Couch to 5 K

Updated on May 26, 2009
L.B. asks from Kennett Square, PA
16 answers

I am looking for motivation from other mom's who were able to get into shape. I have two young children, 1 and 2 y.o. and work full time. The madness of my daily life has taken a toll on me and i have gained a lot of weight. I have never ran recreationally however after dieting is not doing much i realize that i need to exercise. Anyway my husband has been running and in a quest to loose weight and have some "me" time I have decided to run in the mornings. I have downloaded a couch to 5 k program which i plan on starting tomorrow. I am looking for motivation from others who have been there and succeeded. I am hoping that through your inspiration I can be inspired to get into shape. My goal is to be at the 5 K mark by September.
Thank you!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I have been using . It has afood and exercise log. You type in what you have eaten for each day and what exercise you have done. Good luck



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi! In what part of town do you live? I've started a very informal "Fit Mom's Club" recently. I basically wanted to have playdates with kids and moms who are fitness-minded and try to live a heathy lifestyle. I work in the heath and fitness industry and I worked hard to get back into shape! I'd love to share my experience. E-mail me if you're interested, [email protected]

Good luck,

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answers from Philadelphia on

Dear L. B,

I don't know if my story will help to motivate you or not... ( I honestly feel no one else can motivate you, it must come from within!)

This August will be two years since I began my healthy quest. I became severely depressed after my annual PP appointment where I topped out at 258 pounds on my 5ft 7in frame, I was wearing size 22/24 women's (I thought their medical scale was wrong until we bought a new scale and i found my old scale was reading 10 pounds lighter). I knew I had to do something.

At that time, my daughter was 4 and in pre-school 3 mornings a week and my son was 2 at home with me. I was a SAHM. So I set some guidelines for myself; no eating after 7pm (unless rare special occasion), no treats until i had reached a goal (french fries, chocolate, desserts, fast food), no soda at all, drink more water & milk, and eat meals regularly particularly breakfast. Mostly, exercise every day. I began with walking while my daughter was in school pushing my son in a stroller. We also had a treadmill, bowflex, and recumbent bike, and free weights. My walks soon progressed to walk/jogs (my son loved when I jogged and often asked for it "again! again!"). I would enjoy alone time out on the weekends while I had my husband to watch the children. I made sure to include weight training with my aerobic exercise- I would alternate days. As the weight began to slowly drop-off and the jogging became a bit easier, I looked for a 5k run I could get behind. I chose the Philly armstrong challenge as I had lost 3 beloved family members to 3 different cancers. This run was in August and my goal was to finish. I found a good friend to go with me. I did the 5k but had to jog/walk and wanted to keep moving forward so in my neighborhood in September was a 5k for the first responders. My new goal was to run the whole thing, no matter how slow that running became. I followed Hal Higdon's schedule and ran the whole 5k. I continue to set new goals for myself; first 5 miles, and now 10 miles (I am almost there 9 miles done a few weeks back). I am almost at 100 pounds lost and just bought the first pair of size 8 pants I have ever owned in my life (even when I was 8yrs old)! I still have a bit more to go but I feel so much healthier and look forward to my alone time runs out on the road. And I listen to my body; if it is a run I expect to do 6 miles and find that after 4 I need to slow and walk the rest, I do and I enjoy the slow-down to look at the scenery.

What inspired me through the tough spots? A very good friend & my husband. I hit plateaus after every 20 pounds lost; literally every 20 pounds! Very frustrating! My brilliant husband thought to chart my measurements. Well we found on those weeks of no weight loss my body measurements dropped significantly - very inspirational. My good friend always asked how my exercise was doing without any judgement what-so-ever and always complimented me. I also never call my lifestyle a diet. It isn't. It is a new way of life for me that includes exercise, lots of water, vitamins, healthy foods, and the occasional treat or big meal at a restaurant. I still enjoy chocolate, french fries, buffalo wings, desserts - just not every day! Also, having clothing become to big is inspirational in itself as well as fitting smaller sizes. My good friend just took me shopping to find a few fabulous pieces to flatter my new smaller figure and she complimented me the whole time! Very flattering! Yet the one thing that has helped me immensely has been the physical well-being that has come. Before, when I weighed over 250 pounds, my sleep was disturbed, I was tired all the time, my hips hurt every morning when I got out of bed, I had heel pain so bad that I had tried cortisone shots and was planning to schedule another, I was short of breath and lost my temper with my children ALL the time, I would cry and yell at the drop of a hat and was just sad.

I still get mad, yell and cry; but it doesn't feel so uncontrollable. I know my body better now too. I know the week before my period i will gain weight and the week after I will lose more weight than the other weeks. I know the week before my period, exercising will be harder as I am very tired and sluggish but the week of and after my period i have an energy spurt. I keep a journal of my exercise routine and chart my weight once a week. My children see me getting "fit" and enjoy my accomplishments with me as treats or special adventures (ice-skating, dancing, walks in the park - things we did not do before my weight loss). I also feel more empowered- like i can accomplish more if i put my mind to it. This past year I diagnosed and repaired our dishwasher, washing machine twice (different parts), and changed headlights in both our cars. It may not seem like much to you but 2 years ago i never would have tried this. i would have thought it was beyond my abilities.

