The Couch-to-5K Running Plan

So you want to be a runner? Good girl. Here's how I did it.

In Chapter 1 of the book I blather on about how I always despised running, lying awake terrified the night before "The Mile" every school year when I'd be forced to lope four times around the track, fearing collapsing before reaching the finish line. I still remember how future Olympians like Lia Walker would run The Mile in six minutes and I'd come skating in at 9:56 on a fast day, my throat sore, all shaky and sweaty and delirious with joy at not having walked and not coming in at the back of the pack with the walkers.

Even if you were a walker, you can try the program I did that transformed me from a running-hater to a person who actually can't think clearly or digest properly or sit still without a multiple-mile run several times a week. It's called The Couch-to-5K Running Plan. It takes about eight weeks and it's very reasonable and rather fun and regimented and will surprise you. I mean that if you don't run and you want to, you will surprise yourself at what you are capable of.

It might sound like I'm bragging a little about the running thing. Okay, fine, I am. I am truly amazed at how a year and a half ago I couldn't run a mile comfortably, and now I can and do run many times that.

Thanks to Bobbie, who wrote to me asking about the running program I did, and who articulated what I think a lot of women feel/think about running and other kinds of exercise:

I realized as I read that I've always told myself I can't run and I can't do this or that -- and maybe it's time I say I want to run, I can run, and I am going to run! I'm a near couch potato right now that's blessed with a high metabolism, but I don't want to neglect my health any more.

Hooray, Bobbie! We should all stop telling ourselves what we can't do. Good luck, future marathoners. Lia Walker, eat my dust.

Oh my idiocy, I never until this very minute noticed her last name was WALKER. Lia Walker. I would have done anything at all to run that fast.


  • On Exercise: I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is
  • The Long Run, Hubris