Couch to 5k

Y’all, I don’t know about Couch to 5k, but I’ve hit Couch to Less of a Lazy Bastard and it is AWESOME.

C25K is a running program that gradually gets you ready to run 5k (or three miles) on a regular basis.  I use “Get Running,” an app on my iPhone, that plays in the background of my music and then a nice lady from New Zealand prompts me when to run and walk.  You start out running for 1 minute, then walking for 1.5 minutes, then repeating 8 times.  That little tiny bit can kick you butt if you’re not used to it.  And I was NOT.  I never really played sports in school and in college the most exercise I got was sword fighting, tap-dancing badly and keg stands.  (Theatre kid.)  However, my dad has always been a runner and has tried to get me into it with little result.  Usually because he was a drill sargent and I was a 12 year old fat kid who just wanted to read a book.  Apparently this running thing is in my genes, because now?  I kinda love it.

I started C25k a while back but had to stop due to injury and never started again. Which was stupid. Seriously, seriously stupid and I regret it. But now I’m on Week 4 and it is whipping my butt in the best possible ways.

Week 1 and 2 were a little rough.  Getting back into any kind of exercise routine is a pain, literally and figuratively.  However, I knew I’d regret if I quit again, so I didn’t stop.  No matter how much I wanted to.  (LORD, did I want to.)

But in Week 3, I started that while out of town for a bridal shower at my in-law’s. Normally, this would be the perfect excuse for me to not do anything, but I brought my running clothes, my headphones and my armband and at 8am on a Saturday morning, I set my little butt to runnin’.

This week was notable in that it was when I finally found my runner’s high again. Now, running is never fun for me. But there hits a point, usually halfway through, that I’m running along and suddenly I realize, “Hey. I’m not dying. HEY!! I’M NOT GOING TO DIE!!!” And I get so excited that the rest of the run is cake. (Mmm. Cake.) And when I finish and I’m stretching, I’m out of breath but not crazily so, I’m sore but in a good way and I’m super proud of myself because I DID NOT DIE.  And I feel great, tired but great and sometimes…and this is so weird, but I want to keep going.  Sometimes I do for a little bit, but I try not to push myself beyond a certain limit yet.  Because I might hurt myself again and then have to stop for a while and start all over.  And that is is worst than an injury.

I’m not going to lie.  I do NOT look pretty when I run.  Please don’t think that because I like it that I do it well.  All my jiggly bits are bouncing around and my pants are either falling down or hiked way up and they’re showing my mismatched socks and I’m moving slow enough that toddlers walking after ducks on the trail are out-pacing me.  But I AM RUNNING.  Slow, sweaty, jiggly, not pretty running.  But it’s running nonetheless and it’s awesome.

I mentioned my C25K journey on Twitter and SO many of y’all said you were doing it too!  So I think I need to have a weekly support post for all of us who want a little support in each others running endeavors.  So in the comments, tell me if you’re starting or doing c25K (or something similar) and I’ll contact you.  This will give y’all some cheering on and me some accountability when I just want to sit on the couch and watch Dr. Who and eat coconut milk ice cream.

Also?  I got Jethro to start going with me.  He’s just started Week One on Saturday and I’m so excited to see how he does.  And now that I just told the internet on him, he’ll have to continue lest face the recriminations of strangers, family members and friends.  (WHAT?  It’s tough love.)

Image from here.

45 comments on “Couch to 5k

  1. Christine
    April 25, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    Yahoo! I just started week 1 on Saturday, like your hubs. Off to the gym now for run number 2. Excited to hear about your progress – will definitely help to keep me motivated to keep going! I also just love that lovely lady’s voice “You have 30 seconds left of this run” never sounded so good!

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      YAY! You’re awesome for being a mornign runner; that was my favorite thing when we lived next to the trail but now that I have to drive there it’s not so fun.
      And she’s so encouraging! Not too perky but not firm either. I need her to cheerlead my life…

  2. Kristin
    April 25, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    “Usually because he was a drill sargent and I was a 12 year old fat kid who just wanted to read a book.”

    Yes. I have lots of these sorts of memories of the track at our local YMCA.

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:27 am #

      I just don’t think I was ready at that age because it just wasn’t fun. And Army dads aren’t good for making things like running fun, unfortuantely….

