Confessions of a Non-Runner
I’ve always wanted to be a runner…but I sucked at it. I had no endurance and I would quit the minute I felt any sort of discomfort. I decided this past year to change that and it has been one of the most life changing experiences. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve read all about it – I love sharing with my followers my progress because that has been such an incredible experience.
I heard about the Couch to 5K program that would help a non-runner be able to run a 5K with a program that gradually stepped them up in intensity. I downloaded and tried out a few different programs and eventually settled on one from Bluefin Apps and I absolutely love it.
Ease into 5K
Ease Into 5K is an 8 week long program that has you running 3 times a week, alternating walking and running and gradually increases running time until you are running your final 30min, 45min and 60min runs. I spent longer than 8 weeks with the program – I would do each day until I felt confident enough to move on. The app is available for both iPhone and Androids.
You can redo days as many times as you want – the program has a slider that allows you to go through each day (marking it with a green dot when you complete it the first time) and gives you a breakdown of that day’s run.
Track Your Time
During your run, you’re working with a time clock that counts down each portion of your walk or run. Each run starts and ends with a 5min warm-up and cool down, and then alternates your walks and runs. Up in the top right corner it tells you where you are (example: Walk 1 of 4) and the arc progress bar slowly fills. At any point you can pause your run, or you can even flip forward and backward. I’ve only done that when I was doing a day back-to-back, but you can skip ahead if you find you’re struggling, especially for beginners, and redo if you need to.
Music to Keep You Moving
The program works with your phone’s music playlist and allows you to play/pause and skip around from inside the app at the bottom of the interface. You simply go to the Music tab from the home screen and select your running playlist. I use Pandora during my runs, which it doesn’t let me control – but I have no problem flipping between the apps. I’m hoping one day for them to integrate it into the app, but it’s not an issue for me at all. If you also use Pandora: the one issue I have found is that I have to start the Ease into 5K app before starting Pandora or the volume is too quiet, but now that I know and do it in the right order, I have no issues.
Journaling Helps You Record Your Progress
One of my favorite features of the Ease into 5K app is the journaling feature. It lets you rate how you felt (great, ok, not good, terrible), what the weather was like (sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowing), and where you completed your run (road, trail, treadmill or track) with little icons and it has a Notes box where you can write anything you want to note. I always use that box to mark my walk and run paces, my incline, and I make notes about my run and things I should do next time.
Track Your Distance
The program also has a GPS feature that will automatically track your time, distance and pace, or if you’re on a treadmill you enter in the time and distance and it figures out your pace for you. I’m crazy about numbers and I track all of that plus my calories, so it’s nice that they have places for all of that within the app.
Share Your Progress
Want to motivate your friends or share your progress? Easily connect the app to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and click to share each time you run. There is a default message that comes up that shares what day you did and the distance you ran, and then lets you add in any other information you want to share.
Breaking Down the Mental Barrier
While this app is great and very helpful, it will set you up for success but YOU are the one who has to make it happen. At the beginning of the program, I really struggled a lot and it was all mental. I would get to a point where I felt uncomfortable and my reaction was to immediately step up on the sides of the treadmill and break. I redid the early days of the program a lot – I was struggling with the 90 second and 3min runs, and 5min runs seemed impossible. I was watching TV while on my treadmill to distract me from my runs and I didn’t enjoy the experience.
One day I decided to try music since the app integrated it so nicely and it’s like I opened a door I didn’t know was there. The beat of the music drove me along and suddenly when I started to struggle, I’d turn my mind off and concentrate on what I was hearing…and I was doing the 3min, 5min, 6min, 9min runs…and more. I started to look forward to my runs and I was excited to see what the app would challenge me with on the next day. I still repeated some days, but I found I was moving on quicker. During the later runs, I didn’t repeat at all and before I knew it, I was running 20min without stopping. I couldn’t even run the mile in high school without stopping, that accomplishment was incredible!
I cried the day that I ran my first 20min run, I was so proud of myself – and I have this app to thank. Before when I would try to run, it was all or nothing…and I would always fail. The Ease into 5K program taught me about stepping up slowly, getting comfortable with my progress before challenging myself more. I never would have been able to accomplish what I have…and what I will continue to accomplish.
Bluefin Software also offers other programs to help you succeed based on your current level of running, all available for both iPhone and Android.
- Bridge to 10K : A 6 week program for graduates of the Ease into 5K program
- Ease into 10K : A 10 week program for those who are new to running
- Bootcamp : A circuit training program that lets you build your own workouts and guides you through them
- Power Walk : A 12 week program to help you build up to a 60min power walk for those who don’t want to run or who don’t feel they’re ready for the Ease into 5K program yet
- Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon, Novice 1 and Novice 2 : A 12 week program designed by well-known fitness trainer Hal Higdon, this includes all the features of the other programs plus new features like race day selection, GPS and a training calendar. It also includes motivational recordings and fitness tips from Hal himself. Novice 2 includes slightly more running.
- Hal Higdon’s Marathon, Novice 1 and Novice 2 : Similar to the Half Marathon apps, and again Novice 2 includes slightly more running.
Experience It For Yourself!
The wonderful people over at Bluefin Software have given me codes for 10 of my followers to get their app for free! Normally a $2.99 cost (and well worth it!), this is a steal if you’re looking to start running yourself.
I’m sorry, the raffle is now over. Congratulations to our winners:
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