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Mind over Matter

So I’m doing C25K – Couch to 5K. It’s a running program that claims to get couch potatoes from the couch to running a 5k in 9 weeks while having you do three sessions of walking and running a week. This is my third attempt at C25k – I failed my previous attempts because of knee pain, or my foot hurting (Plantar Fasciitis) etc.
 
Last week, Week 3 was not easy. It was 2 repetitions of – Run – 1.5 mins, walk 1.5 mins, Run 3 mins, walk 3 mins. Running for 3 minutes at a time is pretty daunting when you’ve not run in a long time. It was hard but I got it done. What I was worried about during Week 3 though was actually, Week 4. Having read what was to come, I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. There was no way I could run 5 minutes at a time. I Just wasn’t there yet. I told myself, I’m glad the program ‘allows’ for repeating weeks because I don’t think I want to do Week 4 yet. 

In case you’re wondering, Week 4 is – Run 3 mins, walk 1.5 mins, run 5 mins, walk 2.5 mins, run 3 mins, walk 1.5 mins, run 5 mins! Are you kidding me? 

So today was the first day of Week 4. I did not want to go to the gym. I still went. I did my HIIT on the elliptical first – 30 minutes. Then I did my weights – 20 minutes. Then as I walked towards the treadmill, I thought – No one expects me to succeed! I DON’T expect me to succeed! I just did 30 minutes of intense HIIT on the elliptical! I’ve not run 5 minutes in Years!! My foot hurts! I can’t do it! But then I promised myself if I went ahead and just tried, I would allow myself to quit if it got too hard.

I ran the first 3 minutes – it was as hard as last week’s 3 minute stretches were. See? I thought! This is hard enough and combined with the elliptical, what the hell did I expect? Then I did my walking for 1.5, caught my breath, let out a heavy sigh and started on the 5! I usually don’t allow myself to look at the time winding down. I hate that!  I either finish or I don’t but I don’t keep looking at how many seconds passed since the last time I checked. Well I did get there! At the end of the first 5-minute stretch I was comp-lete-ly Gassed!! I felt good though! I felt proud of myself! I thought – It’d be ok to quit now, but I haven’t collapsed yet so start the walking stretch and we’ll see how it goes.

Before I go on with what happened, I want to examine this thought process for a minute. So I guess the question is - Was what was happening - Mind over matter? Or was that ‘Matter’ in spite of the mind!? I don’t think I care. What I think is important is, we pay too much attention to how we feel. We think that is what our body feels. But it is important to distinguish between the mind and the body. Often, we have no idea what our bodies can do. We only know how far we’re willing to go. So to rationalize that, we place these perceived barriers to our bodies’ abilities and don’t ever cross it to find out what more we have. Isn’t that a shame? I guess our minds are extensions of our comfort levels. Maybe we think - Ok, This much is how much I want to do. This much plus a little is difficult enough, so that’s what I’ll do because beyond that, my body cannot take!

So, back to my second and last 5 minute running stretch. Maybe a minute or so into it, I put the c25k app in the background and switched to my YouTube playlist. I just wanted to get done and wanted some good music to run to. Till then I was trying to take my mind off of the workout. Then I seem to have gotten a second wind. I found I was trying to keep my mind ON the running. Hey! I thought, I’m still going at a pretty good clip here! I raised the speed from 4.5-5.2. Still feeling pretty good. Feeling great! Feeling great but I should be close to being done right? But then I don’t want to look at the clock! It’ll happen when it does! I’m fine! I’m even running faster! After this I can relax for the rest of the day! But really, it should have been time by now! It’s been a while.
I looked down. Because I had switched apps (to YouTube) c25k had been running in the background and had moved on to the cool down – walking phase. I was 3 minutes into the cool down phase and I was still running!

So not only had I done the 2nd dreaded 5-minute stretch, without knowing it, I had gone over, by 60%! And my poor body, had done just fine!

I don’t know about you but my lesson is learned. I have no idea whether or not I will complete the c25k – depending on my foot etc., but if I don’t, it WILL NOT be for lack of trying, and it will not be because I assumed my body couldn’t take it!

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38 comentarios:

kdbulger escribió hace 2 meses:
I think this might actually change my life. The difference between what our bodies can actually do and our perceived abilities - this is HUGE. Huge.

