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Home » Improve your life with running in 30 minutes a day with Crissy Coleman! Ep 44

Improve your life with running in 30 minutes a day with Crissy Coleman! Ep 44

#044 – Mom, nurse, and runner, Crissy Coleman, talks about why she got back into running after having kids and the program she used that only took 30 minutes a day. Crissy also talks about the advantages of virtual running and her experiences between in-person and virtual.

Topics Covered:

  • How a Couch to 5K program can help you get started
  • What is virtual running and the benefits
  • Different experiences between virtual and in-person
  • What to do after completing a Couch to 5K program

Today’s Guest

Crissy Coleman wearing a Derby 10K running shirt

Crissy Coleman
Instagramer Crissy found her passion for running in early 2021 after completing the couch to 5k program. She shares her journey about how she remained motivated using Instagram in addition to virtual challenges, and how she continues to find a balance between a busy job in the NHS, young family, and running. 

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Richard Conner 0:00

Welcome to Episode 44. Today we’re going to talk about some tools that you could use in your fitness journey. Whether you’re just getting started as a new runner, or you’re getting back into it, hope you enjoy. Here’s what you can look forward to on this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast.

Crissy Coleman 0:18

I had thought previously Couch to 5k is not for me, I can run. I don’t need a program like that. And it became apparent very, very quickly that I did. And I downloaded the app on my phone and got myself some headphones. And I just committed to getting out the door three times a week just for half an hour. It was a nine week program. And the idea is at the end of the nine weeks that you can run 5k And it worked.

Intro/Outro 0:52

Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. Whether you are new to running or seasoned. Get tips in the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host Richard Conner. Richard Conner 1:09

Hi, everyone, welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. For today’s guest, we have Chrissy Coleman, Instagram or Chrissy found her passion for running in early 2021. After completing the couch to 5k program, she shares her journey about how she remained motivated using Instagram in addition to virtual challenges, and how she continues to find balance between a busy job in the NHS, young family and running. So welcome to the show. Chrissy.

Crissy Coleman 1:41

Hi, thank you. Thank you for having me on. It’s a real privilege.

Richard Conner 1:44

Oh, it’s the privilege is all mine. So I appreciate you being here. I’m super excited to share with the listeners your running journey, your story inspiration. And you’re also calling from not the US where I’m based. But where are you? Where are you calling in from?

Crissy Coleman 2:03

I’m here in England in a in a little county called Derbyshire.

Richard Conner 2:07

Oh, okay. Very cool.

Crissy Coleman 2:09

Over the sea.

Richard Conner 2:11

All right. And I realized that as a, as I was reading your bio that not many people, at least on this side of the world, or ocean knows NHS? So maybe we can share that with the listeners?

Crissy Coleman 2:23

Yeah. So that’s the National Health Service. So I’m a public health nurse in the National Health Service.

Richard Conner 2:31

All right. Well, very cool. Thank you again, for coming on the show. Let’s kind of just jump right in and talk a little bit more about your running journey and kind of how things have been going for you over the last year or so as I know, you’ve gotten back into it. So let’s, let’s go rewind the clock a little bit and hear about what was your running journey previous to the last couple of years.

Crissy Coleman 2:52

Okay. I started running probably University back in 2012. Never really seriously, just like the jog, maybe once a week down the canal. And I entered a couple of local 10k races, didn’t really train competitively for them just enjoyed running and entered the races and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, life got in the way. And I sort of stopped there after a couple of races. And I went on and had my family and had a break for about eight years, I dipped in and out I might go for a run maybe once every few weeks, but nothing, nothing as serious as what I’m doing now, really. And then I would say not the Christmas just gone the Christmas before. I had this urge just to pick it back up again to do something different. I was at this point in my life where I had had my second child who was six months old, and I was ready to sort of find a little piece of my identity back and to do something for me. And I knew that running was something that I’d enjoyed. So I set myself the challenge of trying to do a 10 kg race in the, in this year of the year just gone. And I went out and I did a few runs. And it was really, really tough. I really struggled. And I realized very, very quickly that my fitness was nothing like it was eight years previous. And it was going to take a lot of work to get up to 10k again. So I did the catch to 5k program. I’d been a bit of a snob and I had thought previously couched 5k is not for me I can run. I don’t need a program like that. And it became apparent very, very quickly that I did and I downloaded the app on my phone Phone and got myself some headphones. And I just committed to getting out the door three times a week, just for half an hour. It was a nine week program. And the idea is at the end of the nine weeks that you can run 5k. And it worked. It did, I did it, I didn’t miss a run, I just kept going. And I got the nine weeks, and I was able to run 5k really easily. So that built the base really for the training for my 10k.

