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Couch to 5K: Quitting is possible

Natalie Dee - Healthy living is for suckers...source

I wanted to elaborate on last night’s post, but first I want to take the chance to say thank you to everyone who commented.  No matter what your advice was, and no matter what I end up doing, you should know that your support and the time you took to come by and show it was more than a little appreciated.  I feel like I’m having a Crisis of Fitness (like a crisis of faith, but healthier and less philosophical… but only slightly) right now, and advice from friends and people who have been there is what will pull me through.

So I wanted to go into more detail about why I am thinking about quitting, and what has stopped me (so far) from actually doing so.  Why I want to quit:

  • I loathe going out to run
  • Since I started running, I am MUCH more easily injured.  Workouts that used to be fine for me have me sore for days (see last week’s power circuit adventure) and new workouts like this weekend’s step class leave me with severely aching tendons around my ankles and calves that feel like they are cramping.
  • Once I get past the first minute or so of each run, all I am doing is waiting for it to end.  I’m fighting with my body to maintain something resembling proper form, struggling (sometimes desperately) to breathe, dragging my legs and feet along beneath me, and praying for the end.
  • Ever since week 4 began, I no longer feel good after my runs.  I feel totally spent, worn out, and often sick.  I’ve tried a variety of different prerun fuels, stretches, and workouts to no avail.  We don’t run until close to sunset, so I’m definitely missing the hottest parts of the day.
    After this weekend’s BodyStep class, I realize that running is not necessarily the most efficient calorie burn…. which is why I started doing it in the first place.
  • Since I have no indoor workout options, the weather (which is quite rainy lately) can throw a wrench into my plans whenever it wants.  If I don’t run every other day, I really lose momentum and it’s ten times harder for me to get back out there.  Feeling that need to be out there every other day makes it really stressful for me when I miss a day thanks to weather or something else outside of my control.

Why I haven’t quit yet:

  • I “shouldn’t”
  • Other people are counting on me and expecting me to finish
  • I hate quitting, especially since I’ve been on here talking about running a 5K.
  • I will look like a loser.  I said I would do it, and now I am going to back out halfway through?  People will think I’m ridiculous!
  • I do genuinely enjoy the feeling of being able to say I did it.
  • I keep feeling like the difficulties I am having with running are my own fault somehow… bad form?  Too fat?  Poor technique?  Not hardcore enough?  And so I keep pushing, because I can’t quit something if it’s my fault it sucks, right?
  • Other people really, really seem to enjoy it.  I want to be like those people, don’t I?  They’re all so fit…
  • I love the time with my husband and daughter, and specifically I love getting out and doing something healthy with them.

Wow… not a very inspiring list for either one, is it?  I do want to be clear about something though.  Unlike the beginning of the year, and for most of my life before this year, I do not hate exercise.  In fact, I really enjoy my morning walks with my daughter.  I love yoga and Pilates.  I had a great time in that BodyStep class.  There are several workouts I do here at home that I really enjoy, even during the parts where I’m huffing and puffing and hoping the workout ends soon.  So it’s not like I just hate working out.  I really, really don’t.

Another thing that’s stopping me from quitting so far?  I’m worried that this lack of motivation/energy/determination is my own fault in a very specific way.  I’ve always thought I was just “not a runner,” and when I started this whole C25K adventure, I was still thinking it wouldn’t go far.  Despite that, I was surprised by how very, very difficult it was for me, which just confirmed my suspicions that running and I will never be good friends.  So sometimes I worry that I’m just one big self-fulfilling prophecy, that I jinxed myself somehow.

In the comments, someone suggested skipping this week entirely and just trying to move to week 5.  That’s definitely an option.  I am also considering replacing my C25K efforts with something like 30 Day Shred… although I would still want to go out with the family for long, brisk walks.  I like our time together so very much.  I’d also love to replace this with a whole string of BodyPump, BodyFlow, BodyStep, etc… but that will have to hold off until I can afford to join the gym.

Anyway… this far too long posts essentially sums up all of the thoughts that are bouncing around in my head about C25K specifically and about running in general.  Thoughts, comments, and advice are welcome and appreciated.  Thanks again for being here for me!


More from me:

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8 Responses

  1. Hmmm…you’re sure making a good argument for quitting now. You know, a major part of having a fitness routine for health and weight loss is sustainability. It needs to be something that you can continue for life. If running is not on the list, then most certainly ditch it! You don’t have to love everything you try and if running is #1 on the hate list, then it’s not going to be something you want to do for the long haul; it’s going to turn into something you feel like you “have to do.” And that is suckish.

    So now that I understand where you’re coming from, I will change my ” keep on keepin on” running speech to do what you love cuz if you do what you love, you will keep on doing! Fitness = movement. Any kind!

    You go girl 🙂

  2. My only advice: Listen to your body. If it says no, then listen.

  3. Personally, I think you need to stop.

    You want a fitness program that you can live with, not one that you tolerate because you think you HAVE to. That just won’t last.

    Do something you ENJOY, or can at least more than tolerate. No one’s keeping score, no one’s going to call you out. And even if they did – so what? You have to do what’s right for YOU.

  4. I think you should do things you enjoy for exercise, otherwise you will not continue with it. Maybe you can try it again later when you are further along in your weight loss journey….or maybe not lol. As long as you keep exercising, that’s the important part, what kind of exercise is up to you!

  5. you are not a loser if you quit running! Youll still be doing other things and you are much more likely to do it and often if you enjoy the exercise you are doing! No one is going to judge you or think poorly of you if running isnt your thing! There are plenty of people out there in great shape that hate running and dont do you. and you definitely right about it not being the best calorie burn, and on top of that is really not great for your joint…. especially is you are running on pavement and dont have the best shoes.

    My opinion. Stop running, keep doing the things you enjoy! and a good brisk walk will have a similar benefit to a run. there are a million ways to get and stay healthy and running doesnt have to be a part of that!

  6. It looks like I’m going against everyone here, buttttt
    it took me a while to get into running. Actually the C25K program moves much faster than I did. It almost a year to be totally comfortable running a 5k! And when you’re running a race you should be comfortable with that distance, not struggling to complete it. What’s wrong with mastering running a mile? Why not try running week 3 for the next month? I think you should listen to your body and back off. Take the time and enjoy every small accomplishment. Moving too quickly is how people get hurt. And if you’re not enjoying it or being excited about the progress you’ve made then you won’t feel motivated to continue.
    As for weight loss, I ended up losing weight without trying. The weight loss was no longer my focus, it was accomplishing something physically. And for you it sounds like it is a great family activity that sets a great example for your daughter!
    So there’s my vote. You can do it!

  7. […] I might hate running so much that I quit… […]

  8. I’m no expert at fitness routines because I frequently bail. But maybe if you want to quit guilt-free, repeat week 3 then attempt week 4 again. Possibly you weren’t ready to move on? Then if week 4 still sucks, bail on the routine because you gave it a very good shot and it just didn’t work. There’s no law that states you have to run.

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