This week for the Couch to 5K I graduated to running for three straight minutes at a time. On Sunday night I looked over the workout for the week and audibly gasped. “Three straight minutes of running? I’ve only run for like a minute at a time—are these people INSANE?” Possibly.
I procrastinated the Monday workout for a long time. I putzed around the apartment, made myself a cup of coffee (or two), watched backlogged YouTube videos, did some dishes—anything to avoid running for three straight minutes. I am a weakling, and even the idea of running for that long sounded terrible.
I finally got outside around 1PM, and when Constance said “start jogging” for the three-minute interval, I did something that didn’t quite feel like running. It felt like speed walking, excessive limb jostling that kind of looked like slow-motion jogging. I always kind of pity those runners when I see them on the street. “Please stop honey, you look like you’re gonna die. Are you even running, really?” (Karma, I can hear you laughing.) Over the course of the run I lost a whole minute on my average running speed (last week I was running at 9-minute miles, I’ve crawled to a 10-minute miles this week). I somehow succeeded by distracting myself. Rather than focusing on the “MY LEGS ARE LITERALLY GOING TO FALL OFF AND MY HEART WILL BURST THROUGH MY CHEST LIKE AN ALIEN” I started to use the time to plot-map my novel. I thought through scenes that I’d been stuck on, worked through backstories for some minor characters. Did I feel all three minutes? Sure. Heart-bursting-from-my-chest felt those three minutes. But I finished them. I ran (read: crawled) the whole time. And Constance’s heart-warming, sounds-like-she’s-giggling “walk” came through in the middle of a thought, so that it was kind of surprising that I was done. I didn’t want to keep running, I wanted to stop and fall down forever when she said I could walk, but it still did come as a surprise. “I did that? Like, I really just did that? But… how?”
Today I pushed myself a little harder. That 10:09 minute mile was a slap in the face. I mean, I didn’t even feel like I had to puke, so what was the point, really? Today I couldn’t concentrate on the plot-mapping, so I tried a different route. I run in a fairly secluded area of town (lots of houses, but not many pedestrians), so I turned up the music in my headphones, and let the imaginary music video start. There is a wonderful release in mouthing along to the lyrics of a ridiculous song, especially if you’re trying to stop your brain from the loop of “WE WILL DIE THIS WAY.” A good pump-up song should be more than just a mental pump-up—get physical about it. By now my workout mix is getting a bit old, it doesn’t quite get me as excited as it first did. So how do I combat that? Mental music video. Just go for it. Make it a giant running/dance party. Get crazy, turn it up, throw your limbs around a bit. I am confident I looked like an idiot—100% confident. But if you saw someone going for a run while mouthing the words from their headphones and dancing a bit you’d probably think, at most, “well, that person is having fun.” And that person will look at you for just thirty seconds anyway, and really, how terrible is thirty seconds of embarrassment in the grand scheme of things? Thirty seconds of embarrassment got me a 9:48 mile today.
Will I do this in an actual 5K? Probably not. But to get the endorphins flowing and my mind heading the right direction, I will run-dance for a bit. Want to look like an idiot with me?
90s and 2000s songs are a great start. You already know the lyrics.