Crissy Coleman 5:30

And I just continued from there with the consistency of running three times a week and just slowly increasing my distances, and really fell back in love with running again. So yeah, that’s sort of where the last year has taken me. Alongside that, I also entered a virtual running challenge. So the day that I downloaded the coached 5k AP, I signed up for this virtual challenge. And it was challenging myself to run 25 kilometers a month. And at the time, I thought, Do you know what I really I’m not sure whether I’m going to be able to achieve 25k It just felt really, really overwhelming. Because I couldn’t even run 30 seconds without stopping at that point. But they gave you this fantastic medal, it was a huge, great big medal. And every month that you managed to achieve 25k, they sent you a little magnet with the month on it, and you collected 12. And that just kept me motivated. I’d seen somebody that had completed it the year before. And I thought I want that I can do that. So I just kept going. And actually do you know, the months there were there were months where I thought I might not get 25k. But very, very quickly in the summer, I was doing 50 If not more kilometers a month. And I was just achieving that really, really easily. So come the autumn, I sustained an injury, I got a shin splint. And I had to take some time off running and see a physio. And I was really worried that those months I was not going to be able to achieve my 25k. But I did, I still managed it despite recovering from injury. And I’ve got it now on my wall as a reminder that I went from not being able to run 30 seconds to be unable to run a 10k and also be able to run 25k If not more a month, that really really kept me motivated.

Richard Conner 7:34

Wow. Well, congratulations. That is tremendous story. And that is why I want to share this with our listeners, because you’ve accomplished so much in the past year. And you know, not many people believe that they can do it. And you know, no matter where you are in your journey, you have to start somewhere and you made the decision to do it. And you had the right tools and help you know along the way.

Crissy Coleman 7:57

Yeah, absolutely. And I would urge anybody that is even thinking about going for a run or wants to get into running to download the Couch to 5k program or find it online and follow it because it works. And I was very dubious that it would that it would work. But it it does. It’s very structured. And it slowly increases your distance. And it increases your confidence as well. I think that’s the biggest thing is when you start out and you think oh my goodness, you know, five kilometers that so far. But with the weekly program, you don’t think about the 5k, you’re thinking about right, run for 30 seconds, run for 60 seconds, and you slowly build it up. And that really helps I think with you with the mindset.

Richard Conner 8:44

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So let’s take the this back a little bit towards the beginning of the not beginning of the journey. But I think at the point where you made that decision, where you had said, you wanted to regain your identity. So what you know, kind of what was going through your mind at that point, or what were you going through where you came to the point where you had to make that decision.

Crissy Coleman 9:07

So I mean, I was on maternity leave, and I was at home with two children and it was very much about mum life. And it was every day was you know, get up, do the meals, do the nappy changes do the food shop. And I think it’s very easy when you’re a mum or you know a family you know when you’ve got a small family to sort of lose a little bit of yourself and running for me was perfect for that because it allowed me half an hour just to leave the house and to really make time for me and just clear my headspace and just to regain a little bit more confidence in myself and a little bit more self belief. That’s That’s what I was really looking for having done a little bit of running before and knew that I would be able to get that back with running.

Richard Conner 9:57

Alright, that’s that’s really great to hear. Great that you shared that, because I can imagine others are probably in a similar situation where they feel like they’re obviously they’re spending most or all of their time dedicated to their family and not feeling like they have any time for themselves and maybe even feeling guilty about it. And as you mentioned, it’s 30 minutes, right? It’s not a tremendous time commitment, and you could still be dedicated to your family so that, that’s great that you’re able to make that decision and stick with it. And then you leading up to the point of the couch to 5k, you’d mentioned that you tried to get back out there on your own, unsuccessfully. So what kind of challenges did you run into? Before you started with the couch to five kg program?

Crissy Coleman 10:42

I think, in my head, I had the expectation, unrealistic expectation that I would be able just to put my trainers on and be able just to run three miles or 5k. And the reality is, if you don’t have any fitness, or you haven’t ran 5k, before, or for a very long time, it’s unlikely that you’re able to do that. You know, it’s it’s not impossible, but it takes time. And I think that’s I just needed a little bit of patience. And I just needed to build back up slowly.

