When I was at school I was literally terrible at running. Anything over 100 metres seemed impossible, and the annual “cross-country” event generally saw me arriving at the finish line amongst the last 10 people. Little did I know then that 20 years later I would be starting running again in an attempt to both increase my health and lose weight.
I started running a “5k training plan” just a few months ago. The reason was simple; I wanted to assist my weight loss, and loved the idea that I could burn off my food with exercise (and therefore eat more). A friend suggested an app for my iPhone (Walkmeter 8.0) and so I downloaded it.
The first thing I did on installing the app was browse the exercise activities, which range from cycling to walking. I selected a 5k running plan and was more than pleased to see my first session was to be a more than manageable 1 minute run, 1.5 minute walk repetition, repeating for half an hour. Surely even I could manage to run 1 minute, couldn’t I?
Headphones on and music playing (again controlled within the app), I headed out. The app spoke to me and told me when to walk and when to run. I did get tired towards the end of the session despite the short runs, but it was still manageable. When I finished I was presented with lots of information (speed, maps, etc, calculated via GPS) and the ability to post my results to a variety of social networking sites.
Flicking forward through the schedule, I could see that I was only expected to run every 2 days and it never got any longer than 30 minutes total. Each session the run intervals got longer and the walk intervals shorter, until I was running solidly (and surprisingly) for a solid 5k (3.1 miles). Walkmeter even calculates calories burned (approx 450 for a 5k run, at least for me) – all important for those on a calorie controlled diet.
Right now I’m running a 10k plan – 6.2 miles goal in 12 weeks. I can confidently say I’ll get there as I’ve amazed myself by reaching half that distance in just a 2 month time period. The only thing I’ve needed to buy was a decent pair of running shoes (to prevent some leg injuries which can develop otherwise), making this a far cheaper alternative than going to the gym.
At just a couple of quid Walkmeter is definitely worth the money. The simple display, variety of statistics and customisation options make it so easy to use and functional. I’ve set it to read my calories burned and remaining distance every half mile; it works well to keep me motivated and at the end of each session I’m looking forward to the next.
All in all a great app and well worth considering this or another way of starting a beginners running plan. I’ve lost 15.5 pounds since starting and it’s still coming off.
If I can do it, so can you!