Let’s be clear on something: I hate exercise. I have ever since Phys Ed class in high school. It was my poorest class–I probably averaged a C+. Whenever we did any kind of long distance running, I would usually come third to last in the class. I’d beat the corpulent Chinese kid and an asthmatic Brit with skin the colour of flourescent light.
I actually don’t mind competitive (though not too competitive) sports like soccer or Ultimate frisbee, but lately my schedule has prohibited much of that. And hiking is nice.
These days I go to the gym twice a week, and loathe every minute of it. It’s a necessary evil, though, and I’m planning on adding some cardiovascular activity to the routine.
When we lived in Morocco, I did most of the Couch to 5K running plan jogging barefoot on the beach. It’s an interval program where you start with lots of walking and a little running and, after nine (though I’ll probably take 12) weeks, you’re running five kilometres.
Because it’s an interval program, you spend a lot of time glancing at your watch and saying to yourself “okay, run until the second hand goes past the three, twice”. I found it a little tricky to focus on the audio book or podcast I was listening to when this time-tracking sub-routine was always running in my head. And the audio book or podcast is critical, because it’s the only enjoyable aspect of exercising.
I’m embarking on the Couch to 5K routine again. This time, I’m going to do so armed with this nifty little iPhone app:
It provides vocal cues–in male voice, female voice or beeps–to tell you when to switch from walking to running and vice versa. You can listen to music or other audio and it just interrupts for a moment to tell you to slow down or speed up.
I’ll still hate jogging, but this will make my morning runs 4.6% less excruciating. Which is a good deal, at $1.99 for the app.