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Running in place

Posted on March 18th, 2011 by annakjarzab

I am not a runner. I mean, the first rule of fight club is obviously “You don’t talk about fight club,” but the second rule is definitely “Let’s all be honest about whether or not we’re actually runners.” (No it’s not. Actually the second rule of fight club is “You don’t talk about fight club.”) So I’m not a runner. I don’t like to run. I’m not good at it. My brother and sister are both runners but I’m like, meh, I could do without the running.

But I’d like to be in better shape. I’d like to be a runner, although I hear tell in some circles that some people are just never going to be runners no matter how much they run? I don’t know. I’m not trying to be a runner. I’m just trying to run. For now.

In January I joined a gym using a corporate discount I got through work, which makes it slightly less expensive to belong to the gym, but not much. Because gyms in New York are insanely expensive. I pay $75 a month to belong to mine. SEVENTY-FIVE ENTIRE US DOLLARS PER MONTH! My new gym doesn’t even have a pool! Ugh. Whatever.

So I joined the gym in order to make myself work out, and then of course I kept putting off going for one reason or another (“I’m sick”, “I might be getting sick”, “I was just sick, I probably shouldn’t push myself”) and suddenly a whole month and a half had gone by and I’d only gone to the gym like once. Which is disgusting, spending all that money just to have the privilege of going to a gym I don’t actually go to. So I decided this week that I’m actually going to go, and not only am I going to go, but I’m going to restart Couch to 5K, which I began eons ago at my parents’ house over the summer last year and never finished. Couch to 5K makes a really awesome iPhone app and I still have it on my phone, so on Thursday instead of doing the elliptical I waited somewhat impatiently for a treadmill and completed the first workout.

And, okay, the beginning workouts of Couch to 5K are NOT that hard. It’s a 5 minute warm up (walking) followed by 8 sets of running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds, followed by a 5 minute cool down (walking). NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL. Except when you’re not a runner you’re like, “Holy crap, sixty seconds is a long time.” Now, my gym self is a lot like my real self, in that inertia is a big obstacle for me (an object at rest will stay at rest, etc.), but once I’m actually doing something I push myself really hard, stupidly hard at times. So getting motivated to go to the gym is a real struggle for me, but once I’m in my gym clothes and I’m on the treadmill, I’m like, “Well, I could walk at the 2.5 speed but what if I walk at 3. I could run at 5 but maybe I’ll run at 5.5.” I like to see how hard I can push myself. And once I’m in the groove I can go forever–I was once on the elliptical for 2 hours at my old gym because I was watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on the TV and didn’t want to stop! (It was empty and there were lot of machines available, don’t worry, I wasn’t being a jerk.)

But…when you’re not a runner and you push yourself really hard on a treadmill, even if you’re not doing THAT much, you end up getting insanely sore. INSANELY. I could barely move on Wednesday morning. But, because an object in motion will stay in motion, I of course went to the gym that same night. You’re supposed to do the Couch to 5K exercises three times a week, allowing at least one day in between for rest, so I was planning on just doing the elliptical for half an hour and going home. But when I got to the gym there were tons of treadmills available and no ellipticals, so I decided to do Week 1, Day 2 of Couch to 5K instead of waiting. BIG MISTAKE. Yesterday I actually could not go to the gym because I could barely walk around the office.

I know this is just temporary, and my friend Cambria told me that the second day you’re always more sore than the first, and I feel so much better today that I’m definitely going to the gym and doing Couch to 5K Week 1, Day 3. But man, it was crazy how much just running for a grand total of about 8 minutes took such a toll on me. I just never use those muscles, not being a runner. But I’m going to finish Couch to 5K! This I swear to you. However, it would be a lot easier to do this if, say, all treadmills actually had Couch to 5K preprogrammed in, or that you could program your own intervals. (Actually, you probably can, I just don’t know how.) Because it is seriously annoying when the app tells me to “RUN” in this very scary computer woman voice and I have to fumble with the key pad to get the belt to move at 5.5 immediately. Someday I’m going to get tangled in my headphones and fall on my face. Anyone want to take bets on how long before that happens? The comments are yours.

1 Response to “Running in place”

Natalie on March 19th, 2011 at 12:45 am Said:

Yay for starting to run! May I recommend that you find a local race to sign up for? Then, tell EVERYONE you know that you are going to do it. Being afraid of looking like a fool is a great motivator. has a good search engine for finding races of various lengths.
If I can run a marathon after not starting to run until after college, then you can run a 5k.

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