How to Become a Runner: Confessions of a Couch Potato

By Cody Crawford

Admittedly, I am a couch potato. I love watching TV, playing games on my phone and sleeping. I played tennis and was very active as a youngster, but since college, there hasn’t been much exercise in my life.

That all changed when my husband gave me a scale for Christmas. Before you think he was hinting at me to exercise, let me just say that I asked him to buy it for me because it is a really awesome scale. It connects to an app on my phone and syncs weight and BMI data through Wi-Fi.

Which turned out to be the problem. I didn’t like the numbers my scale was sending me. The weight wasn’t too bad, but my BMI value had gone up.

I love walking, so I started walking every day. I had a goal of 10,000 steps a day, and I didn’t mind walking that much, but it just took too much time. Plus, I developed a horrendous tennis shoe tan line from being in the sun walking too long. I switched to doing mainly yoga, which is great for flexibility and toning, but it didn’t give me enough of a cardio workout.

I decided to think about running a 5K. First, let me just say that I hate running. But I got tired of being out of shape and complaining about being out of shape, so I took the first step and did some research.

A 5K is 3.1 miles. A good newbie time for a 5K is probably around 24 minutes, which is about three 8-minute miles. I found a running plan called Couch-to-5K that lasted nine weeks. At the end of those nine weeks, the goal was to be running three miles in 30 minutes.

I progressed to week four and felt really good about myself. I was started to identify myself as a runner, and starting to look forward to running three times a week. I even convinced my mom to sign up for the Butterfly 5k in Waynesboro (which is on June 7, for you runners out there). I figured out I had exactly enough time to finish my training program before the race.

But my knee had been hurting, and it hurt more every time I ran. As I did research online, it seemed I was developing runners knee, which happens when your leg muscles aren’t doing enough work, putting all the strain of running on the knee. It made sense that I wasn’t running properly, and the issue was easy enough to fix.

I took a few days off to let my knee heal a bit, and then I got sick with a cold. Before I knew it, it had been a week since I had run, and I was behind schedule. I tried to continue, thinking I could run four times a week instead of three and be caught up pretty quickly. Well, that didn’t happen.

I tried to stay on schedule, but I fell more behind, and I realized at my current rate, I wasn’t going to be ready for the race. I was making progress, but my motivation was dwindling. I was too worried about seeing results, and not focused on my original goal. All I had originally wanted to do was to get in shape, and now I was on the verge of quitting because of a running schedule and a race.

“It’s a slow process. Don’t make it slower by quitting.” I saw that quote online in a meme, and it really stood out to me. It didn’t matter if I crawled on my knees the whole race. The goal was to get in shape, and as long as I didn’t quit, I would continually get better. I think it’s important to focus on having a healthy lifestyle, rather than comparing yourself to others. It’s so easy to get discouraged when you forget that everyone is different, especially when it comes to health.

“Sore? Tired? Out of breath? Sweaty? Good. It’s working.”

“Your mind will quit 100 times before your body ever does. Feel the pain and do it anyway.”

“No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.”

“Would you rather be covered in sweat at the gym or covered in clothes at the beach?”

“You can be sore tomorrow or you can be sorry tomorrow. You choose.”

“If you do what you always do then you will get what you always get.”

About Cody Newbold

Cody Newbold holds a Bachelor of Science in software engineering from Middle Tennessee State University and serves as Director of Digital Innovation for Validity Publishing.

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