Richard Conner 11:16

Okay, okay. And how did you hear you’d mentioned that you’d heard about the virtual races from from someone else? Maybe a friend, but how did you hear about the cups to 5k? Program? Was that something you’ve always known about? And just said, you know, this is better than nothing? Or how did you get into it?

Crissy Coleman 11:32

Yeah, I mean, it’s quite popular here. I’ve seen it around a lot. Particularly when we hit the new year, you tend to see it everywhere, people doing Couch to 5k New year new me. But it wasn’t something that I’d ever really used before, I’d never really explored anybody else that had used it before. So when I did download it, I had a look. And I read some of the reviews. And I looked on some of the forums of some of the people that had done the program, and that had completed it and gone beyond it. And that was really inspirational for me. Because that proved that it worked. And that kept me motivated. I was listening to stories about other people that had done it. And I thought, well, if they can do it, I can do it. Awesome. So that’s what I’m hoping people will think when they listen to me, you know, they might listen to this and think, do you know what, I’m a mum or a dad, and I’m at home, and you know, I’m ready to do something for myself. And I’ve got 30 minutes a day. And if I can go, wife, if Chrissy can go from the couch to running 10k, then I can that’s, that’s really all I’m about is trying to spread that, you know, runhappy message that, if I can do it, you can do it, anybody can do it, you just got to believe in yourself and commit to the process.

Richard Conner 12:50

Absolutely, absolutely, completely agree with you. And you’re right. I mean, you’re inspiring all of us. And I think that’s how I came across you on Instagram. And I’m so happy that we connected to be able to share this this story. And, you know, this kind of takes us to the virtual races. And I’ll just, you know, before I ask my question, just share a little bit about virtual racist. So obviously, this podcast is called Inspire virtual runs. And there’s two elements to a one is the virtual or online community where we help support each other in running or incorporating running as part of their fitness. And the other part of it is actually running races. And we encourage running virtual races, not to say don’t run in person or live races and only run virtual, but, you know, virtual races could be a great option depending on what you’re looking for. Right. So some folks may not want to be in the crowds or may be shy about writing, you know, their first race in person or in a live race or virtual gives you that option or the flexibility of a virtual race. And then obviously, the the biggest thing happening over the last couple of years is the pandemic. So, so number of, you know, benefits of virtual races. So I’d love to hear, you know, what kind of drew you to to the virtual races and the particular program you choose?

Crissy Coleman 14:13

Yeah, so at the time, when I was getting back into running, we still were in the height of the pandemic. And races weren’t running face to face, because of the risk of spreading the virus. So really, the only option available to me at the time was virtual running. And that’s, that’s why I opted to do the virtual challenge. Again, as I said before, it was a rolling program. So I knew that every month I would, you know, have that commitment to myself that I would have to do that virtually. And then once well before I even completed the virtual challenge face to face learning did come back and make it make its comeback. So other than The Virtual challenge. I didn’t have to do any virtual races search, because before I knew it, we were back face to face racing.

Richard Conner 15:07

Okay. Okay. And then how did the virtual running or races go over to running go for you. Not a lot of people know about what a virtual race is or like how it’s done. Some folks may think it’s virtual reality glasses or only running on a treadmill. So like, what was that experience like for you?

Crissy Coleman 15:28

So I mean, the thing with virtual challenges that I did, is that they can be done at any time, any time of day, anytime, any day of the week, you’re not committing necessarily to having to do it, when you sign up to race, right? Okay, on On Thursday, the fifth, you’ve got to be there, you can build it into your lifestyle. So the thing about virtual races is that you, you don’t necessarily have to commit to the time and date that race runs. So with the challenge, I was able to build it in to whatever I was doing. So for example, if the children were sick, I didn’t have to commit to being there on a particular day, I could just build into life, I could go in the evening and go and do it. Or I could go to the weekend. And that is the flexibility of it, really, that that I was drawn to.

