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[icon] Holy crap! - Patti
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Subject:Holy crap!
Time:10:07 pm
(I seem to use that subject line a lot-- my browser autocompletes it.)

A few weeks ago I decided I was going to start on the Couch to 5K running program. I cannot even begin to describe to you the degree to which I both hate and am incompetent at running. Even when I was a skinny little kid I couldn't run very far, and I find it to be the most boring possible form of exercise. And yet a few weeks ago I lost my mind and decided that I was going to do the Couch to 5K, and when my stubborn bit gets set it stays set.

Week 1 Day 1 of the program is pretty modest-- it's interval training with a five-minute warmup followed by 60 seconds of running then 90 seconds of walking repeated for 20 minutes, then a five-minute cooldown. Modest though it may be, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to get through the first day, and I was right. I'm *way* out-of-shape.

It took me a couple of weeks of screwing around to realize that I really did have to get decent running shoes, so I did that about a week and a half ago. And the last couple of times I've run, I've quit halfway through the set due to leg cramps or foot cramps or somesuch nonsense. Still, the fact that I kept going with it impresses me.

Tonight as I pulled my running shoes on I said to the cats, "Fuck that noise. I'm finishing this." And then... I did! Whoa! Eight minutes of running, 22 minutes of walking, and I lived to tell about it. A part of me rolls my eyes at how pathetic that is-- "It took you four weeks just to get to the starting line." But really, that's just an acknowledgment of how out-of-shape I am, and how far back my personal starting line was. I can stop snarking at myself long enough to acknowledge that I've made actual progress, and that I haven't given up.

I also haven't fallen asleep on the treadmill, broken any bones, visited any emergency rooms, nor had to put ice on any part of my body. I cannot understate the miraculousness of any of those things.

And hey... I fucking finished W1D1!
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jpmassar
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Time:2009-10-21 05:38 am (UTC)
Holy crap!
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slamonella
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Time:2009-10-21 06:12 am (UTC)
Rock on!
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mgrape
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Time:2009-10-21 06:35 am (UTC)
Yay! Way to go!

Running sucks when you first start doing it. For maybe the first two months, I wanted to give up. With some time, you can get into a routine, and you'll actually start to crave it.

The right running shoes are *extremely* important. Not just decent ones, but ones that match your specific gait. Get them from a running store, where someone trained will watch you walk/jog and fit you based on that. I love Fleet Feet - it looks like they have some Bay Area locations - but I'm sure there are others. Replace them at least every year, no matter how much use they get - the cushioning will be shot by then.

Good, synthetic running socks make a big difference too.
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whipartist
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Time:2009-10-21 06:39 am (UTC)
I went to a running store with an excellent reputation-- La Foot in Berkeley-- and got fitted.
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ronsrants
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Time:2009-10-21 12:50 pm (UTC)
I second Grapes on Fleet Feet and running socks. Also, I suggest elastic laces. One less thing you have to deal with.

W1D1 is a huge step forward. If you stick with it, it will get easier (though it won't feel that way). You are not alone in having trouble completing W1D1. I had to mall walk with the geriatrics for 3 months before I was able to tackle Week 1.

C25K is a great formula if you follow it. I've seen people do more and burn out/injure themselves. I've seen people do less and lose motivation and quit. Everyone else just follows the podcasts and the schedule and does fine. Note, because people run at different speeds, you may not actually be able to complete a 5k in the time alloted at the end of the program. That's OK. Once you can run for 30min straight, you can run the extra 2-10 minutes it may take to complete a 5k.

Run for yourself, not for any other reasons.

-R
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thorfinn
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Time:2009-10-21 07:15 am (UTC)
Get advice on your running gait, btw. Best I can do without actually looking at you running is to make sure:

1. Bend your knees. You don't have to keep the same knee bend through the whole stride, no, but never ever land with a straight leg.

