I’m not a pretty runner.
And I don’t mean good looking. I mean: I don’t look like a runner. I look like someone trying to imitate a runner. Someone doing a horrible job at imitating a runner, to put it accurately.
I’m about halfway through my Couch to 5K (C25K) running program.
For all the details on C25K, check out this article. I’m almost halfway through the entire program. Give me another four or five weeks (depending on weather) and I’ll be able to run a 5K without stopping. This deserves some celebration! When I finish the fourth week, I will order myself something good. (I’m thinking either heart rate monitor or some new running clothes.) C’mon! I specialize in positive reinforcement behavior training — you should expect these incremental rewards from a dog trainer.
The C25K program begins by focusing simply on time spent exercising. They don’t really care how far you go, you just need to do a specific number of run/walk combinations.I’ve been pushing it a little harder than what the program requires. I wanted to cover 3 miles from the beginning. When I started, I did the required number of run/walk combinations, but by the program’s 1/2 mark, I’d only covered about 1/3 of my route. No matter, I simply added that extra distance onto the end of the C25K program. I walked the additional distance in the beginning, as my endurance was miniscule.
Today, though, halfway into the 8-week C25K program, I did an entire 3.1 mile jog! I walked when the program instructed me to, did my run/walk combinations like a good girl, then — for the first time — jogged the remaining distance I had to cover after I’d already met the duration requirements of the C25K.
Through the power that is shaping, I succeeded!
I lower my eyes admitting this: shaping works for people! I already know this. I’m a dog trainer with a Masters degree in psychology. I know behavior. But, confession time — even though I know it works, I have trouble believing it will work on me! Isn’t that silly? I mean, why wouldn’t it work on me? I’m not a special exception. I’m a being with a brain. The laws of behavior work on me the same way they work on every living creature.
Yet still, I’m surprised when shaping works on me.
Silly? Yes. But fun, too. I was ecstatic when I was able to run that last entire leg — that leg that went above and beyond what the C25K program requires. I’m on the right track! Pun intended.
Lily the Labrador hasn’t accompanied me the last several runs simply because the weather is too cold or rainy for a dog.
Don’t get me wrong, she could easily handle it. I simply haven’t run outdoors because it’s too dangerous to run the roads lately. I’m not worried. Lily’s fitness level puts mine to shame. And she’ll be 12 in another month! But look out Lily! I’m getting better! Soon, we’ll be running the whole 3.1 miles, girlie. She’ll be so happy, my jog is her ideal pace. She tolerates my walking. Barely.