My sister started the Couch to 5k ahead of me. I can't remember who told me about it. It could have been her or my Mom but I of course hit the Google (sic) and thought "Oh! This looks like something I can do. I don't even have to run a long time for a long time. There's walking mixed in and I like to walk. I do that all the time!" So I grabbed the podcasts from Robert Ullrey's website and stepped outside in my running shoes.
Here's an interview with the creator of the Couch to 5k program. I like how his focus on the program was to make running something people would do without getting hurt and how he intended to focus on giving those who followed it a habit of successes as we trained up. As I write this I'm on week 8 and am running 28 minutes at a time now without stopping and it's only a 9 week program so I'm getting nervous. What next?
The Couch to 5k program is around a 30 minute program with a five minute warm up and cool down on either end of the half hour and it's every other day except at the end of the weeks there are two days off in a row. There are a couple weeks where there is a long run on the end of the week so the two days off in a row are welcome recovery times. The hardest part of this program for me was to not go too fast. There were several times when I wanted to do more than it said but I told myself when I started that I would follow the program and not make up my own.
I didn't want to get hurt or screw something up and quit. I know how I am and if it hurts I'll bail on it faster than you can say "Pass the syrup." So I made myself do it in order and like the site said to. There was a hard week which repeated and there was a week that I missed a few days because work wasn't allowing me to run so I backed up a day and did that week over again too. Slow and steady wins the race was my motto. And, while the program says "feel free to do weeks over again" it doesn't say "Oh, and just skip whatever weeks you want to and go as fast as you want."
I'm a fan of structure. In my non-running life and my work life I'm list maker and check-box user. The Couch to 5k running program was perfect for me and probably anybody I know who had the stick-to-itiveness to do it. A lot of people I hear on podcasts or out in the world who talk about running say that they started it for weight loss and that wasn't why I started running. That's good too since I haven't lost any weight! I started because I like to run. I loved running as a kid. Remember when you were little and just ran because it felt good? Yeah. That doesn't change. What changes is we quit running. It's still there and it still feels good.