2. Make sure your hip joint, knee joint, and ankle joint are all operating in the same plane angle. That is most likely much harder than it sounds. Sounds simple, isn't easy. If they're not working in the same angle, you will generate lateral forces that will cause tension and damage at various spots ranging from your knees to your lower back, depending on the exact type of mis-angle you're having.

3. Check your foot-shape. Take your hand, form a fist, turn it so knuckles are up, then relax it completely. You should see it uncurl to make a partly curled shape. Check your foot - it should form the same shape. The vast majority of people lift their toes up (which flattens their foot). Imagine you are very gently cupping something soft and fluffy (duck, ball, kitten, golden light, whatever works for you) with your foot, and then imagine it breathes in a little, and you relax your foot to accommodate.

Those three items are the main things that I see the vast vast majority of people doing wrong when they walk and/or run.
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gayathri
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Time:2009-10-21 04:05 pm (UTC)
wow, what awesome advice - I wish someone had given me THIS when I last tried 'running'. Ow.

P: WOW! WAY TO GO! you're inspiring me to get on my bicycle and ride. :)
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thorfinn
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Time:2009-10-22 01:03 am (UTC)
*chuckle* Sorry, that was a crappy afterthought. It wasn't meant to come of as condescending as it looks.

I need to do more bicycle riding myself, actually. :-)
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thorfinn
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-10-22 01:06 am (UTC)
Oh wups, wrong thread, thought you were responding to something else. :-)

Yeah, those above three points are massively commonly done wrong. Do that right and you can avoid most of the stuff that is running related injury.
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thorfinn
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Time:2009-10-21 07:16 am (UTC)
Oh, and I forgot to say, good work! :-)
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mspurrmeow
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Time:2009-10-21 08:57 am (UTC)
Awesome. Congratulations.
0-1 is a huge step. Nothing to blow off there.
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tiurin
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Time:2009-10-21 09:33 am (UTC)
I also suggest swimming as a low-impact, stamina-building exercise.
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whipartist
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Time:2009-10-21 04:37 pm (UTC)
Two problems: pink hair, and time overhead. I know from experience that any exercise that requires me to make time to go somewhere just won't happen on a regular basis-- I'm not that dedicated. The reason that I have a treadmill in my living room is that I know it's the only way I'll ever use one.
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jellymillion
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-10-21 11:35 am (UTC)
Unless you're proposing to start racing people with a view to winning, forget the absolutes, just focus on your own relative improvement.
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mangosteen
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Time:2009-10-21 12:17 pm (UTC)
That is utterly excellent!

I started on a similar journey a few weeks ago.
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rmd
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Time:2009-10-21 01:03 pm (UTC)
fuckin awesome.
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gunga_galunga
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Time:2009-10-21 01:42 pm (UTC)
Very cool. It is utterly bizarre to me to be able to run 5-6 miles without feeling like death, but that's what happens if you stick with it.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-10-21 05:34 pm (UTC)
Bet the don't on my ever running five miles. My goal is one.
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gunga_galunga
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Time:2009-10-21 07:31 pm (UTC)
"That wasn't so bad, maybe I'll see if I can do 2."
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bellaballanda
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Time:2009-10-21 06:06 pm (UTC)
Congrats my dear...

I wish I could stick to things the way you do.
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whipartist
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Time:2009-10-21 06:54 pm (UTC)
That's the weird thing. I'm like the last person in the world to be good at sticking to things.
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abostick59
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Time:2009-10-21 11:45 pm (UTC)
Everyone else gives up and sticks to something long before you do.
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whitebird
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Time:2009-10-22 04:09 am (UTC)
Pope poop!

Good for you! And it kind of sounds like you're pulling enjoyment out of the endeavor, and that's also all sorts of good.
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loser_variable
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-10-23 01:47 am (UTC)
Be proud, that is outstanding! And it's not pathetic. Now, in a 5K race involving our entire demographic, you'd be in the top decile by virtue of being able to run even part of it (and finish at all).

Keep going, it gets less painful and then fun. Hard to believe, I know.
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[icon] Holy crap! - Patti
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