I have been struggling to actually exercise lately, aside from dragging my butt to the weekly swing dances. There never seems to be time to ride the bike to the store, and words are insufficient to express how much I hate getting up early to work out before breakfast. So tallasiandude has been trying to gently nudge me in various ways, and to his endless credit none of those ways have made me want to smack him (no small task when it comes to the topic of exercising). And one of those nudges appears to have managed the impossible, and I am now undertaking to learn to run.

For now it is “running” rather than actually running, but it does seem to be working. It is Couch to 5K, which is deliberately constructed for people who think they hate running and never exercise. I don’t hate it, and it’s quite pleasant to go outside now that it’s warming up a little, and I am not *completely* couchbound. And the online program and accompanying podcasts are I think what tipped the balance, by making it absolutely braindead-easy to follow the program.

The idea is that you start out by walking for the most part, with very short bursts of jogging in between. This allows you to “run” without getting knee strain or side stitches or generally hating each and every step. 60 seconds of jogging is over before you know it. But even this would never have worked for me if I had to constantly check or set my watch to tell me when the various timeperiods were over, or had to memorize the plan for the week — not gonna happen. This is where the Podrunner podcasts come in.

These are electronica/dance music mixes with the correct BPM for the walking and the running portions, stitched together with little beepy tones that signal you to switch from walking to running and vice versa. No thinking necessary! Just zone out, listen to the innocuous oontsa-oontsa music, look at the flowers, and whenever it beeps, do the thing you’re not already doing. There’s not even any annoying person-voice giving the instructions, just impersonal tones so you can do your thing without any cheerleading.

This means that all I have to do in the morning is get dressed, put on sunscreen, find my iPod, and leave the house. No additional preparation or thinking is required, which is essential for the pre-food pre-caffeine hours. And it seems to be working, inasmuch as I am still doing it in week 2 and my legs ache a lot less when I get home.

No one hates (hated?) running more than I do, so I figure it can help all the rest of the haters find their way too.