Thanks for blogging about your experience. I am going to take it with me to the gym next time and see if I can't get a bit further.
pizzafruit escribió hace 2 meses:
Great post! The mind is an amazing tool. You give old ladies like me hope!!
rundgrenrocks escribió hace 2 meses:
Pizzafruit took the words out of my mouth. Great post.
jaimydude escribió hace 2 meses:
Thank you ladies! Keep on rocking!
GettingFit5551 escribió hace 2 meses:
Jaimy! That is awesome! I have to get myself up and running for a run next April. I might try the couch to 5K!
aliciaaw escribió hace 2 meses:
How sweet was that my friend!
Anonymous escribió hace 2 meses:
This is great. It's exactly how I raised my distance from a few minutes to a 5k in under 30 min and my pace from a jog of 4.5 to bring able to run 2 miles at an 8 minute pace. I can sprint for over a full minute at a sub 6 minute mile pace now!
katelyn2612 escribió hace 2 meses:
This is great! My running coach always says, "your mind will quit before your body every time, so don't give in." Great job!
Daytripperjackie escribió hace 2 meses:
I love watching the pride you have for yourself grow.
It takes such a long time for us to realize it is okay to take pride in the big, and especially the little things.
I'm proud of you too hun. You inspire me to try harder.
Samquentin escribió hace 2 meses:
I feel you!! I am also doing couch to 5 k! :D Today is week 5 day 3... I just opened the ap to see what today brings... and I just needed to read this!

Today "Brisk 5-minute warmup walk, then jog for 2 miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking. I will be jogging for 20 minutes, most likely at 5mph... I think 2 miles/20 minutes is a 6 minute mile, I'm not there yet.

I can do it. I'm pretty sure of it!
jaimydude escribió hace 2 meses:
There's only one way to find out right Sam? I'm sure you will get there too! I'm right behind ya!
losergood2011 escribió hace 2 meses:
Good job! Way to barrel through it! Yes it is amazing how our minds limit us isn't it?
TAMayorga escribió hace 2 meses:
You are SO right about not trusting our bodies! I have been running for 4+ years now, but have been stuck at the same pace (a 10-11 minute mile) for most of that time. Early this year, I decided that I wanted to progress to the point where I was consistently below a 10 minute mile, but didn't make much progress until I realized that I wasn't trusting my body. I was running slower on purpose, to hold something in reserve, so that I could finish my distance without having to walk. It just took a little introspection and I was able to overcome my fears. Good of you to see it so soon into your running journey!
norcalichick395 escribió hace 2 meses:
Loved this! This is a great reminder for us of what are bodies are truly capable of, especially when we get out of our own heads. You got this!
CompressedCarbon escribió hace 2 meses:
Thirty seconds at a time. That's how we get better!
Wysewoman53 escribió hace 2 meses:
As I sat here, trying to find a reason to get up and start my daily walks and finding all kind of excuses not to do so, I found your blog. I've really been having a hard time sticking to my daily routine lately and all I can say is: I have to go. I have some walking to do! Thank you once again for a wonderful perspective!
wifey826 escribió hace 2 meses:
Wow. Funny how the internet works (spying on my google searches, prompting THIS blog to appear in my news feed--sneaky!). I am BRAND new to C25K... as in, NEVER have I EVER attempted to run in my life. I am currently 65 pounds overweight (however, I have lost 50 already!) and I've been nervous about the added stress to my knees if I started doing this long term. Thank you so much for your inspiring post! I am trying not to overthink this...it's just exercise, right?! Who cares if I'm not the fastest, or the best looking runner, as long as I'm out there moving my body and doing it SAFELY. I do believe it's mind over matter and we are capable of SO MUCH MORE than our mind allows us to believe. I'm still pretty sore in my upper groin from the first jog two days ago, and I am a little more than scared of the pain I will have from moderate to vigorous intensity workouts but tonight, I'm doing day 2 (of week 1). You've given me hope that I can do this. Thank you!
allangirl escribió hace 2 meses:
Congratulations on doing something hard. It feels good to accomplish a goal that you were dreading.
ajcopeland3 escribió hace 2 meses:
I found that losing weight before I started running was necessary to avoid injury. I gradually developed a brisk-walking routine for the first 9 months of my program while losing weight. When I walk I walk fast and with a very upright posture. My personal trainer dog is always with me. We walk between 30-60 minutes every day. On weekends we do long 2 hour walks. When I got down to my target weight, I started running very slow and not very long. On Thanksgiving I did a 5K turkey trot with my daughter. We finished in 32 minutes. I think it was really important that I reduce my weight before starting running to avoid injury. I just don't think it is a good idea to run with the added stress of extra poundage. Fast walking, if done fast and long enough can help you get down to a safe weight. Anyway good luck. Whatever works for you, just do it!
merlinofchaos escribió hace 2 meses:
Having successfully completed the Couch 2 5K program (or a variant), do yourself a favor: As the sessions get harder, if you're *really* daunted, please feel free to repeat a week rather than advance. It's more important to keep going at a slower pace rather than push too hard and fail.

