Lesson Learned: Stretch and Foam Roll
Before I started the Couch to 5K program, I thought the five-minute brisk warm-up walk would be all I need, but as it turns out, I have to spend just as much time stretching as I do running. If you're a new runner, this will probably be the case for you, too, and it's important to take these precautions so your beginner aches don't become full-on injuries.
I've also started using a foam roller after my runs.
If you've used a foam roller before, then you know it hurts. I was going to say, "It hurts so good," but it doesn't. It just hurts.
But if it keeps me running then I will grit my teeth and roll away. I am 100 percent dedicated to finishing this program, so give me your worst, foam roller. I may whimper, but I will not quit.
Running isn't just physical, and one unexpected mental challenge that I'm dealing with is reining in my competitive side.
I may or may not have printed out a page that may or may not have a table of 5K finishing times broken down by average pace. In other words, if I run a 10-minute mile, I can finish a 5K in a little over 30 minutes, but if I run even faster… you can see how this becomes a problem. I end up putting a lot of pressure on myself that, as a first-time runner who is also very overweight, I don't need.
On the positive side, it has inspired me to pick up the pace from the first couple of weeks, and I discovered that I'm able to run faster for a longer period than I thought.
And I'm really proud of that. Really, really proud.