You can do this! It will add so much to your life; health, confidence, patience, alone-time, adventure, and a sense of accomplishment. Get your husband behind you! And if you can't get him, find a good friend who inspires you with their fitness. Choose a 5k for convenience or a cause you support. And just start, one foot in front of the other... When I am out, I know I am not the fastest, strongest, or fittest but i am the turtle- slow and steady, slow and steady, and just finish.

Good luck! You have it in you to do this and back-slides occur just don't let them keep you from your goals!

ann m.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Hi, L.!
Congratulatiions on setting this goal! You've accomplished the first step. I want to share some definite inspiration with you. These 6 amazing moms accomplished more than they ever could in 12 weeks. Stay on track, and you'll be there soon enough!

One of these women works approximately 65 hours per week and has 2 children. You CAN do this 5K! Best of luck to you!




answers from Philadelphia on

Dear L., as a mom of 2 boys, 13 months and 2 1/2 yr old, that works full time I feel your pain! Prior to children I was able to work out for as long and as often as I chose but now I face the same challenge as you! I have found that it takes some planning to get that workout in. However, as you probably know is that working out is usually the last thing we want to do some days! I have never been runner but have recently started running myself. I have found striving for a 5k was a good goal. In fact I just ran a five mile race for the first time! I was never able to run 5 miles before! I have changed my focus. I run for leisure and take in the sites. I have found that I am seeing alot more of the area than I realized was out there before. This change in focus has aloud me to run farther. I am a very slow runner but at least I get out. Running is hard so keep that in mind!!! The "me" time is very important for you and your family. I also strive to run or do some type of exercise 3 times a week but try not to stress if I don't make it. I was working out in the am before work for awhile but my sons do not always sleep through the night and 5 am was coming a little to quick! good for you to give it a try! Anything I can help with feel free to contact me! I can tell you that you will feel better about yourself pretty quickly once you start moving! Good luck! C.



answers from Allentown on

hi L.,
set shorter goals ... ex; 1k by 4 of july. [you have cheer'n rights if you go further ]
good shoes and excellent cotton bra[any brand]
anti itch clothing
anti sweat clothing [ any brand]
make it fun ;add music, just think , just look
If you also start 'Alli' you will be a hot momma , hence, follow rules exactly w/ alli .
good luck
'to be young again'



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi, L.. Good for you. You can do it with determination and dedication. I am a personal trainer and I have a few clients who have lost anywhere from 25-110lbs each. It takes a combination of strength training, cardiovascular training, and better eating habits. It takes consistency, consistency, consistency. If you are determined that you won't let anything get in your way, you'll accomplish your goals. Don't forget to stretch after your can be very easy to get injured when you are first starting out because of being overzealous. Make sure you do your strength/resistance training helps to create lean muscle which in turn boosts your metabolism. This is a huge factor that most women overlook when trying to lose weight. And, when it comes to eating, you have to be consistent and diligent. You can't eat great all week and then hit Micky D's on the weekend for a Big Mac, fries and a shake and expect to lose a great deal of weight. The more consistent you are, the better the results. You don't need to deprive yourself..just eat with balance and moderation. It's okay to have a cookie...yes, I said a cookie...but just ONE cookie..not the whole bag and not the 350 calorie cookies from the specialty stores. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water...and reach your goals. Have fun!



answers from Philadelphia on


In my weight loss quest, I've been using an on-line support system at I log my meals and my workouts, get daily e-mails about various health/exercise/weight loss topics (including staying motivated), and I participate in a couple of chat-like zones called groups. There are groups there that are all about running at all levels.

I also get up early in the morning for my workouts, so that I can have that "me time. Otherwise, I wouldn't get it. Good luck!



answers from Sharon on

Its important that you get a physical to see how your triglycerides etc are doing. My triglycerides were always high nad they told me to cut back on the cookies and candy. thing was I was hardly eating any so I never got them down becuase the real culprit was too many carbs and big portion sizes. Children can certainly put your body out of wack so you should get checked out.

My weight loss came after 10 years of being overweight when I found out I had gestational diabetes and had to be put on a diet. I thought I was going to die as I'm a big carb addict and my portion size was now very small.

I have manged to keep the weight off by continuing to fill up on fresh fruit and veggies and by eating a high fiber diet. Our whole family is now more health conscious and my children are learning what foods help with different things in your body. They will take a bite of something they know they don't like because they understand what it does for their body.

