You always hear things about, “How to go from couch to 5k!” Well, it really is possible, if you can follow these steps. How do I know? Because I did it.
I did not run. Going one mile was basically impossible. My husband had run in his past, and wanted to get back into it, and I decided I would try to make the journey with him. In the past, I had always gone to the trail, completely determined. Some extremely fit girl would run past, and I would try to match her pace, and lo and behold! Within half a mile I was dead. When we started running, my husband said, “Just go a mile. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Go so slow you’re almost walking. Just go a mile.” And I did, for the first time ever. I did it at almost a 15 min/mile pace, but I did it.
The idea of starting slow was foreign to me. I didn’t want to pace myself, I would just push myself as hard as I could in the beginning, and always went nowhere. I wanted to be good at it instantly, and always thought I could just force myself to push harder and go faster. But that isn’t how it works. You have to build yourself up.
So, accept that you’re going to be going the pace of snail. But that is okay. No matter how long it takes, just run a mile.
The next step? Keep running that mile, 3-4 days a week, but each day push yourself just a tiny bit harder than the day before. Over time, you will gradually see your times increasing. (Track each run with a running app, so you can see your progress. I prefer RunKeeper, but any app that functions similarly will work too). After a couple months, I could run that mile with relative ease, a few minutes per mile faster than when I started!
After the mile is fairly easy, and you’ve seen increases in your time, run 1.5 miles. Make sure you go at a pace where you can finish the 1.5 miles. If you pushed yourself to a 11 minute pace for your last mile run and almost died, don’t try to do 1.5 miles at the same pace. Slow it back down. Just make sure you can do 1.5 miles. Then, start the process over. Push yourself harder each time you run that 1.5 miles, and your times will begin to drop. Rinse and repeat; before you know it, you will be running 3.1 miles faster than you were running that first mile.
Over the course of a couple years, I went from barely being able to go a mile at a 15:00 pace to running a half marathon at an average pace of 10:55. I never though I would be able to run a 5k, let alone a half marathon! All it takes is a plan, determination, and patience.
If you are not a runner, but want to be, follow this plan and know that even if a turtle could beat you in the beginning, that you WILL improve. Just stick with it and you will see results!