Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Many people may disagree with me but by my own self proclamation, I am not a runner (yet).  I am not a jogger (yet).  Right now I am a slogger.  You might wonder what a slogger is.  It's a Jen-ism.  It, by my definition, is painfully slow jogging (pretty much fast walking if you want to get technical) hence the mash-up creation of "slog".  But I have to come to you today and sing the praises of the C25k program.  It is honestly INCREDIBLE!  It has made me into the slogger I am today.  I know I am lapping everyone on the couch, so I am making improvements.  And I will hopefully get to where I am proud to say I am a runner someday.  But I have to say I am not a fan of running.  I have never liked it.  I am pretty sure I faked asthma (and other illnesses and ailments) in middle school to get out of running laps in gym class.  But c25k has amazed me time and time again and I am high on the thrill of proving myself (and that annoying voice in my head that tells me I can't) wrong (ok I love proving anyone wrong....even if it has to be myself)!  I had in my head that I just couldn't do it.  But I have been proven time and time again that I actually can.  I am left shocked, stunned, thrilled, stoked and just plain PROUD!!!  And I owe it all to c25k!

So now that I have explained slogging to you, you may be wondering what c25k is.  It stands for couch to 5k.  Basically, it is a training program to get couch slugs like the former me to be able to jog/run a 5k (aka 3.1 miles).  There are three 30 minute workouts a week consisting of a 5 minute warm-up walk, a variety of run/walk combinations that increase the amount of jogging time each week until you are running (in theory) a 5k, and a 5 minute cool down walk.  Now at my slogging pace, I will not actually be to the point of doing a 5k in 30 minutes, but that's OK!

C25k tools
Now you may be wondering how does this program work?  How do you know when to run, when to walk, and for how long?  There are 3 ways to participate in this training program.
  • Manually - you can get the c25k training program details (how long to walk/run for each day of the training) from their website - http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/index.shtml or other sources online.  Then use a stopwatch or the timer on your treadmill to manually figure out when to walk/run.  Pretty much a pain, but better than nothing!
  • Podcast - there are several people that have created Mp3 podcasts you can download to your mp3 player, computer, phone or any other techo device that would work to listen to while you run.  They typically have a set playlist of music and a recorded voice will talk over the music and cue you when it is time to run/walk.  Just google "c25k podcast" or something similar and you should get lots of results to check out and find something that will suit your musical tastes.  Downside here is you are stuck with the music they pick.
  • iPod/phone app - there are apps you can download from the istore or andriod marketplace that will work with your music.  Some have a small fee, but there are also several free ones.  You just play the music of your choice (more info on what I do below) and start the app.  The app will show you a timer (don't feel obligated to watch the timer though!  In fact, I encourage you NOT to!) and will cue you over your music when it is time to run/walk.  The best part about this is you have control over the music you listen to!
    • Personally, I use the free Zen Labs app.  Its been reliable, easy to use.  I can post an update to facebook and twitter if i want after I complete my training for the day.
I told you my slogging is slow.  How slow?  Like 4.0 mph (4.3 max so far) slow.  So that is like a 47 minute 5k.  For those of you that keep up with the blog, yes that was about the exact speed that I finished my last 5k a couple  of weeks ago in which I slogged a mere 8 minutes (but alas, 8 minutes more than I ever had before!!).  I am only 5'4" and I don't think I have a very long stride.  So it has been a lot of work to speed up my short, stubbly little legs.  Basically my slog is the same speed as my brisk walk, I think I just bounce more or something.  When I alternate between the run/walk sections of the training I only bring the speed down 2 or 3 tenths at the most.  Some days I have been able to walk at the same speed.  That's depressing.  But I have heard from others and have found this to be true from my personal experience....I am focusing on getting through the daily training, not how fast I am while doing it!  If I run at a faster pace but have to give up and stop partway through, that defeats the purpose and is quite frankly demoralizing!  So instead I focus on making sure I am at a manageable pace and can make it through the session.  When I have completed the program, I will start over and work on improving my pace, so I at some point I could conceivably actually be doing a 5k in 30 min..

Indoor or outdoor?
Personally, I prefer indoor on my treadmill, but MANY people will tell you outdoor is the way to go and that it is actually easier.  For me, I have realized that I like to look at the outdoors, but I don't necessarily like to be in it, especially for something like slogging!  I don't do temperatures when doing physical activity so if it isn't a perfect 65-75 degree day, I struggle.  I have trouble with my lungs and sinus burning in the cold and I get heat exhaustion pretty easily so have to watch the heat.  I did struggle with the treadmill at first.  We had a couple of nice days, so I did 2 training sessions outside (in KS, we have few days where it's not too hot, too cold, or too windy in my book).  In my outdoor runs I learned to self regulate my pace and to not watch the timer.  Again, I am thinking that once I get through the training program successfully, I will work on challenging myself in other ways and one would be to do it outdoors.

Some people create their own playlist of fave music.  I haven't gone this route yet.  I am cheap and am not a big fan of buying songs. I have a zune membership for unlimited downloads monthly, but I can't do the app and the music on that device (oh don't get me started on my love/hate relationship with Zune).  I personally have been using Pandora.  If you search for "workout" in the stations you can find one for about any kind of music you like.  I like that I can tell it if I like the song or not and it will adjust my playlist to what I like.  The downside is that if you want variety, it is harder to get.  If you do want to go the route of creating a playlist, you can google and again come up with tons of results!  I have also been experimenting with watching tv  while slogging.  I like the beat of the music, but I like the distraction of tv too....I can't hear my brain complain as much.  So sometimes I have put the tv on mute just to have something to watch and then listen to the music for the beat.  My personal experience here is that I need my FAVE songs and a good beat is a MUST if I am going to do music.  So I think I will be working on a playlist before my next 5k.

