(Illustration from Injurymap.com)
Now that ski season is done, we Ski Divas are turning to all sorts of activities for both fun and fitness. Yet trying something new can be daunting. So when one of our forum members, Tobi Andrews, decided to start running, she turned to a training app called C25K. She’s agreed to share her impressions here:
How C25K made me a runner
by Tobi Andrews
I have a confession: until not that long ago, I never wanted to run. Yet when my 20-something godchildren began training for their first 5K race, they coerced me into giving it a try.
I must be a pushover, because I agreed. I’d heard about a training app called C25K. So I downloaded it to my phone, bought myself some good running shoes, and went to work.
In case you don’t know, C25K is a simple, approachable couch-to-5K training app designed to help non-runners prepare for and run 5K in just eight weeks. It consists of a set of thrice-weekly sessions that progress in duration, distance, and difficulty as the weeks go by. Each session begins with a five-minute walking warm up and ends with a five-minute cool down period. Week 1 starts by alternating between 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for a 20-minute period. By the end of week 5, the session includes 20 minutes of continuous running. And by the end of week 8, the session progresses to running a full 5K distance.
At first I was skeptical. I mean, I’m over 50 and had never run before. But the app is easy to use and intuitive. Selecting the daily session is simple, and by allowing the app to track your location, you can record and retain a map of your route, distance run and calories burned. As the session begins, the app will provide a voice prompt, telling you when to walk, when to run, and when your cool down will begin. You can play iTunes playlists at the same time as using the C25K app, so you can listen to your inspirational running music, while still hearing the session prompts.
Due to my personal level of fitness, I found it useful to repeat weeks or sessions until I felt ready to progress to the next session. I finished the entire program in about 12 weeks (instead of 8) and ran my first 5K shortly thereafter. Not only did I finish the race, but I improved my time by several minutes from when I first completed the C25K program.
So how’s it been so far?
Since my initial completion of the C25K program, I’ve completed several 5K runs and have continued to improve my run time. I’ve used the app in various ways for training, including repeating the program from the beginning twice. Once I started over after a running hiatus, and the second time after recovering from an injury. The progressive build-up of running time from session to session has been useful in increasing my personal stamina and strength. Currently, I run three days a week. Sometimes I choose a random C25K session to vary my workout.
Do I recommend C25K?
Without a doubt, yes. It’s great for anyone who wants to get in shape, thinks they can’t run, or just wants to vary their current short run program.