I need to get started. And thankfully I am a full 8 weeks into my couch-semi-running lifestyle. School started this week and I’m quickly realizing that finding and making time to run may present a challenge. I’m also realizing a few other things too.
The Treadmill-A Love/Hate Relationship
Most real runners hate running inside. The more I run the more I do to. However, I also see the treadmill as a necessary evil. If I need to run in the morning…like o’dark 30 morning… the treadmill works well because I don’t trust the trails or my road before the sun comes up. If I’m the only person home with the 5 year old- I have to use the treadmill because he would burn the house down if left alone. Well – not really-but he just might. I also hate how my body feels after a treadmill run. I do love that I can better control my pace and incline so I know exactly how I am running. I hate that I don’t feel like I’ve pushed myself enough even though my pace has increased. And I HATE how my body hurts after running on the treadmill. Ugh. Nothing compares to that whole body ache. Yuck. But when I am in a pinch and need to get my run done, the old rat wheel is there to get me thru.
I Needed to Get the Apps:
I started looking around for ways to track my progress. The running part was fairly easy. I have the Google Fit app on my phone that I can use to track my walking steps every day along with my runs. I refuse to purchase an iPhone so everything I use is Android.
Here’s what Google Fit looks like from the app store. I think it came preloaded on my Samsung phone. It is fairly robust for beginners. I have noticed that if I manually”add treadmill run” it does not count toward my weekly run goal…still trying to figure that part out. But a good little app!
I also use a Couch to 5K & 10K app. The 5K system is 9 weeks long; 3 runs per week. This was the perfect way to ease myself into the life of a runner. After 5 weeks I did talk to my local friend and she said I was nuts. She sent me a 5K training sheet that a local gym developed. What a difference in methodology! The app on my phone had me run 20 minutes straight on my 3rd run of the 5th week. Her program never had you run more than 3 minutes at one time, just more of them. I like the concept but I’m too far into the program I have now to change. The pace of the changes has been nice and it hasn’t been more than my body could handle.
There are several Couch to 5K apps out there. I installed 3 when I first started and this is the only one I’ve kept. Others would drain my battery or use excess data (yes we do NOT have unlimited data.) It is straight forward and easy to use.
Let’s talk music. I know a lot of avid runners do not use music. They like to listen to their breathing and the world around them. Me, not so much. My breathing isn’t very regulated at this point and sounds like something you only hear in bad movies. I need music to keep me focused and motivated. I found Rock My Run and I love it more than my kids…well maybe coffee…no…um…well… I love it more than my favorite hair color? Let’s go with that. I’ve had play lists on Spotify for years- various lists of music for working out to but they are stale.
Rock My Run has a variety of different predefined lists for any activity you can think of. They also show you the beats per minute making it easy to find something you can match to your workout. You can also setup your favorites and come back to them when you hit a running slump. The DJs mix songs together so you hear a variety of music mixed together with zero time in between songs. I did not pay for the premium version. Right now I can handle the 1 commercial every 10-12 minutes but maybe as I progress the upgrade will be a reward for miles I’ve run.
I knew if I was going to be running massive distances I had to do other things than just run. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to “running” and another for “working out” but I could not keep myself motivated and focused enough to keep going back to Pinterest. I decided to start looking for apps to help me get the whole body exercise and stretch I needed. Enter 30 Day Fitness Challenge . I currently use this as my post run cool down. It is also the app I try to do on non running days but I come up short. I LOVE this app. It has workouts created by body system; full body, legs, arms, etc.. They also have 2 sets of workouts by difficulty level. Meaning for the full body system they have 2-30 day workouts in the Easy category, 2 for Medium and 2 for Hard. I’m still on the first easy set for full body but I love it. Each day is something different. They have a guy to show you how to do each exercise correctly. I’m not sure I will ever run out of workouts!
This is an app is perfect for the novice fitness person to get their feet wet. I love it and should use it more. Hopefully as I develop a better workout routine I find myself leveraging this more often. I have noticed that even my 5 year old will do these exercises with me so it was well worth the download.
