family is story

Returning to the—Couch—to 5K

Returning to the—Couch—to 5KAccording to my Couch to 5K app, in a little less than three weeks, I’ll be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. And since this app trains would-be runners, it assumes that when running non-stop for 30 minutes is achieved at the end of the eight-week plan, 3.1 miles will be covered in that timeframe. Yeah, right.

Trouble is, I probably should be able to complete 3.1 miles in 30 minutes—seeing as how this is the FIFTH TIME I’ve completed the plan. Five times, I’ve started at Week 1, Day 1, and have laboriously journeyed through eight weeks of training sessions.

See, after I’ve completed the plan and received that achievement “high,” I return to the couch. And I don’t get up from the couch for about six weeks. (Apparently, six weeks is the incubation period that shame and guilt requires in order to blossom into just-do-it-and-quit-complaining-about-your-belly action.)

Every time I’ve restarted the Couch to 5K plan, I shake my head at how ridiculous I am. Had I just continued the 30-minute runs after the program ended, 1) I wouldn’t have to labor through the ramp-up of getting back into shape; 2) I probably could be able to run a 5K in 30 minutes; 3) my belly wouldn’t be bigger than it was six weeks ago.

It’s obvious I’m going to have to trick myself. That’s obvious, right? Somehow, at the end of eight weeks, I’ve got to tell myself that it’s not over (though it’s going to feel like the goal is over), that true training has only just begun—training in the fine art (and sometimes boring art) of consistency.

Truth is, I hate starting that app over again. It’s a huge blinking billboard sign telling me that I’ve let go, backslidden, given up, put myself last. So, I’m gonna turn the tables on myself and tell myself: Self, your new goal is to be able to actually run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes. That means, you’re going to have to keep running for 30 minutes three or four times a week, until you get fast enough to achieve that goal. This may take a year. This may take a month. Let’s be real. It’ll probably take you a year.

What do you need to trick your mind into doing?

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