And if you're having issues with your knees, it's important not to push too hard.
jaimydude escribió hace 2 meses:
That is good advice Merlin! Noted and Appreciated!
joanthemom8 escribió hace 2 meses:
I've repeated weeks..... it took me 12 weeks to finish the program, lol. Now, 5 years later, I just finished a running class to run with others trying to improve.
hungreeteacher17 escribió hace 2 meses:
I did the C25K 6 years ago and felt the same way about it as you did, there's no way I can do that much running. But now I love running, it's my escape, I do it so I can let my mind go and think about other things. Once you get past watching your time and your speed you actually start to enjoy your runs. Good luck to you!
tinkerbellang83 escribió hace 2 meses:
I am taking my second run (pun intended) at C25K had to take a break from it last time as I injured my back (unrelated to the C25K) but back at it again, started at Week 4 instead of from the beginning. Best of luck with it, and if you want some friendly cheerleading and chat about it, I've a group for C25K & The 10k Bridging program http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/120724-c25k-couch-to-5km-2017-app-users
TaraEdVan escribió hace 2 meses:
I am currently doing the Couch 2 5K and I am on week 3. I am also doing the NIKE running app (the getting started). Like you, I started this program a billion times with all the reasons why I won't succeed. This time I actually made it past week one - LOL.

I totally understand mind over matter because you can talk yourself in and out of anything and everything.

Congrats and way to go!
PamRoman61 escribió hace 2 meses:
I loved the program, it opened up a whole new world to me. Some days I walked out of the gym feeling like I was soaring! That being said, please do make sure you follow up with knee issues. I can no longer run, because I ignored pain and tightness. It's a reality, people can hurt themselves seriously so while I do want to encourage you to continue on, I want to also say that safety is most important.
gfzola2002 escribió hace 2 meses:
2 years ago I was 225 (at 5'7) and not much of that was muscle. I decided I needed to get into shape. I always found running and swimming seemed to take more effort than any other form of exercise so in any previous attempts to get fit I totally avoided them.

But this time I took the stoic approach and started running and swimming exactly *because* they seemed to be the most difficult form of exercise for me.

I found that mixing it up between swimming and running allowed me to do a lot more than if I just ran, as there was not as much stress on my knees for the same number of exercise sessions. If you are able to swap out some running for swimming I certainly recommend doing that.

Another piece of advice I've learned through experience is to strap up your knees, now. Even if you're not injured. Don't wait until they give out and then strap them up. Getting the benefits of running is all about consistency. If you get injured that just kills that dead. Get a couple of patella supports, I've used the NEO G patella bands and now never have any issues running. Also look at some running-form videos on youtube. And as others have already said, if you are feeling the strain just repeat the previous week.

When I started I could only do one run a week and could barely go 30 seconds without my lungs being on fire, going deaf in one ear, having hazy vision and I feeling my heartbeat in my teeth!

Fast forward 2 years and with slow and steady progress I'm now trail-running 2x10K during the week and road-running 15+K every weekend. And I'm still swimming too.

As a consequence I'm now down to 180, and best of all the weight is still coming off. Also I've found losing the weight has been much easier as I'm not thinking of it as losing weight, but improving my running. That shift in emphasis has been key to me keeping on the right path (so to speak).

