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Getting fitter all the time

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To paraphrase the Beatles: "I have to admit I'm getting fitter, a little fitter all the time!"

I've been working on my Couch to 5k program (I run while listening to music on my phone, and at appropriate intervals the program tells me to run, or to walk). Today I finished Week 4 Day 1, which includes 6 minutes of consecutive running. I was a little scared to get this far. After all, I'm not a runner, and I've failed at running several times in the past.

And yet, I found that not only could I do it, but it wasn't even impossibly hard! 6 minutes of running was totally doable. What's more, I wear a heart rate monitor when I run, and I found that my heart rate was quite reasonable as I ran those 6 minutes. Even just a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have been able to run 6 minutes without a huge spike in heart rate, to the point where I would need to stop early and recover.

So that means I'm getting fitter! If I can work harder with less effort now, then that means that my heart is stronger, my body is stronger, and exercise is easier for me! It's a great indicator that my fitness is increasing. Unfortunately, it also means that I need to find ways to work harder to get to my target heart rate during my workout -- but it's a small price to pay for a healthier, fitter body.

When I peek ahead in my Couch to 5k program, I see future days that scare the daylights out of me. At the beginning of next week, we have 8 consecutive minutes of running. And at the end of next week, there's a continuous 20 minute run. I'm feeling very daunted by that -- it's a LONG time for me to run without breaking to walk.

But you know what? The program was built for people just like me, people who didn't start out being able to run, and it moves through the times and distances gently enough that people like me can do the assigned runs. Sure, they're pushing themselves, but that's a good thing. I was scared of today's run before I did it, and I did great. In between now and the end of next week, I'll be building strength, muscle, and endurance, and by the end of next week I'll be ready for the 20 minute run.

I've tried running at least 5 times before, but I've never stuck with it for this long. I'm excited that this is becoming a habit, and a relaxing piece of me time rather than a chore. I'm excited to be able to run a race soon (hoping for one month from now, on St. Patrick's Day). Most of all, I'm excited to be proving to myself that I CAN DO IT!

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