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I started using the Couch to 5K Lite (aka free) app yesterday. I wanted to start doing Couch to 5K for my July 4th proposed “after” run (it’s way to late for “before”), and since I have a smartphone now that allows me to download apps like this, I figured it was a good idea to start. Carpe diem. All of that jazz.

This app SUCKED (no, this is not a review. There’s a point, I promise)! Well, at least it did for me. I was also using Pandora, which worked out better than I thought. The problem is, I couldn’t change a song in Pandora, open my phone to re-engage the screen and see my time, or breathe without resetting the darn Day 1 app. In fact, according to my app, I still haven’t completed day 1, even though I did it over 1 1/2 times! But this isn’t about that.

When I started out trying to get back into running, I was concerned with mileage. I picked my route based on the fact it’s a mile loop. I concentrated on doing a certain number of miles each time. I felt like if I didn’t reach that amount of miles, I had failed. I was moving too fast (literally) to be able to sustain that type of pace for very long. I hurt in all the wrong ways. I didn’t have the right equipment. I didn’t know what would work. I just laced up shoes and ran…and got hurt.

Has anyone’s love life, or life in general, ever been like that? You are going to embark on this new love or new job or whatever, and you’re so excited you can’t think straight, let alone properly prepare yourself. You don’t have a plan and you don’t know what you’re doing. You start out going too far too fast, and you just end up injured, bruised and sore. You weren’t prepared and were overly optimistic of what you could do, and it bit you in the butt.

The thing is, though, since my earliest experiences, I’ve learned a lot. I could have decided that I was never going to run again–it just didn’t seem to suit me; I wasn’t made for it–but instead I took a step back and did what I should have done the first time: I gathered information and made a plan. I learned about running form. I got fitted for shoes. I learned a bit about pace. I incorporated my knowledge on how to breathe. Then I found a training plan.

What I discovered yesterday is that I’m a lot stronger than I think. It’s easy to keep going with Mr. Perfect pushing prodding browbeating encouraging me to keep going. However, motivating myself to keep going is always difficult when it comes to exercise. With the couch to 5K app, I didn’t let myself talk myself into taking it easy or not pushing. When the app said run, I ran. Period. And guess what? I had more in the tank than I thought.

Just because you go in full throttle and get hurt doesn’t mean that you aren’t ever meant to accomplish something–whether it be publishing a novel, finding love, or running. Sometimes you have to pull back and take your time in the beginning. Learn from your mistakes. Gather information and come up with a plan that works for you. And stop being cheap and buy the app that lets you change songs, etc. while it runs in the background so you don’t have to keep starting over (oh, was that just for me?). That’s my two cents, anyway; feel free to leave yours in the comment section.

P.S. How do I feel about going from minutes to miles? It’s an adjustment. I can still tell on the trail how far I’ve gone by the 1/2 mile, so I can still stalk my mileage, but I have the added benefit of knowing when to run, how often to run in a workout, and how many minutes of a mile were ran, total. It also keeps me from increasing my mileage by too much too soon. Besides, the mileage is so small in the beginning, it’s not important (I’m trying to convince myself). I have to thank one of the bloggers I follow ( I think it was Heidi at Runaroundaroo) who had the inspirational quote I used the most while in my running segments yesterday (I can do anything for 1 minute. I can do anything for half an hour). It was really helpful. I’d also like to think Britney Spears for all of her help, courtesy of Pandora. 😀 Anyone know how to prevent tight calves?