  3. Jo
    April 25, 2011 at 8:14 am #


    I’m doing Couch to 10K, just finished Week 1. I think it went well b/c two of three days I went w/ C because I could run in circles around him during the run parts and walk the rest. The other day I used it to run to the post office for wedding invite stamps.

    I think I need new shoes. But I’m not hating it too much.

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:27 am #

      That’s so cool! 10k?!? That’s…far. You’re a hoss.

  4. meghan
    April 25, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Coconut milk ice cream has become my pregnancy pal. I can’t join you due to the babe (If I had been running already I could, but they don’t recommend starting and it is the best excuse ever), but I can wave a banner amd cheer loudly!

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      It makes me not miss real ice cream. Almost…

      And thanks for the cheering! I actually looked up jogging and pregnancy the other day because I had a sudden thought, “What if I get pregnant, will I have to stop running???” and I hated the idea.
      I also hated the fact that the website told me that you need to keep your internal temp below 101 and the best way to check that is a rectal thermometer. REALLY?
      That’s what I get for googling everything all the time. I’ll just wait to talk to my doc when the time comes….

  5. ddayporter
    April 25, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    “I was a 12 year old fat kid who just wanted to read a book. ” YES that was me tooo! Didn’t have a drill sargent dad but I did have an outdoorsy not-much-of-a-book-reader dad who would always yell at me to get outside.

    anyway I am not doing C25K but just wanted to come by and say RA RA RA!! I’ll be here with Meghan, waving my banner and cheering you on! 🙂

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      I’m so gonna picture you both on my jog today, waving handmade signs done on neon poster board! It’ll be my motivation!

  6. Rowan
    April 25, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    Congrats, that is great that you are sticking with it and enjoying it.

    The thing I’ve realized about exercise is that I’m NEVER going to want to do it. There will always be a part of me arguing to skip it and sit on the couch instead. But I (usually) feel better after even if it was a struggle to get started.

    For me, it is no longer (only) an issue of vanity (although it still is a bit). My future father in law just had his 16th surgery (hip replacement this time) and he is not even 60. A lot of those surgeries could have been avoided if he had exercised and eaten better his whole adult life. When I look at other relatives and friends who are 60, 65, or even 75 and still hiking mountains in Alaska or playing on senior Olympic basketball teams (that is the 75 year old), I think THAT is how I want to be when I’m that age. And it starts now.

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:41 am #

      YES. You are doing it for the best reasons! My dad had a quintuple bypass almost ten years ago and he has never been overweight in his life. Considering that I have that kind of genetic history and that pain that our family went through because of the surgery, it makes for even better motivation.

      Best wishes to your father-in-law and I’m SO jealous of that 75 year old! That is AMAZING!!!

  7. KatjaMichelle
    April 25, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Confession: I attempted C25K once and failed..well technically I quit…and I toy with the idea of trying again, but I don’t want to fail again. So instead I just justify it by telling myself that I shouldn’t force myself to run when I know I hate running instead I should keep looking for something active that is a little less torturous…except that I’ve yet to find that less torturous activity…so yeah maybe this time I’ll go back to C25K and stop making excuses…maybe…

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      Nah, you might be on the right track with finding something else. I hear that a LOT of people quit C25K, especially around week four like I did. But doing it before made it SO much easier to go back, even though I weigh more now that I did when I was on it. And you didn’t fail before, you were testing the waters to see if you liked it. Try again with us and if you still hate it, that just means that you didn’t find your niche yet! (If you feel like you need to find a niche…)

      Hell, if I hadn’t done this post I might still have quit C25K before I finish, except now I’ve put it out there so I gotta be accountable for finishing. 🙂 I had an AMAZING run on Thursday of last week, but my Saturday run SUCKED BALLS, even though it was the same routine as my Thursday one. My body is kind of a d-bag…

  8. craftosaurus
    April 25, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Oh, you have such good timing. I’ve been a runner (or a shuffle-alonger) for years, but an injury sidelined me and now I’m finding it difficult to get back into to swing of things. The 5k I’m registered for in — dear gawd! — two weeks is providing some motivation, but mostly freak-out.

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      AHHHH! 2 weeks!!! I looked at a calendar for one in September and was like, “Eh…that might be too soon.”

      You are amazing, keep me updated on it! (No, seriously, for reals. I wanna know how you do!)