Richard Conner 16:16

Got it. Okay. All right, that’s great. And I’ve done a number of virtual races over the last couple of years. Actually, I’m thinking a lot, not last year, 2021, gosh, Time just flies. But in 2020, I had signed up to do Spartan obstacle course races. And I committed to doing a trifecta, which I was super excited about since I’d done a handful of races prior. And the trifecta is three levels of the race 5k 10k and half marathon with obstacles. And that was my goal in 2020. And we all know how, how that year kind of played out. So you know, I took the opportunity to see my see my commitment through and switch over to virtual race. So for me, that was an opportunity to still achieve my goal while doing the virtual races. And then I you know, I love what you said about the flexibility because I think now that that gives you that option, if there is a race on a particular day that you can’t do, then if there’s a virtual option, typically, they allow you to do it anytime within let’s say, a week to give you that that flexibility. Or if you wanted to fit something in in between in person races, you know, again, virtual is a good option. So, so excited. Thank you for sharing your story around that. And I just wanted to share, share mine.

Crissy Coleman 17:38

Yeah. Thanks.

Richard Conner 17:41

So, so tell me a little bit about the in person races now, because you mentioned that in person races had had come back during this time that you’re doing the virtual reading. So had had you been able to sign up and run any of those races and how to kind of the couch to 5k, or the virtual running prepare you for that.

Crissy Coleman 18:01

Yeah, so I signed up for to both actually, within a week of each other, which, in hindsight, I’m not sure was a great idea, because I was very tired for the second one. But two tanky races in October, and I’d completed the couch to 5k in April. So I’d got a good amount of time to build up from five to 10. But the the catch 5k was a really good foundation for that it had built up my fitness, it built up my confidence. And I just kept consistent with the training, I pretty much kept the same pattern, which was to go out three times a week and slowly increase. So by the time it got to October, and it was face to face with races, I felt really ready for that. And same with the virtual running challenge, you know, that kept me motivated to keep going as much as possible. And to go as far as for for as far as as further as possible. And that helped with building the base for the tank a training. But they were fantastic. And it felt great to be there. Back face to face wonderful atmosphere. Obviously, everybody’s a little bit nervous, a little bit anxious because of the pandemic and because of the virus. But both of them I’ll say were very well run and you didn’t feel necessarily that you’re at risk. So that was a positive. You know, they took steps to try and minimize the risk of touching the virus. So things that you didn’t get finished a T shirts, unfortunately, with one of them, or the other one, the finished T shirts were sent out beforehand so that there was minimal handling between marshals and reduced water stations and things like that. So it was lovely to be face to face, but it wasn’t face to face racing as we’d known it previously. They’d done what they could to try and reduce that risk of transmission.

Richard Conner 19:53

Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s it’s not the same and I did my first post pandemic race in person Last summer, so summer 2021, Father’s Day race. And, you know, very, very similar, definitely tried to have precautions. But it was also nice to also be back in person. And it’s a different game, it’s a different game from running virtually on your own terms where you want versus running, you know, another course with a lot of people around. So so that was something that I had to learn very quickly after, you know, writing by myself for, you know, at that point, a little over a year,

Crissy Coleman 20:34

I think it can be a double edged sword. So when you run your own, you run at your own pace, you’re in control, when you run face to face with others. The temptation is to go at the pace of the people around you, which can be great if you’re working to, you know, reach personal best, because you can use other people to motivate you. But equally, you can burn out pretty quickly if you’re if you’re trying to go too fast. So I think there’s pros and cons of both really? Mm

Richard Conner 21:03

hmm. Yeah. And that’s what happened to me during that race. So that’s gonna stay with me for a long time. That was a good, good lesson. So, you know, let’s, let’s talk a little bit more about your training. You know, we talked about the couch to five case, that was a running element. But were there other changes that you had to make during that time, whether it’s your routine with the family, or nutrition, like, was there anything else that you had to consider while you’re doing that car stuff, okay?

Crissy Coleman 21:32

Not necessarily while I was doing the five, catched 5k. But once I got injured, something that I have had to implement is a little bit of strength and conditioning training, just to try and build up my muscles. Because I think when you increase your mileage very, very quickly, you’re very prone to getting injured. And that, unfortunately, is what happened to me, I was a bit naive to the process of increasing my mileage. So once I was injured and recovered, it was then about trying to build some strength into my legs really. And that’s been the focus since injury and going forward just to try and prevent that injury happening again. And the other thing was to go in and get an analysis of my actual running style. So that was something I did at my local running shop. I ran on a treadmill, and they filmed it, and they watched my running style so that I could go and get correct trainers. Because before I just ran in cheap fashion, high street trainers, and I think that perhaps contribute, which was fine at the beginning, what I was doing kept 5k. But once you start to increase your mileage, it’s really, really important to have the right support if you need it. So that’s something as well, that I’m really cautious of now.