After talking with my running friends I knew stretching would be a key part of injury prevention. Yoga for Fat Burn/Yoga for Super Weight Loss is my current solution for stretching. Considering how much I really enjoy yoga and doing the circuits in this app, I am disappointed I do not make more time for it. The gal that shows you the moves is quite creepy but it gets the point across. I can customize my workouts by length and type of exercise or use prebuild routines. Again, I’ve only used it 1-2 times a week but so far I really enjoy it.
If you can get past the creepy demo gal this app is pretty cool. I know there are other features I haven’t explored yet, but just being able to pick what exercises I want to do, length of time to hold each pose and time between is fantastic.
I Had to Get the Gear:
Shoes – an absolute must. I have been a fan of Brooks running shoes for years but this time I’ve started out with an ASICS shoe. It isn’t half bad. I’ve had custom arch supports my entire athletic life but the arch supports that come standard in this shoe work well. They are light enough where I don’t notice them as I run but stable enough for my weak ankles. Shoes are such an individual preference – if you want to start running you really do need to invest in something good. Nothing sucks more than getting injured because your shoes suck.
Shorts/capris – I will admit I hate running in shorts. I had done it before and never had an issue. But that was almost 9 years ago and almost…well…let’s just say the same amount of weight of my 5 year old. My thighs rub now and I hate when my shorts ride up. I have to have some kind of capri to prevent the fire between my thighs. Maybe after running a few more months my thighs won’t rub together and I’ll like shorts again, but until that day, my workout capris from Old Navy are the bomb.
Sports bras – no one likes bra shopping. No ONE. However. I will admit I freaking LOVE my sports bras. I would wear it every damn day if I didn’t mind the other cute bras I have for every day wear. I found the Ambrielle Active Cross Trainer bra at JCPennys. I also found it on sale with a by one get one for 50% deal so I decided to give it a try. My girls have gotten bigger over the years so I wanted something for “high impact”. I also liked the fact that I didn’t have to butter myself up to wiggle my happy a$$ into this bra; it had clips like a normal bra. GENIUS! I put it on and I don’t even notice it is there. I cannot stress how amazing this sports bra is. If you are looking to get back into any type of physical activity I cannot recommend this bra enough.
Runner’s Pack (ie Fanny Pack) – yup. I feel like I’m in my 80’s. I bought a runners pack. But here is WHY I bought it. I bought the Nathan 5K Runner’s Waist Pack, Blackbecause it will hold my phone, my keys and any other little thing I could need on a run. I HATE having things around my arms. They sweat too much and I’m afraid I’d wind up having to switch arms after a bit because it would bother me too much. This pack goes around your waist so the pouch can be in the front or back. It has reflective spots on it. It also has 2 pockets. I ran with it for the first time yesterday and I completely forgot I had it on; it felt that natural. It hugged my lower back so it never bounced against my body. My head phones are bluetooth so I don’t have to worry about silly cords, but if I did I think this pack would still work well.
Wearable – There are a LOT of options out there. But I decided on a Garmin Vivoactive Black (Certified Refurbished). Think of it as an entry level smart watch. I love it for many reasons but here are the top 3.
- I get accurate step count whether I’m just running or walking. If I was carrying my phone around I would forget to bring it places so my step count per day was always off. This watch is the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off.
- Tracks indoor/outdoor runs without extra equipment. I looked at other wearable devices and some lower end models required a shoe pod for indoor running (at an extra cost.) This device allows you to quickly pick where you are running so you get accurate reporting; no extra equipment required.
- All the extras. Out of the box I have the option to track runs, swimming information and even my golf game. I can download maps for various local courses so I have a wearable range finder. I can also download other apps making this a truly customizible device. I can control my music volume from the face. The only thing I haven’t figured out is if I can actually download music to it. If I can- that would be awesome. If not- eh- I still have my phone carrying fanny pack.
I purchased mine from Amazon for a great deal. I will admit – I love this device. I figure I will invest in another watch band for it in the future but right now basic black will do just fine. If you want to view more information on this device or order one for yourself click here- Garmin Vivoactive Black (Certified Refurbished)