If you had asked me 5 or 6 years ago if I would ever run a marathon (or even a half marathon) I would have laughed at you. While I loved to go to the gym and take step or go 30 minutes on the elliptical, I was sporadic at it at best, and I definitely did not like to run. I kind of wanted to run. I was always jealous of the people I see jogging outside on a nice day, in their cute running outfits (seriously, I LOVE workout clothes!) but I never knew how to start running. Running was hard for me, I would try to go out and do a mile or two around the track at a local high school, but I would get tired quickly and have to walk. Then I would get discouraged and then negative thoughts would start to creep into my head and I would give up.
Then somehow I came across the Couch to 5K program. I honestly don't know how I heard about it. But when I checked it out, I thought "I can do that." It is a series of 30(ish) minute workouts that lasts 9 weeks. Each workout starts with a 5 minute walk to warm up and ends with a 5 minute walk to cool down. The first week alternates between a 1 minute jog and a 1 1/2 minute walk. You do it 3 times a week, and each week increases the jogging time. At the end of 9 weeks, you are jogging 30 minutes, or 3 miles. There is an app for the program that uses your own music, and a "coach" tells you when to walk and jog.
Here is somethings that helped me when I started:
*It is really easy to quit. I told a friend of mine (who I consider to be a running superstar) what I was doing, and she
*Speaking of friends, find someone train with. For me, my iPod was fine for the C25K program. But when I decided to train for a marathon, I needed to have a person with me. An hour or two is a long time to keep yourself motivated.
*It's NOT about speed. Who cares if you are slow? I know I am not going to EVER win one of these races I sign up for. But that's not why I do it. One thing that I loved about the Couch to 5K was that it was about jogging for the time, not about trying to reach a certain distance. I still am not fast. If you do sign up for a race (which is the fun part!) make sure you check out the details. Many of the races have a minimum speed, usually around a 15 minute mile. Most races I have seen have "sweepers" that means you have to run on the sidewalks and obey traffic laws after a certain time at a certain point on the course. Others will actually make you get on a bus and drive you to the end if you don't make it. (The Disneyland/World Half marathons do this)
If you want to do a longer distance, I highly recommend Hal Higdon's schedule for a half marathon. He also has a marathon training schedule. They are for novices, and I have used both. he does recommend that you are able to run 3 miles to start with.
Let me know if you have any questions! I am no expert, but I have been through this. The hardest part is getting started and staying motivated. I would love to help you in any way I can! The more people you let know about your goal the better!
***I wasn't paid or compensated in any way by any company I mentioned here. I just really believe in these programs and wanted to share with everyone!***