  9. Ms. Bunny
    April 25, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I totally get you on the OMG I’m not going to die thing. That’s my favorite part of exercise I think. Just knowing that I can do it.

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      YES! And then you’re all, “Suck it, flab, I’m AMAZING!”

  10. Vee
    April 25, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    I actually started doing the C25K on my elliptical (yes, cheating, definitely – but I’m in PA and spring is still “on her way”). We’re currently in the process of moving into a house, so my days have been kind of full, so I’m on a hiatus right now. But when we’re settled, I’ll be taking it back up OUTSIDE, like an actual RUNNER! I will have to let you know how it goes =) But I’m really excited about it. Could it be that I might be capable of running?!? Perhaps.

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      YAY! I do C25K on the treadmill sometimes, but it just gets tedious. Plus, I think you’re supposed to do a different program if you’re on the treadmill? Maybe? I might be making that up.

      Running outside is just so much more fun. I like to imagine conversations the ducks and squirrels have as I pass by.
      “There goes that chunky girl again…10 bucks says she passes out.”
      “Nah, look at where her pants don’t fit. She’s got her snowflake undies on, she means business.”

  11. Nikki
    April 25, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Hey, I just started today! Last week I downloaded Get Running and it took me a week to psych myself up to start. I hate running. Like even thinking of it flashes me back to gym class last-person-to-finish-the-mile horror. It’s a struggle to get out there, and I’m also trying to find ways to be accountable. So I’m down for a weekly support post.

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      YAY FOR YOU!!!

      LORD, that was an awful feeling. Know what helps me when I don’t want to go? Not thinking about it. Either wearing my running clothes to bed or heading to the bedroom to put them on as soon as I get home. Because if I think about it, I will probably talk myself out of it. But if I treat it like something that I’m going to do and not think about why or why not, it helps…. Did that make sense?

      • Nikki
        April 26, 2011 at 8:43 am #

        It did help, actually! That first day was a disaster (The full story is here : if you want to know, although I’m not trying to do that ‘I’m commenting so you’ll read my new blog!’ thing)
        This morning I got up, looked out the window at the rain…and put on my spanking new running clothes, leashed up my dog, grabbed my iPod, and just went. It kicked my butt…but in a good way, you know? I haven’t hit the runner’s high stage, but right now ‘That sucked less than the last time’ is enough for me 🙂

        • kindofamess
          April 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

          Of course I want to know!!! And I’m sorry it was a disaster, but definitely try to stick with it. It gets easier, although I will have bad days. Last Thursday was AMAZING and then Saturday was horrible. Just HORRIBLE. But I’m sticking with it because I WILL NOT LET IT BEAT ME!!! 🙂

  12. Jen
    April 25, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Gah! So funny you wrote about this because I did C25k (and used their app on my iPod Touch, which was AWE.SOME.)… I started Jan 1 (yes, I am a walking cliche), but here comes the big news…


    I know. I was totally the chubby 12-year old reader girl and my siblings were always on soccer teams. This weekend we were all home for Easter and my sister and I went on a run together for the first time in our lives- 7 miles later, we were caught up on boyfriends and grad school and everything in-between. It was awesome. 🙂

    • kindofamess
      April 25, 2011 at 11:59 am #


      That is so great! Is it terrible I’m just as impressed that you were talking for seven miles as I am that you’re training for a haf-=marathon??

  13. Ariel
    April 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Yeah for theatre geeks learning to run!!
    I started running a few months ago in an attempt to earn activity points for WW and avoid the actual gym. This past Saturday I accidently ran 5K. I knew the run was harder than usual because when I stopped I dry-heaved like a marathon runner (hard-core) but I thought it was just because I hadn’t gone out in over five days. When I mapped the route that evening I felt totally justified eating two chocolate muffins and having a nap that afternoon.

    • kindofamess
      April 26, 2011 at 11:19 am #

      That is so funny, I love it! I think I’d run a lot harder and longer if I knew there would be chocolate muffins at the end of it….

  14. Natalie
    April 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    A may have to download this app! The day after Easter always seems to mark the day I start caring about exercise again after winter. That, and a month from today I’ll be at the beach. I better get hustlin’!

    • kindofamess
      April 26, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      I LOVE it. The only thing that blows is now that I’m getting into the thick of it, the weather is turning all swamp-a*s….