GET GOOD SHOES!!!!  I have heard from sooooo many people this is a must and I wholeheartedly agree!  I tried to start c25k before I got good shoes and I was miserable and think I ended up with plantar faciatus.  OUCH!  Part of getting good shoes is getting fitted for them (not just picking them by how they look or the color like I used to do).  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND going to a running store and having them fit you.  They will check out your feet, and watch you walk to determine the type of shoe that will best suit you (I have super flat feet).  They will have you try on several pair before making a decision.  I have even heard some stores even have a treadmill so you can "try before you buy" to make sure they are comfy.  I have also heard that if you buy them and hate them when you run the first time, some stores will let you exchange.  Also, it is recommended that you replace your shoes after 300-500 miles (instead of when they start falling apart like I used to!).  The cushioning will begin to break down over time and can actually lead to injury if you run on old shoes.

Compression pants
Compression pants/capris are a gift from heaven and a must have as far as I am concerned.  They keep my jello from being too wiggly and giggly.  I actually don't feel completely self-conscious in them and almost feel "skinny".  That is saying a lot.  And I think it is easier to do a workout when you are not competing with the resistance layers of fat or extra skin.  I wear them for jogging and doing Jillian videos...the more high impact stuff.  I got my pants at Old Navy and LOVE them!!!  Only about $22 they are affordable and awesome!

Sports Bra
When you are as well endowed as I am, you definitely need a GOOD sports bra that can hold the girls in place through a strenuous workout.  Since I never used to workout, I never had to worry about it.  And even when I started working out, I was just walking so I just used my ill-fitting and completely unsupportive uni-boob sports bras I got while nursing my youngest.  So when I started doing jumping jacks during Jillian's 30 day shred and eventually jogging, a new bra was a quick must!  I wasn't really sure what to buy, but didn't want to have to order something online (although that's usually how I have to get my bras....could never get my size in stores before) so I just checked out the local Target to see if the girls have shrunk enough for semi-normal sizes yet....and I was shocked to find one I loved!  A Champion Racerback and score....it was under $20!  This thing securely holds the girls in place so there is no pain or discomfort (or black eyes).

Compression socks
I don't have any compression socks yet, but have heard of several people that swear by them.  I am considering putting them on my Christmas list.  Some of the reported benefits of compression socks include:

  • improved oxygen delivery to muscles
  • accelerated lactic acid removal
  • stabilization of the lower leg for greater muscle efficiency
  • enhanced venous return to the heart through a more efficient calf muscle pump, leading to increased endurance capacity
  • cramp prevention
  • minimized muscle fatigue as a result of more compact muscles, which enhances balance and proprioception and reduces muscle fatigue

I also use a couple other tools when slogging.  Yes I feel like the bionic woman with all the gadgets and gizmos I have attached to me and it takes me 5 minutes to actually start my slogging adventure because of how long it takes me to turn everything on (I kid....a slight exaggeration here) but what can I say....I love data!

  • Body Media Link armband - I use this to track my daily calorie burn.  It has really helped me understand what my body is burning.  I have found that the machine and other estimates are just not very accurate and this helps me to determine what my caloric intake needs to be.  I also find that I am challenged by trying to beat my own personal records for steps taken, calories burned, intensity, etc.  I love this!!!

  • Garmin FR70 - a watch to time my slogging, it has GPS to track my courses, I can log laps to get my split times, and it's a heart rate monitor.  My favorite thing about it is that it is compatible with my body media armband.  I got mine on Amazon.

  • Runkeeper - another phone app I use to log my slogging.  I use this one because it will play over my music and tell me my time, distance and pace.  That was especially helpful during my last 5k.  It was nice to know how I was doing without trying to look at my gadgets all the time!  My favorite part about this one though is that it links to my wellness tracking for work so I don't have to log my workouts to get my incentive points.  
I have always been slow.  I have never liked it.  I hope that someday I might tolerate it, or even come to like it, dare I even dream to oneday ever love it?  But for now I like it because it is making the #$&%! scale move in the right direction.  I started c25k at the end of September.  Since then I am down about 7 pounds.  I truly credit this change in my workout for finally breaking through my plateau (I only lost 2.2 pounds for the entire month of Aug).  I have started seeing consistent losses on the scale for the first time in a long time!  It feels like the most recent 5 pounds gone has taken a lot less time (and frustration) to come off!  So I can now officially say that I am down 65 pounds from where I started in Aug 2011.  
(pardon the crappy, blurry cell phone pic...I was obviously shaking with excitement!)

I am excited with the changes in my body, but most importantly in the changes in myself and my ability to conquer something that has been a challenge to me most of my life.  So I suck it up and slog on.  Here's to one day being a true runner in my own heart.

Did you like this post?  
  • Leave a comment!  Who doesn't like to get a little page love! :o)
  • Sign up to receive new posts via email....simply put your email in the white box at the top of the page.  
  • Pin a link on Pinterest...and don't forget to follow me!
  • Like my "Losing It" facebook page -  https://www.facebook.com/losingit2012


  1. I love love love this post! You rock, from one slogger to another!

  2. Great post. You really gave a lot of great info for new sloggers :)