The fitness app that helped me get back on the wagon

In August, I hit a major personal milestone in running…and then promptly stopped running altogether. I helped a friend finish their first-ever Leadville 100 by pacing (running and hiking with) them for 12 miles of the race. It was hilly, it was dark, it was hard.

I was in the worst shape of anyone after the race…including those who actually ran all 100 miles. Pacing that section was a crazy goal I set for myself that I wasn’t sure I was actually going to be able to do. I was really proud of myself, but also completely beat.

The next day, everything hurt. The days following, I was not quite ~feeling it~ when it came to running. A few weeks later, my husband dragged me back out for some walk-runs in our neighborhood. But I still had no motivation. A month passed.

At the end of September, I came back from vacation in Yellowstone and Grand Teton with an itch to get running again. But I didn’t really know where to start.

I felt like I was too out of shape to go back to my old routine. I’m historically terrible at easing back into things. I do too much, get really sore, then lose motivation before I can get back out again.

But then I saw Aaptiv’s virtual 5k and the new training programs to go along with it. I’ve talked about how much I love this fitness app before, and a 5k that I could run for free wherever I wanted to was exactly what I needed this time.

Even better, there were two beginning 5k training programs to get me started off. I didn’t know where to start, but my new trainer Meg did.

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The program was five days a week, which is a lot for me, so I resolved to just get through as many of the workouts as I could before virtual 5k day. I’ve run a 5k before, and after getting through Leadville a 5k felt like an easy goal (which was a very cool feeling that I definitely never thought I’d have).

I was a little apprehensive about switching trainers (I’m a devoted follower of Ackeem’s workouts on the app) and almost let that be the reason I didn’t do it, but I knew I needed help getting back on the horse and that help needed to be workouts that wouldn’t exhaust me.

I chose the Cross-Train to 5k program with Meg, which incorporated strength training into regular runs. Choosing to start the program kept me from procrastinating running, and having Meg in my ear the entire time made sure I did more than stroll around my neighborhood.

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The workouts kept things low-key, but I still felt like I was working hard. Aaptiv has taught me to love the treadmill thanks to their huge variety of workouts, and it felt great to get back into that. The treadmill has made me a much better runner. I have more patience, better endurance, and got faster thanks to 1-2 times a week on what I formerly referred to as the dreadmill.

I was a little torn on whether I liked Meg’s coaching as much as Ackeem. At first, I appreciated that she talked about she totally gets that time on the treadmill seems like forever, and that running is really hard, but after a few weeks I found myself wanting to get back to Ackeem’s non-stop optimism. I’m already in my head a lot, so even though Meg’s tone was super beginner-friendly, it wasn’t quite for me.

But that’s the best part about Aaptiv – there are more than a dozen trainers to try out, so it’s easy to find one that gives you exactly what you need, whether that’s tough love, easy encouragement, acknowledging the hard parts, or reminding you to push through them.

I was expecting more true strength training from the training program, but instead of designated days for leg day or arm day, it was incorporated into the running workouts. This was actually really helpful, since I have historically completely neglected strength training when I’m trying to run more often because I just don’t have enough time during the week to go to the gym every day.

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The only drawback to this structure was that the treadmills at my gym are really close together, so it was a little tricky getting on and off and getting some squats in without being in people’s way. But it wasn’t a dealbreaker – I just modified so that I stopped the treadmill completely and did the strength moves on the treadmill before starting it back up again. Not perfect, but it works!

All of this is to say…if you need help getting back on that running bandwagon, consider Aaptiv. Join me for the virtual 5k on Saturday, Oct. 27. Even if you walk the whole thing, having a goal to kickstart things will help you get back into things (or start them for the first time). I’ve done three of the workouts (that is….a very small portion) but ended up getting my mojo back and going to the gym, got back on trails, and started stretching regularly again. It only took a little nudge, and Aaptiv was there to push me.

You can try Aaptiv with a 30-day free trial by signing up here. Find out more information about the virtual 5k here. If you’re in Denver and want to run together on Saturday morning, shoot me an email at outdoorbeginner at gmail dot com.

Aaptiv provides me a free membership in exchange for blog content and social media posts about my experience with the app. They do not approve or edit content and I wouldn’t share anything I didn’t genuinely love.

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