I see where the tone of SpiceGeek's article might come across as negative; however, I find the points of this post right on.
I am a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist who has always hated running. After 2 bouts of bronchial infections dramatically lowered my aerobic capacity and an injured rotator cuff (goodbye 2009. and good riddance), I am temporarily left only being able to train my lower body. Eight weeks to do something different. I've decided this is a perfect time to do the C25K as part of my workout regime while I heal. It will give me insight in to the program to decide when to add it to a client's workout template. It occupies some of my workout time.
After just 2 weeks on the program, I see why a true couch potato may likely develop injuries that slow their progress or discourage them completely from going further. While there is emphasis on warming up before running, there is little emphasis on stretching well afterward and no recommendation/instruction on self-myofacial release. Two important elements to progressing injury-free.
Form is not mentioned at all.
For all participants I would recommend also doing core training on the days they run. Planks, bridges, side planks and cobras. Strengthening the core will make the physical demands of running easier and remove some of the strain on the knees and back.
Strength training twice weekly on off-days would be a wonderful compliment to this program. The muscle fibers damaged while running heal quickly at these lower demand levels. One day is really sufficient for them to heal provided the participant is getting the proper nutrition. The increased neuromuscular efficient would make the running easier and go a long way to preventing injuries. This does not have to mean moving into a gym. There are many exercises that could easily be done at home with soup cans, milk jugs and playground balls that would be sufficient for the newbie.
This is NOT a program that on it's own will not result in weight loss or necessarily in fitness. It is too limited in scope. That said, if it acts as a gate-way activity to becoming more active -and learning more about fitness- I endorse it to that respect.
Having started as an overweight individual who did not do C25K because I was unaware that it existed, I did my own version of beginning running slowly, building my endureance over time. And actually didn't start to run for weight loss but started to support my son achieve cardio conditioning for another sport he was involved in. At NO time did I ever delude myself into thinking during the first 3 or more months that I was losing lots of weight nor that running alone was going to help me lose any pounds at all unless I changed my terrible eating behaviors. I find, by the posts that I've read on Active for the last year that I've been part of the community, that many people, particularly larger people (I say that with all due respect having been one myself) expect that oh boy, here I go...start this program, and get my meal ticket to eating what I want and dropping tons of pounds. Well it just ain't so. Once I realized that this running thing is my activity of choice and I found my true passion, I bought into the runners lifestyle lock, stock, and barrel. I eat to fuel my runs, I run regularly (6 days a week) and train hard and weight lift as well. It has never been about the weight loss. That has been an added bonus, believe me, but it was never the reason why I chose to run nor the reason why I continue to run and trust me I've lost a lot of weight (I've gone from a size 20 to just buying my first size 8's in my entire adult life). I think many who start the program, again, like we've read over and over (which I suspect caused the post in the first place) people starting the program for the sole purpose of losing weight and get discouraged because they either 1) find the program to hard because of their lack of base fitnss 2) aren't losing enough weight fast enough for the "instant fix" they are looking for 3) have unrealistic expectations of how fit they will be after the program ends. Since the new year started, we've seen an increase in posts like "I've never run a day in my life, am XX (fill in the number) pounds overweight and want to run a marathon in 6 months". This is just not reality. Spice's post is not irresponsible or negative...in my opinion, she is trying to advise people of the journey ahead of them. The people who encourage the unrealistic goals of those people are irresponsible. So Bravo Spice for putting in words what so many of us feel...continue to provide the good, sound advice you give many many people here. Those that are in it for the true sport and the long haul will gladly continue to take your advice. It is responsible and realistic.
TRUST THE TRAINING!
Thanks for the info SpiceGeek. It's very "to the point", and some folks need it that way "straight no chaser"!
Hopefully most folks recognize that if they didn't gain a significant amount of weight overnight, it definately can't be lost that way...
With all of the commercials, billboards, and gimmicks out there, the fine print still says "with proper diet and exercise plan, you can see blah blah blah results".
I just started the C25K plan and I'm liking it so far.
For a person like me who has very limited knowledge on where to get started, this plan seemed SMART:
S – Specific M – Measurable A – Achievable R – Realistic T – Time Bound
Until I saw this program, I knew what I needed to do, I just didn't know how or where to start. And I wouldn't dare ask any of my "I work out 20 times a day everyday and I run a zillionK marathon every other weekend" associates about how to get started - anyone who is doing "couch" instead of "5K" would bow out of that conversation all together.
