Monday, October 17, 2011

Taking the First Step to Getting Into Shape...

Over the past few weeks I have had several come up to me to tell me how inspired they are by our story.  Although I did not expect it, I am so happy to see our journey helps others.  The common question that has come up time after time is, "How did you get started?" 

Regardless if you are an experienced endurance athlete when you decide to start training to become an Ironman or you are a "couch potato" like I was, everyone has to have a starting point.  We all have different motivations for doing so, and there are several paths to get there.  I can't say that my way is the best way, but I will discuss over the new few posts on how I got started and how it may help you with your journey.

Before Picture 40lbs overweight!
Before I started, I made every excuse known to man on why I could not get into shape.  I would say the typical things like, "I don't have time to exercise," or "I have bad knees which limits me from running."  Trust me there are plenty of excuses that you can personally come up with that will keep you on the couch, but you need to find the one "right" reason to get you up an going.  Is it because you recently saw yourself in a picture that you did not like?  Did someone you love mention to you that you seemed like you were gaining some weight (trust me, those are great friends)?  Did you notice that you were extremely winded climbing up a flight of stairs or chasing a young child around?  Whatever the reason is, you need to keep that with you help you to remember why you decided to make the move in the first place. 

Daddy and Shawn after 3rd Surgery at Texas Children's Hospital
As you may know, my reason was that I noticed my infant son going through the impossible with his 3 sureries before he was 14 months old.  I wanted to prove to him that I could accomplish my impossible as well, in return, giving me a greater chance of living a longer and healthier life together.  I keep that thought close to me everyday to keep me going, and so far it has seemed to work.

My next step was to formulate a training program.  There are several plans out there, and it definately can get your mind spinning.  I know they did for me.  I was overwhelmed by the countless information on the internet, and I made the mistake that was just going to do it myself.  I went to the gym to lift weights and headed to the local hot spot to run.  Two days later, I was barely able to get out of bed, and I had shin splints so bad that I thought I had broken my legs.  I was in major pain, and ready to give up.  Fortunately,  I got a little motivation from my wife.

Rachel mentioned to me that I should consider signing up for a 5K running event a few months away that she was volunteering for, so I would have something to look forward to.  That is where I received my breakthrough.  I started to look for beginning 5K training plans and ran across what I consider the best "first step" to getting off the couch that has ever been released, the Couch to 5K program and the C25K app for iPhone and Droid by Bluefin Software, LLC.

Here is some information from their website,

Couch to 5K is a beginner's running plan created by Josh Clark.
It is designed for people who are just taking up running
  • You alternate between walking and running until you build strength
  • It is a 9 week long plan
  • You workout 3 times a week, ideally with breaks between days
  • Each workout session is from 30-40 minutes long (including 5 minutes warm up and 5 minutes cool down)
For example, the first week you run for 60 seconds then walk for 90 seconds and repeat that for 20 minutes.
The second week you increase to 90 seconds running and 2 minutes walking, and so on, until at week 9 you are able to run for 30 minutes straight, roughly 5K.

The main reason that I decided to use their app was I did not want to spend the time to keep up with my stopwatch or download the various podcasts that had music that I just did not like.  This app allowed me to listen to my own music while giving me audio cues to switch from walking to running.  After I was done with my workouts, the C25K app allowed me to post my results directly to facebook and twitter where all of my friends could comment and keep me motivated.

SCOPE 5K Race 2010 (Houston, TX)
SCOPE 5K Race 2010 (Houston, TX)
This app really helped me out a lot, and I know that it can help you too.  About 7 weeks into the program, I felt strong enough to attempt my first 5K.  Not only did I finish, but I had an impressive finish time.  None of that would have happened unless I decided to download that C25K App.  It was the start of my journey, and it can be yours too. 

The best part of Bluefin Software is that it is not only for beginning runners, but even experienced runners can get good training plans whether it is a 10k, a 1/2 Marathon, or even a full Marathon.  To check out their full line up of apps for your iPhone or Droid, CLICK HERE

Happy training and looking forward to you emailing me with your success stories and request to join Team Shawn's Anomaly.