Richard Conner 22:53

Okay, and that’s something that you would recommend that other runners do, maybe after they complete a couch to 5k program, like kind of get to a certain point. And then if you’re looking to continue it and increase beyond that.

Crissy Coleman 23:07

Absolutely. Yeah, I would definitely recommend that. Yeah, I think perhaps it’s not as necessary for for the first nine weeks that you’re doing the couch to couch to 5k program. But once you you’ve done that, you’ve completed that, and then you commit to the rest of your running journey, and you’re going to run consistently, regularly, then it’s something that’s really, really important.

Richard Conner 23:30

And I like I like how you’ve positioned that, because running may seem overwhelming if you don’t do it or haven’t done it before. And there’s a lot to running that people may not realize in terms of the gear in terms of getting fitted for shoes and strength training, as you mentioned. So just really focusing on building up from the zero to 5k over those that period of time and building in that habit. I think that’s a really great approach. Because then if you number one, build the habit number two, realize this is something you really like and want to do. Because every one of us have to make that decision at some point, then, you know, here are the other things that you need to consider down the road to make sure you don’t get injured and you have a good experience, you know, long term.

Crissy Coleman 24:15

Yeah, absolutely. Good. Good.

Richard Conner 24:18

So, you know, one of the questions I like to ask our guests is, during your running journey, what would you say be your biggest challenge that you had to overcome during that time?

Crissy Coleman 24:33

Probably fitting it into family life, because ultimately the family are my priority, and I work so it hasn’t been easy. But I think I know how incredible running makes me feel. And I know how good it is for my emotional well being. I know how good it is for my physical health. Very early on, I was motivated by the fact that everything I read about COVID was the you know, it’s a respiratory disease, you need to have really fit healthy heart and lungs. And I knew that that was going to motivate me if I kept running, if I did contract this virus that, you know, would potentially recover much quicker if I was much healthier. So all of that really, really motivated me to keep going. But it wasn’t easy. But I just had to keep telling myself, it’s only half an hour. And if you think about all the hours in the day, it’s very easy to spend half an hour doing a run, you could put your phone down and have less screen time. Or you could set your alarm half an hour earlier, or go to bed half an hour later. And I think it was really trying to get that into my head that that this is so important for me. I really need to make time. But there were times obviously where, you know, like I said earlier, the children are sick, or you know, you got a deadline at work, and you have to find a balance. So, yeah. All right,

Richard Conner 26:03

great, great, well happy that you’re able to find that balance and fit that in and, you know, you’re reaping the benefits of it. And like you mentioned, the well being and the physical fitness aspect of it. So congratulations in doing that.

Crissy Coleman 26:16

Thank you. Yeah, I do love it. I can’t imagine it not being part of my life now.

Richard Conner 26:23

So you know, kind of as we wind down here, I’d love to know if you could share any kind of inspiration for, you know, our listeners who might either be considering running or those that need a little bit of motivation to kind of continue with it, what would you share with them,

Crissy Coleman 26:40

just put your trainers on and go out the door. And it doesn’t matter. If you can’t run for 30 seconds. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a walk after 10 seconds. Just go and do it and you won’t regret it. Get some fresh air. Get the sunshine on your back. And just go for it. Commit to it. Know that it’s going to make you you know, fitter, stronger, happier, healthier. And don’t look back. Don’t put high expectations on yourself. Just go and enjoy it. Make some time for you. Because everybody else around you will see the benefit.

Richard Conner 27:17

Absolutely. Chrissy, thank you so much. This has been an amazing conversation. I appreciate you fitting in this conversation with everything going on at home. So so thank you so much. How can our listeners find you and follow your journey online?

Crissy Coleman 27:34

So I’m on the Instagram. And you can my handle is run underscore Chrissy run. And my journey is on there right from the start from couch to 5k to where I am today.

Richard Conner 27:46

All right, perfect. Well, I will put that in the show notes to make it easier for our listeners to find you. And again, Chrissy, thank you so much for coming on the show. sharing your story with all of us much appreciated.

Crissy Coleman 27:59

Thanks for having me.

Intro/Outro 28:03

That’s it for this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review. Also, be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for listening

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