Note: I am not a doctor or physical trainer, and have no fitness or health training of any kind. This is not medical advice, just me detailing what I’m doing for myself. I can’t take responsibility for the accuracy or lack thereof of this information should anyone else decide to use it, and you should always consult a medical or fitness professional before beginning any exercise routine.
With that out of the way, I’ve decided I need to do something to get in better shape. Getting a better body has never really been a goal of mine, as I’m more or less happy as I am. However, health is important to me, and it’s obvious that I’m not in the shape I used to be in. I can’t even finish a mile nonstop anymore, when I used to be able to do 1.5 back in middle school. So, I’ve decided to start running again. Nothing complicated, because I don’t have the patience for complicated programs or buying equipment. Just running got me in shape in middle school, so I imagine it should have similar (though possibly slower) results now.
At first, I decided I was just going to run the approximately two mile block around where I live. Run as much as I can, then walk until I can run again, rinse and repeat. You can probably guess what happened. I jogged for 6 minutes (about seven tenths of a mile), then promptly burned out. I spent the majority of the rest of the “run” walking, with a couple more short bursts of running. That’s not really going to cut it if I want to get better.
So I went back to a site I’d heard about before called Couch to 5k and took another look at their running program that is supposed to get one from a couch potato to running about 5 km (4.8 really, 3 miles), by running for time or distance. It starts out with short jogs followed by slightly longer walks, and looks like it’s meant to get you to build up endurance sustainably by keeping you at a relatively continuous pace despite the breaks. Takes about the same amount of time to finish a run, and I don’t feel so achy at the end. I’d call this a win. Also gets progressively harder as you go, as expected, until you’re running continuously for 30 minutes or 3 miles at the end. I’m actually not sure if I’ll stick with it the whole way or try to branch of later on, but it looks solid and for now I plan to try and just stick with it. Nine weeks seems like a really short time to get up to a 3 mile run, as that would be way more fit than I’ve ever been, in terms of endurance running.
I’ve also looked at proper breathing a bit, because let’s face it, I’ve always been a huffing and puffing machine when I run, even when I was in relatively good shape. It always felt like a matter of willpower and pushing through the discomfort to keep going with the way I was breathing. I’ve always found it hard to breathe properly while running, but I plan to give it another try. Here’s the military fitness article I’m using for now to judge if I’m about right on breathing. Looks similar to most advice I’ve read about it, so I’ll go with that for now. I’m also going to try breathing more like this during the day, so it becomes more natural to me for when I’m exercising.
I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about changing my diet for now. I eat relatively healthy lunches and dinners (though probably a touch on the salty side, I love my salt), mediocre breakfasts, and some less healthy snacks through the day. I might look at diet later, but for now, the lack of exercise is the big thing that needs fixing, so I plan to go with that first.
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