Many others probably feel the same way. C25K is getting me up and moving rather than hanging out with "Ben & Jerry's Karmel Sutra". To me, this regimin has casted the net low enough that it attracted and inspired me, and now I see that there are others out there as well.
I think your message served as an FYI, and I will print and re-read it because it's good information. It's unfortunate that some of the translation/delivery doesn't come over when sending a note online. I'm sure that you had the nobelist (sp?) of intentions.
C25K (Doing Mental Push-Ups)
"My First 5K" Run/Walk - Completed January 2010!
Spicegeek, thanks for the post. It really confirmed what I've been finding and I agree 100%. I'm a 200+ lb, 40-something who started working myself back into shape about 3 months ago.
My body cannot take the pounding it would require if I tried to run for my cardio and I would have quit by now if I had tried that approach. I've been more successful burning most of my calories on the bike or elliptical and interspersing the C25K plan. Also have been following a weight training program and am slowly but surely gaining strength and losing a little weight. The best news this week was that I'm comfortably in two belt notches on my work pants since I started.
Didn't find your post negative but inspirational..it told me I'm on the right track and need to just keep going. Thanks!
biggears, I love your post about your daughter. I wish I had fallen in love with running and being fit at age 9.
I have to agree with those who feel this post is negative - and I would add, condescending as well. It's not called Couch to Size 6 or Couch to Olympics. I started the program because I wanted to get myself on the road to getting healthier/fitter/and yes, thinner. And like most out of shape people find the gym intimidating (too many muscle heads/know it alls). While I know that 20-30 minutes of cardio alone will not melt the pounds away - IT IS A START! Every week I progress I feel better about myself, and more confident that I can accomplish my other goals.
No one wakes up one day as a marathon runner - the longest journey starts as a single step
Avon Day 5K 6/5/10- 41:12
Asbury Boardwalk 5K - 9/25/10
This is just the beginning....
My slowest run time is still better than my best sit-on-the-couch time!
"Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts" - Winston Churchill
I don't feel that spicegeek's post is overly negative; nor do I find it overly positive. If one takes in in the spirit in which I believe spicegeek intended it, this post is an attempt to prevent people from being discouraged when they find that the Couch to 5k program doesn't result in eye-popping weight loss or extraordinary gains in physical fitness. Given the volume of posts we see here that focus on weight loss through c25k, it's not a bad idea. Spicegeek isn't one to sugar coat things (that's more my style, to be honest), so it's easy to see her direct style as negative.
I do disagree somewhat with the notion that running isn't the place to start with fitness. Perhaps one might need to spend some time walking or on the elliptical/bike to build sufficient cardiovascular endurance to begin running in earnest, but running's a fine place to start getting into shape. Be mindful, though, that you're not trying to run too fast and that you pay attention to your body (aches and soreness can be okay; outright pain is not). Even time spent on the elliptical or bike, however, won't really prepare your musculoskeletal system for the pounding your body will take from running, but it will help keep you from getting winded before you have a chance to finish the programmed runs.
In any event, I believe the bigger problem isn't specific to c25k or any beginning running/fitness program. I think the bigger problems have to do with the idea that one becomes "fit" (as a single objective state) and the use of "diet" as a verb.
Fitness, to my mind, is a continuum. One is more or less fit; anything one does to get moving more than they usually do (be it c25k or anything else) should result in improved fitness. That's absolutely something to be applauded. If you complete c25k, you will be fitter, but not necessarily as fit as you possibly can be. It's a step in the right direction, but there's probably quite a bit farther to go from there. I think that's a large part of what spicegeek's trying to say.
Diet orignally referred to a way of living; it's only referred to a restrictive way of eating since the mid-15th century. Everybody's has a diet, but not everybody's trying to lose weight. (I know it seems like I'm splitting hairs, but I think this is a real issue). The way culture has morphed "diet" into a verb sets us up with visions of deprivation and sacrifice. In order to lose weight and maintain a healthy long-term weight, one needs to adopt a diet that provides high quality nutrients in a satisfying way. In short, one needs to change the way they eat and learn about what foods are filling and healthful while being tasty enough to eat for a lifetime. In short, it calls for a lifestyle change (what I would characterize as changing your diet, not "dieting").