  15. Kristy
    April 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I must get back on the C25K bandwagon. It was good while I was doing it, but then I stopped. (LAZY) I have no excuse now. Really. Time to download one of the programs. (Do you know if yours is available on Android?)

  16. rebecca
    April 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    I am soooo NOT a runner, but I do enjoy the runners high when it’s all said and done. I like to run(/walk) 5k’s because of the crowd that cheers you on as you go by. If I could have the crowd for every run I do (and the finish line, I like that too), I would totally be out there every day. My friend talked me into running the Bay to Breakers in San Fran in (gulp) mid May and I’m pretty sure it’s going to kill me. 12k. WTF? Anyway, I could totally do with some motivational emails too – it’s late in the game for the 12k, but it’s better than nothing, right?

    • kindofamess
      April 26, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      WHAT? You do 5k’s, are signed up for a 12k IN TWO STINKING WEEKS and you’re soooo NOT a runner?

      BAH, I say. You’re a runner. Just the thought of a 12k makes me want to have a lie-down. You are so a runner….

      • rebecca
        April 26, 2011 at 11:40 am #

        The thought of the 12k is totally freaking me out. I usually walk half of the 5ks I do. A 12k? In San Francisco with all those hills? Yep, freaking out. But I hear there are open bars along the route, so I might be okay. 🙂

  17. Chantelle
    April 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Love it! I’m on Week 1 (for the 2nd week…cause yeah I’m that outta shape) and I totally had this incredible high when I just finished my first succesful run. I’m not remotely athletic….very big clutz in fact. I signed up for this thing called Warrior Dash, and its a 5K run with OBSTACLES, like jumping over flames and swimming through mud under barbed wire. And I have to say the fear that I will maim, cripple or disfigure myself is an amazing motivator to get of my butt. Yup, I’m motivated by two things, fear and food.
    So excited about the C25K motivational group 🙂

    • kindofamess
      April 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

      Dear Lord, you are brave. Keep me updated!!!

  18. Jackie
    April 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    First time commenting, but I’ve been silently reading for awhile after I discovered your blog through APW! After you last post on C25K, I bought the app and went out for 1 run before coming down with a severe case of strep throat. I’m finally feeling better and have been trying to talk myself into starting again tonight. I think your post has given me the motivation!

    • kindofamess
      April 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      YES! Did you go? It’s okay if you didn’t go…but if you didn’t you should totally go with me on Wednesday! 🙂

      • Jackie
        April 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

        I feel bad, but I didn’t go. It ended up being a crazy evening, and I had to stay late at work. BUT I am definitely going today! And I’m using this comment to hold myself accountable. I would love to run with you tonight although it will have to be in spirit since I live in DC.

  19. Becky
    April 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    I’m not doing C25K, but I am ostensibly training for a 5k at some point in the undefined by near-ish future. Yeah, see, that’s the problem, I need to just pick a damn race. But I am trying to go running more often and increase my endurance. And my running looks pretty much exactly like what you described, with the jiggling and getting passed by small children (speaking of which, the wife and I rode a tandem bike last weekend and kept getting passed by joggers in the park. Ridiculous.) So anyway, long story short, if you’re starting some sort of running-ish group, I’m totally in!

    • kindofamess
      April 26, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

      Ah, you’re doing the same race I am, the “maybe, one day, some time, but not too soon” day race.

      And those joggers might be like me, they ran faster to pass you so that they could slow up and huff in solitude. I’m bad-ass when passing people, but the minute I have a stretch all to myself? Jiggly slow chick again….

  20. Katie Jane
    April 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    I love C25K! Now I just have to get started again – gaaaah. I had a similar experience – started it, was going great, and then I twisted my ankle working (not running), and stopped for a few weeks. I’m starting up again this week, and hopefully nothing will slow me down again because starting over suuuuucks.

  21. Meg Mooney
    May 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I’m so proud of you! I need to start again, I SUCK at running.

  22. Alicia
    May 6, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    I know I’m late to the game but I’m super enthused about being part of some sort of virtual running club for women-who-read-books-under-the-table-at-dinner-when-we-were-tweens and therefore didn’t develop deep loves of exercise. this is now the third time that I’ve started C25K (is it weird that everytime I don’t do it for a week or 2 I start over? does anyone else have guidance on this?) and could really use some good motivation…

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