5 Things I Learned While Training for a Couch to 5K Program

Serving up a little #MotivationMonday today, wanted to give you an update on my couch to 5K program. In case you missed it, earlier this year I set some goals for 2018 and completing a gradual 5K runner program was one of them. The program duration lasts about eight weeks and I did it 2-4 times per week over the duration of nine weeks because of my travel schedule. I trained indoors at my gym on a treadmill. I was extremely hesitant to ever mention my running goals on my instagram but so many of you responded so positively, you helped fuel my motivation to complete this challenge. I never considered myself to be a runner so I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to complete this program... but I did and that feels darn good to say! To all of the runners and non-runners out there, here are five things I learned along the way. 

Stretching matters! 

Stretch it out! For real, I like to stretch before and after my runs and it makes a huge difference. I just feel so much more flexible and warmed up when I stretch. Before my post-run stretch, I always like to do a “cool down” where I walk five minutes at a moderate pace to bring down my heart rate.

It isn’t a race. 

To me, it was never about being the fastest or strongest or the best. I set a goal of completing this challenge with no other expectations. As tempting as it is to look over on the treadmill next to me to see their speed and distance, I kept reminding myself that I cannot compare my journey to anyone else’s. I still don’t consider myself to be a runner but I’m sure proud that I was able to complete it on my own terms. And that’s all that matters! 

I CAN run.

This for sure was probably my biggest obstacle, perhaps even a metaphor for something bigger in my life. After years of telling myself I don’t have a runner’s body or I’m too big to run, I decided to challenge that voice in my head. When I first started the program, I was really hesitant to ever post about it because I was scared I’d fail. Not that I’m entirely scared to fail, but I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be up for this challenge. I simply started it because I was bored with my current workout plan and wanted to give it a shot.  I’ve proved to myself that I can run a 5K and these curves (and previously torn meniscus) were ABLE to run. 

I still don’t love running. 

Love is a strong word. Don’t get me wrong, I like running, I just don’t love it. When I first started, I had dreams of falling in love with running, craving the “runner’s high” that other people had experienced. After this program, I still can’t say that love running, but I do love and appreciate my body for being able to give it my best shot. Would I do it again? Yes. I still might keep up with it, but maybe try a different approach. I don’t enjoy running for 30 minutes straight, but knowing that I can is enough for me. In the future, I’d prefer 3 mins on, 2 mins off- something like that. 

I can do anything that I put my mind to.

This applies to all things in life, this was just a helpful reminder. When I imagined running, I had flashbacks of my high school soccer practice and how miserable I was because I wasn’t good at running. I was never the fastest nor did I ever enjoy it because I felt like I was losing a race I wanted no part of. I really enjoyed this couch to 5K program because it is gradual and at your own pace- literally. Each day, I got better, building up my endurance, surprising myself each time I completed the day. I ran by duration- not speed or distance because I didn’t really care how fast or far I was going, I was more into being able to run for particular amount of time. For anyone considering starting the program, I say DO IT! Prove to yourself that you can, because if I can do it- you can too. This I know for sure.

*Bonus* What you wear when you work out matters!

When you look good, you feel good and that always gives me a boost while working out.  For me, I prefer function over fashion but both, when possible. When I workout, I like to wear a cropped legging and a tank with either a zip up jacket or pullover. I have been in love with RBX Activewear for many years now, I can successfully say that I’ve completed this 5K journey wearing functional, fashionable and reasonable styles from RBX! Because I love, wear and believe in the brand so much, they were kind enough to partner with me and offer my readers a discount on RBX purchases! Use “Caralyn10” for 10% off your purchase.  In the photo above, I’m wearing the Prime X Back tank and the Prime Mesh Block pocket capri. Shop my looks here! 

Would you/have you ever done a running program like this? Does running come easy to you? Would you consider doing a program like this after reading my post? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, I can't wait to hear! 