Sorry for the sociological discursis; I spent way too much time in grad school.
2012 Race Schedule
Providence Marathon (4:48:55)
Buffalo Half-Marathon (2:03:16)
Chicago Marathon (October 7)
I read the original post in this thread-and my first thought was " Dad was right- it's not what you say-it's HOW you say it!"
in my opinion- the original post was un-necissarily negative-and perhaps un-consciously patronizing.
In a forum that primarily encourages, supports ,and teaches new runners-well the same info could have been presented MUCH less negatively
AND- I am really not sure how accurate some of the information given was-some of it was, at best factual and yet mis- leading.
let's look at a 130# woman who does the C25k vs. a 240# man who does the C25k and also eliminates a soda at lunch and a beer at dinner( 2 painless sacrifices)- the man may ,rather easily end the year 50# lighter-where as the woman may well end the year EVEN- or at best 10-12 # lighter !
fitness is relative-and relative to what is the question
I can't recall the author- but it sounds like Mark Twain: " there is nothing dumber than an educated man-once you get him off the thing he has been educated on!"- easily paraphrased I think- to there is no one less fit than a runner- once you get them away from their specialty
In my line of work- i deal with guys who work high up on scaffolding all day,bent over at the waist laying concrete blocks all for 8-10 hours in the sun- then go home and spend another 2 hours coaching their sons baseball teams or their daughters softball teams
ALSO ( my specialty)- guys who will pick up an 80-90# bundle of roofing, carry it straight up a 32' ladder and in one motion step out onto a pice of 2x6 toe board and then climb up 3 more lifts of staging(another 15-20 ft.) to get to the needed area-and they do it wearing a 15# tool belt AND smoking a cigarette AND they do it in less than 60 seconds AND they do it dozens of times a day. Most of them couldn't RUN a mile if you held a gun to their head--- but I don't think I would describe thyem as "not Fit"
fit as defined by who-compared to what?
I have employed both my sons and several of their friends-runners all-and frankjly it is pretty easy to work them into the ground
fit- compared to what?
My hat is off to ANYBODY starting the C25K !- more power to you-and I very much hope you look around this forum- you will uncover some truly impressive weight loss stories- really inspiring stuff
8-9 weeks from now- you will be running 3 miles and don't let anyone talk you out of it !!!!
Very best wishes,
Wow, condescending much?
Amen to this:
After graduating, this person can then build on his or her new ability to run for 30 minutes and start running longer, more often. The program is a base, and it is a base that will help people feel stronger, fitter, and capable of achieving other long-term goals.
Fat doesn't necessarily mean STUPID. Most of us realize that couch-to-5K is the gateway to an athletic activity. Fitness takes time. Weight loss includes many factors - calories in/out, building muscle, engaging in enough activity throughout the week, etc. Just because we are overweight doesn't mean that we don't understand how we got that way, or what it will take to get it off.
To the person who said you should only start Couch to 5K if you love to run, and that doing Couch to 5K won't teach you to love running -
#1 - How on earth would someone who has never run before know if they love running or not?
#2 False. I hated running at first, because it was HARD for me. I am out of shape. Running is difficult. It is challenging. But I am starting to really enjoy it - the feeling of accomplishment, the realization that I can run longer and longer distances, the way my body feels stronger each time, the way I feel afterwards. I do enjoy it, but three months ago I would've told you I HATED running. So I call baloney on that whole statement.
I've lost five pounds in four weeks - by watching what I eat, doing the C to 5K program, weight training, and walking on non-running days.
There is no need to try so hard to keep overweight people from attempting to run.
Also, if you are so certain that running will not eventually aid in weight loss (once we can work up to the appropriate distance and by watching what we eat), I'd invite you to check out the 200 lbs. + One Hour Runner thread, where several of the participants have lost over 100 pounds through RUNNING).
"I lost 121 pounds, more than half of which was a direct result of running."
I agree. Too many people think the C25K is the means to an ends and when they don't lose a ton of weight they get frustrated and quit. You have to run about 35 miles a week and eat exactly the same to lose 1 pound per week.... It is a good start. She is just basically covering the top questions and complaints from C25Kers. Sometime the truth is well...
Sue, read again what I said: you probably won't "learn to love it". (I added the emphasis on probably).