Before I stuff that doughnut in my face I think, thats just going to turn into extra weight I have to carry up the hill on my next run. I don't need that, so I don't need it.

I still indulge, but I find it much easier to refuse treats than I used to.

Wow, this turned into a longer ramble than I expected. Hopefully there's some useful info in there for you. ultimately just get out there and do it, but take it easy enough that you can keep it going.
gfzola2002 escribió hace 2 meses:
Oh, and get some proper shoes for each terrain :)
maryskacb escribió hace 2 meses:
What a powerful post. It's those small victories that change everything sometimes. Thank you for sharing yours. I suddenly am feeling the urge to try the C25K again. :D
Dinger2017 escribió hace 2 meses:
You're inspiring! Keep up the hard work. You are doing AWESOME! :)
StephN1227 escribió hace 2 meses:
This is amazing. I also have the app and I have tried several times but running on actual concrete hurts my knees for multiple days after, so I keep giving up.
I have a friend that goes to the gym with me every day. If it's just me, I can skip. Knowing she is there too makes me more accountable. It helps a lot. I've been thinking about doing to C25K on the treadmill and I feel like weird knowing you do it.

Way to go, I'm so happy for you! It definitely looks daunting, I remember that.
StephN1227 escribió hace 2 meses:
*less weird
orionaimee escribió hace 2 meses:
Just a thought from a fellow runner. Have you gone to a running store and had a professional fitting yet? I cannot stress this enough that if you have the correct fit so many pains can evaporate. I had pain in my knee and sure enough I found out that I pronate and was fitted for shoes that correct this and BAM, no more knee pain. I am super proud of you for pushing through. My mind always starts protesting at mile 3 even though my body feels fine. I can run a 4 mile no problem but I have programmed my mind to run a 5k and not a step more. Next race is a 5 miler and I anticipate I will have to give myself a strong talking to along the way. You are not alone.
GoodnightJulia escribió hace 2 meses:
I've been thinking about this a lot lately -- that it's really just matter taking over and doing its thing. I've taken up a bootcamp-style class to get me through the winter doldrums, and noticed something interesting. If the instructor says "we're going to do 4 circuits of these exercises," I push myself to what I *think* is my max for those 4 circuits, and the last few reps feel like "that's it, this is all I can do."

But, the instructor tends to conveniently "forget" which circuit we're on. So suddenly we're starting the 5th one and I just do it, turn off my brain which was telling me just a moment ago that I was done. And what do you know? I've got so much left in me.

Great job on the C25K!
GOT_Obsessed escribió hace 2 meses:
Wow! That is great. I start week 4 on Mon and am terrified of it. This gives me hope.
BootyfulBikerZX10r escribió hace 2 meses:
Our minds will give up long before our bodies will.

I am 350 got ran over by a truck and I was outside wanting to walk a mile, just a mile right? thats it how hard can it be everyone can walk a mile. I didn't want to just walk a mile I wanted to try for a decent time. After the 1st quarter plantar fasciatis kicked in my hips hurt my knees hurt my ankles my lower back. I came to the same discovery. I wanted to quit. I had every reason every excuse. No one was watching me. No one knew. Only myself. It suddenly became so much more than completing a mile. IT became about life. will I quit when things get hard? half mile complete, tears streaming down my face, I chanted, "One foot in front of another -thats all you have to do". I felt my mind become stronger and my body a machine a tool of transport that was going to do what I told it to do NO matter what. I completed that mile. Crying, screaming, empowered, stronger. Realizing nothing can get in my way, but me. I finished that mile in 20:23. Then limped home. I left it all on the field. What changed in my own mind is something I will never ever forget. -Great post.
TheFeelsWay escribió hace 2 meses:
Hey man congrats! Do you monitor your heart rate? I am doing the same program and monitoring my BPM and it sometimes feels that it gets way too high. Curious if this is something you are tracking.
ElisaJtsu escribió hace 2 meses:
Thank you! Today is the first day, of the first week of my third C25K attempt. I was scared, scared of my knee giving in, scared of not being able to do it and just be demotivated again. I'm glad I found your blog this morning whilst I was debating with myself. I went out and ran...and finished. My knee didn't give in and I didn't die either! THANK YOU!

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