Photo by Maxey Greene

My Health Journey: 2018

This year I'm feeling more motivated than ever to move my body and find more of a balance. I've tried numerous diets & workout plans and they've all worked for awhile... but then I get bored or fall far off the bandwagon, it seems impossible to jump back on. Earlier this week on my Instagram Story, I hesitantly posted that I completed four days of a couch to 5K program. I don't think I totally got my message across because I got an overwhelming amount of responses asking how I completed a 5K in four days! 😂 After clearing it up, many of you requested a post about it!

I recently became inspired by my beautiful, foxy, 57-year-old mother during a conversation we had a few weeks ago. We were talking about running and how she's completed one full marathon, four half-marathons and dozens of 5-8K races. She also mentioned how she'd like to do another marathon before she turns 60, describing the "runner's high" as one of the best feelings she's ever had. 

My mother (center)  bribing my sister & I to run 😂  we picked up the pace when we saw the cameras! 

My mother (center)  bribing my sister & I to run 😂  we picked up the pace when we saw the cameras! 

Exercise Goals: Move your body 4-5x a week and run a 5K

Now, let me break it down for you: I was NEVER a runner, I'm still not. I played sports in high school but that's as far as I went. I loath running- or at least I did. But I kept thinking about my mom's "runner's high" and wondering if I'd ever be able to feel that. I secretly challenged myself to a "couch to 5K" program- when you go from a couch potato to running a 5K within 6-8 weeks, depending on how frequently you want to train. I found the 5K Runner App seemed to work the best for me (this is not sponsored at all, by the way)! It's a free for the first 5 training sessions, then it has an in app purchase if you want the whole thing... I didn't realize that part but I was already committed to it so I bought it. Here's what the app I'm using as well as a few others recommended by you to use!

The whole point of using the app is to gradually build your endurance so it gradually helps you build your ability to run. The app I use eases you into the program with 1 minute of running, 1 minute and 30 seconds of power walking. I found this WAY more achievable than I ever thought!

Healthy Eating Goal: Be more aware of what I'm eating

When it comes to establishing better habits, I am choosing to use the Weight Watchers app to track and become more aware of my eating habits (again, not sponsored in any way). It's just incredibly helpful for me to be healthy when I am aware of what I'm putting in my mouth. A free version of this tracking concept is "Lose It." For whatever reason, I'm more likely to commit to something when I pay for it. But it works very similarly if you're looking for something like that! Or you could simply use a journal and write everything down if you prefer. I am trying not to get caught up on counting calories or the number on the scale. Instead, I'm focusing on portion control and eating higher quality, less processed foods. I've only been doing it for 7 days now and I simply feel better and less bloated. 

Self Care/ Mental Health Goals:

As I've discussed before, self-love is a journey- NOT a destination. It's something I work on every single day. One of my goals for 2018 is to be kinder to myself, especially when I speak about or to myself. I'd also like to learn more about meditation and try it for five minutes a day. It may not sound like much but smaller goals are more attainable, so I'd like to start there. I am also working on trying to be more present by limiting my screen time every day and having phone-free zones at night. 

Sports Bra Recommendations (by popular demand):


Let's talk about sports bras for a full bust! I consider myself a bra expert because I've worked in the lingerie industry for four years which has allowed me to understand the science/ technology behind them. If that doesn't persuade you, I wear one every day. There was a time in my life when I was wearing two to three sports bras when I worked out because I couldn't find one with enough support & modesty. Lo and behold, I've found you FOUR, yes FOUR different sports bras that I wear on rotation, instead of on top of one another. 🙌🏼 I was just beside myself to go from zero that could handle high impact to FOUR different options! I personally cannot wear a racerback bra, it's too much pressure on my neck but all of these give you an option to hook them into a racerback if you prefer that look!
All of the pictures are clickable, which means you can shop them directly from this post. 😍

Be sure to check out my Instagram story today for an exclusive break down of all four of these bras. I love and wear all of them. You might not need four, but hopefully I can help you decide which one is best for you! Please feel free to leave any questions / concerns that you may have. Some people may be scared away by the price however, you need to invest in your bras. This is something you're wearing EVERY DAY and you deserve to feel supported- literally.