doing some other fun runs as well, like the second Color Run and the Electric Run. As long as I have a running event I’m looking forward to, it makes me get out and run.
- I started at my own pace.
When I started Couch to 5k in 2011, it was HARD. I basically grew to dread it. I couldn’t finish the running parts. I always had to go back and repeat days and weeks. And what’s the point of doing something if I don’t enjoy it?
At the beginning of 2013, I didn’t immediately jump back into Couch to 5k. I took a month or two just running/walking on the treadmill at my own pace. I’d run until I was out of breath, then walk until I recovered, repeat. Doing this made me dread it less because I knew I was in complete control. Once I was comfortable with the amounts I was jogging, I slowly started back in Couch to 5k. But I still have days where I do my own thing, and I think this is key.
- I bought actual running gear.
The past two years, I’ve been running in some Adidas sneakers I got my freshman year of college back in 2000. They weren’t running shoes and they were old.
In February of this year (after doing my thing on the treadmill for a month and being truly determined that I wasn’t going to give up this time), I invested money in real running shoes. This helped immensely. I started paying more attention to my form and my speed began to improve almost immediately since I didn’t have clunky sneakers weighing me down.
From there, I bought some running tights, shorts, and tanks so that I didn’t feel as gross and heavy wearing sweat-soaked cotton. And I just bought my second pair of running shoes so I can switch them out and make them last longer.
There were other factors, I’m sure, but I think these are the three main ones that kept me going. Now I think it’s the endorphin rush I get when I run. I actually enjoy it. (My 18 year old self is rolling her eyes at me right now.) And a little over 2 years after I initially began, I’m almost through with my Couch to 5k journey and about to embark on 10k training.
What keeps you motivated?