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Friday, May 24, 2013

Couch to 5K Spotlight: Tiffiny Rossi

When Cassie Walling mentioned doing a Couch to 5K project to me, I agreed because it's a great idea! Little did I know how many of you were Couch to 5K professionals, or even marathon runners! The response has been astounding, and this week, for our member spotlight, we chose Tiffiny Rossi, who not only runs marathons, but just had a baby! She's kicking off her Couch to 5K with us, and here's what she had to say!


With two marathons and a half marathon, plus years of running for fun behind me, it should be relatively easy to pick up and start running again. The problem with a six-week-old baby and two other kids is that I can't seem to find enough time to get out there.
I feel a bit doughy 'round the middle from the weight I gained during pregnancy, which partly explains my itch to hit the trails again. But what's eating at me more than a few extra kilos is that my lungs feel out of shape. Likewise, my heart races when I climb the stairs in my home. I feel sluggish – like a ball of lead being tossed around inside a duffle bag full of mud. So when I saw that Darlena ( was putting together a couch-to-5K/running event, I figured this was a good time to get my arse in gear again. I'd hope to just make some time to do some 5 K runs at this point, but even better if I could get back under a 30-minute 5 K.

Anyway, Darlena sent over a few questions for me about my experiences with running. So here's what I've got:

1) What does running mean to you / what is your relationship with running?

Running is more than just an exercise I do to stay in shape. It's a journey inside my head, bringing me to experiences I've had before, experiences I'll have in the future, and experiences that may only play out as fantasies. Running is my time to visit old memories, plan my future, practice real life scenarios and confrontations, or to cook up stories I may later write or just act out as I run. Sometimes my thoughts drift toward lofty and aspirational, like the prospect of running two marathons at age 40. Other times I focus on the mundane – the little details like what decorations and food we'll have at my son's naming ceremony. Sure, I can contemplate these things without running. But when I'm out letting my feet fly, the endorphins produced by my body give me a boost of clarity and an extremely positive outlook on life.

2) What has been your typical training experience?

I've put myself through various training scenarios depending on my goal, for example: 30 minutes straight without walking, 5K, marathon, half-marathon, running in minimal shoes, and running a 5K under 30 minutes, to name a few. My experiences have been overwhelmingly positive and I've always been able to achieve my goal whenever I put my mind to it. And that's the important part. Once I've convinced myself, "I can do this," the physical training part is quite easy. That's not to say I haven't seen challenges along the way. When I do, I rely upon running communities on the internet and inspirational books about running to see me through.

3) Any tips or words of wisdom for those wanting to try this out?

  • If you're just starting out, try setting a time goal rather than a distance goal. For example, set a 20-30 minutes goal at first, and...
  • Alternate short spurts of running with periods of walking until you make your full time goal. In your first week, try to run for 30-60 seconds straight, then walk until you catch your breath again, then do another 30-60 second burst of running, and continue on until you make your 20-30 minute time goal.
  • Build your running burst up slowly each week. After several weeks, you'll be running the whole 20-30 minute block.
  • Take any negative thoughts during your run, acknowledge them, and turn them into something more aspirational. Don't block the feelings out, just invite them to come with you on the run. You'll notice the challenges will bother you a whole let less. For example, if you hate hills, say to yourself, "Hello hill, come run with me." If you feel a side cramp, say "Hello pain, come run with me."
  • When you feel like things are going tough in any training program you're following, here's a good tip I learned. Tell yourself to TRY EASIER. That's right, don't buckle down and tell yourself what a wimp you are and try harder – lighten up on yourself a bit and relax instead. If you don't feel like taking a run one day, tell yourself it's ok and that you'll skip this one today, but be back on track the following day. Or mix things up a bit. Say you don't feel up to running one day, but you feel like maybe a walk or a swim or some work out in the garden would be acceptable. Do the "easier" or other activity you want to do instead of your run, and again, remember to tell yourself you'll be on track the next day.
  • Read this book, even if you never want to run a marathon: The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer. It has so many great tips and inspirational stories that just might want to make you run a marathon in the end.
Best of luck to you whatever your running goals are!

Thanks Tiffiny! Check out her blog, The copyverse!

If you want to run with your little ones in tow, make sure you check out these options!

If you are doing the Couch to 5K and would be interested in being highlighted, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and we'll check you out, too!



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