I am going strictly by anecdotal evidence here. No one I've ever personally known who has attempted a running regimen has gone from "I hate to run" to "I love to run". Every single person, without exception, that I have ever known who started out hating running never felt any differently about it no matter how much they ran. It is not at all condescending or even meant to be discouraging to say that running isn't for everyone. That applies to any activity whatsoever. I, for one, hate swimming. I can swim (if I have to!) but I will never love doing it. Swimming isn't for everyone....running isn't for everyone....snow skiing isn't for everyone....etc.
Of course I don't speak for everyone and if you say you went from hating running to loving it, then that is great for you. I just know that I never hated running to begin with - I loved it from the very first time I ran. If I hated running, I wouldn't do it. Really, I'd find something else I love to do,'cause life's just too short. THAT was my point, okay?
I don't think anyone is trying to keep overweight people from running. Heck I am overweight and I have been running for years!
(PS. Sue, it is really rude to come on here and refer to another person's opinion as "baloney". The polite response is simply to say, "I disagree")
You know what Sue, I'm going to disagree with you...yes, although fat doesn't mean STUPID to quote you, fat sometimes means "let me take the eaiest way out and when it doesn't work I can whine about it". Dude, been there done that! Spice is only pointing out that doing the program alone does not mean instant weight loss. You mention all the folks on the other thread, I've read it and also posted a few times...those people are not only running but watching their food intake as well. So why are you so offended by Spice's post...she's not referring to those people...its the people who figure they can tie their laces and take off and not change anything else in their lifestyles that she speaks to....I think you're a little defensive...and by the way, we all speak from experience here...not judgement.
TRUST THE TRAINING!
On a positive note.. The American Medical Association states that exercising even just 3 times per week 30 minutes at a time has very definite medical benefits. Although Couch to 5k starts workouts at less than 30 minutes it quickly gets you to that point. Even from the start I extended my sessions to 30 minutes. AMA also says the 30 minutes can even been broken up into smaller segments. Any "workout" is better than none and IT WILL be of benefit. Depending on an individuals beginning fitness level the benefits will vary. I was already active, but adding the running workouts to my schedule has been a real bonus! I do burn more calories than sitting on a couch! I've started gradually and I'm injury free!
This is a BEGINNERS forum. some beginners need to work out for 5 minutes before they can do 10. Whatever you can do it IS better than nothing.
Best wishes to everyone in your journey to get fit. I was active before going in to this program. I love the program! I started with one minute runs. Two months later I have ran 2 5k's and am now training towards a 10K. For me it is a great feeling of accomplishment. I am more fit than I was before doing these last 3 months of running segments. I'm more careful with what I'm eating and I have lost some weight. We all have different reasons for wanting to do C25k and I think they are all valid. As for myself I wanted to enjoy the "sport" of running. I liked having the challenge and goal of running a 5k!
As far as weight loss it has helped by motivating me to be more careful about what I do eat. I don't want to carry more lbs than I need to when I run. I want to have less load on my joints. So I see running and weight loss as working together. I understand what it takes to lose a lb.
Keep on moving my friends! Enjoy the journey!
Couch to 5 K Graduation Day November 26, 2009
Dana Hills Turkey Trot Thanksgiving Day 2009 5 K.... Time 32:22 MY FIRST 5k
Jan 9 Irvine 5k Time 32:52
Feb 7 Super Bowl 10k 1:08:31 MY FIRST 10K
September 5 2010 DISNEYLAND HALF MARATHON: 2:41:00
I have never been an athlete. I am 50 lbs. overweight. I used to come home from work, sit and watch tv, then go to bed. I started the C25K program, and finished it. I ran a 5K in 43:44. I'm still running every other day. Here are my thoughts on the program: The program was very motivational. I looked forward to "succeeding" every other day. I lost only 6 lbs. I wasn't trying to diet at the same time. But I also lost inches. And I redistributed some weight. I've been very happy with the progress. 4 months ago I could not run 60 seconds in a row without huffing. Now I run 9 miles a week. Not a lot, but better than watching TV. I feel great about my progress. I have more energy. I recently took up Tai Chi, to add another workout to my week. I added 2 walks a week in the park with my dog, because I now have the energy to do it. I fully recommend this program. Yes, if you want to lose weight you need DIET and exercise. But just to feel so much better about yourself every day, this program is totally worth it.