I also have way more energy since loosing the weight. Healthy really does feel so much better. Also get good sleep and eat every meal and snack becuase you are more likely to be overweight if you don't do these things. Losing weight for me has been a lifestyle change.



answers from Lancaster on

Hi L.. I was motivated to start running at the beginning of the year. Let me first say that I am NOT a runner!! And I am a bit overweight as well. I did the couch to 5k podcast. It was so great! I couldn't believe how long I could run by the time I was done!! I must say though that I downloaded a version that a guy did that he put to music. That one was a lot better for me personally. Sometimes it gets hard and you feel like giving up, but don't! I'm still working on cutting down time on my 5K. I've gotten sick a couple of times and that has hurt my time a bit, but I'm getting back on track! Good luck and stick with it! It's worth it!!


answers from Pittsburgh on

Good luck and Best wishes....wish I could even attempt to do that!!



answers from Erie on

I started running after children. When you first start, it kind of feels like hell . . . but don't give up. When I ran, I ran 3 miles a day for a long time, then moved it up to 4 and 5, almost all at once. The last time I ran regularly, I started running "as far as I could" and turning around and heading for home. But I HATE turning around. So each day I'd go one telephone pole more, or something like that, and then, one day, I didn't turn around, I turned a corner and ran the full "square" which was 6 miles. There were a number of steep hills on my route, but when I had to, I'd stop and walk up them. I considered it a GREAT achievement to actually RUN the whole route once.

I remember when I first started, telling a friend who ran a LOT (and was very good, versus pudgy me) that it never seemed to feel better. And she laughed, and said, "That's because when you feel good, you run further before you quit, so you get as tired as you did the first time you ran." And she's right. But I did get much stronger, and if you run at the same time every day, you will come to a point when your body tells you it's "time to run". time to go; time to run; and you just "have" to go running. :-)

So push thru. You'll get there !



answers from Allentown on

Get a buddy--studies find that women who have an exercise buddy do best. You might even seek an exercise buddy in your area on this site; I've seen people looking for exercise buddies on craig's list, too (if you're careful).

A 5K is a great goal overall. But also realize that you need to approach your goal of losing weight from 3 sides: reduce caloric intake (eat less), do cardio (running), and increase lean muscle (lift weights--can be light, like 5-15 lbs., and no, you won't start to look like a ripped bodybuilder--female bodybuilders have to work much harder then men to get that look). After age 40 I found it much harder to lose and maintain doing just cardio. I can suggest some things if you want, easy to do at home (I keep my weights under the sofa and do them in 20 minutes 3x a week).

Best of luck getting a run buddy!



answers from Erie on

wow sounds awesome. i just heard about this program from an aquaintance who is going to try it. Get yourself some good shoes and YOU GO GIRL!


answers from Williamsport on

You can do it!
You will see a world of difference right away when you add in the physical running. And your heart and skin will thank you!!! NO ONE can lose weight without the exercise. Don't be discouraged, the first 2 or 3 times will be brutal, but you'll start feeling better very quickly the more you go. Never feel bad "slowing down" or fast walking as much as you need to. The heart rate is what counts, and you don't want to discourage yourself!

Also, I don't know your age, but I hit a major plateau after my second was born, even my cardio wasn't helping much with eight loss even though I felt much batter and my skin was glowing. I had to add in muscle resistance to the mix and then the weight started falling right off. If you can possibly tack on 20 minutes of muscle burning to your run-like three sets of 10 push ups for arms/chest, 3 sets of 10-15 squats or lunges for legs, and 3 sets of 10-15 abdominal reps-crunches or whatever, you will see your weight loss speed up a lot. The muscles will be burning calories even when you aren't working out.

Good work and good luck! You will automatically improve your eating when you're exercising it's an upward spiral!!! Remember to eat a good breakfast with protein in it to start your day off energized-this will help your body burn fat properly and feel better all day. Eat nutritious snacks and meals, don't starve yourself- it slows metabolism and causes relapses. It does wonders to eat your lightest meal at night. Take your time and enjoy your gradual shrinkage!!!



answers from Philadelphia on

L. -
Way to go girl! You have taken the first and hardest step which is to recognize that you want to change your life! And you have a goal to shoot for, which will make it so much easier to measure your success. I applaud you for wanting to get healthy for yourself, but also bc you are setting a good example for you kids!!!

I also am a personal trainer and fully agree with the other posters who advised you to take a three-fold approach: healthy eating habits (not a diet!), cardio and resistance/weight training. On the healthy eating side, I recommend to all my friends the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno. It advocates eating every 2 - 3 hours, small meals, always a lean protein and complex carb source. This is a great way to rev up your metabolism and keep you feeling fuller longer. She also has another book out which demonstrates easy to follow resistance training routines. You could start with light 3 - 5 lb weights so don't be intimidated by the thought of "weight training". By doing it, you will increase your lean muscle mass, and reduce your body fat percentage. Simply doing cardio will not get you to that point. So combine a couple days of cardio with two days of weight training to start.....and go from there! Good luck to you!!!! Make sure you post how you're doing!!!

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