As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to run a 5k which is 3.1 miles. I ran JV track my freshman year of high school and I hated every moment of it (but I wasn’t a quitter). I was the runner who was out of breath after just one lap. Two laps for me felt like punishment. Never would I have thought I’d challenge myself to a 5k almost 10 years later. Well, here I am. 4 weeks into my training plan and still as motivated as I was on day 1. The date is set for July 28 and I am going to make it!! I’ve been consistent so far, so I think it’s safe to say that there is no turning back for me. With that being said, I have decided to write about this journey as a way to both hold myself accountable and encourage someone else to step out of their comfort zone and reach new heights.
How I Got Started
1. Set A Goal: It can be hard sometimes to stay consistent when there is no defined endpoint in sight. I knew I wanted to run a 5k, but when did I want to do it by? Would I actually go out and train regularly without a “deadline”? Maybe, but probably not. Keeping these things in mind, I knew I needed to find a race so that I would challenge myself. I posted a status on Facebook that I was going to run a 5k, and I had friends comment who wanted to join me on this journey. One of those friends told me about the Color Run and we agreed that we would both run that race in July. Not only did I now have a specific goal set, but I also gained some accountability.
2. Find A Training Program: Another thing I did right of the back was research. While 3 miles seems do-able, I currently cannot run that long. I needed a program for the super beginners. I also needed a program that progressed at a reasonable pace. I looked at the Couch to 5k plans, but I knew I’d need more than 9 weeks to reach my goal. Plus, my race date was set for 17 weeks from my start date, so I have time. No need to rush the process. The Couch to 5k program also jumped from 1 minute intervals to 2 minute intervals a little too fast for me. Instead, I found a 12-week plan by Everyday Health that seemed more reasonable. It progresses slowly enough from week to week that I have not become discouraged.
3. Commit & Enjoy The Process: I’ve registered for my race, so now I’m financially invested, but that is not at all the reason I’m still motivated. I am committed to achieving this goal. I’m excited to see myself grow. I’m excited to push myself and to be able to do something I’ve never done before. I can’t wait to cross that finish line and be able to say “I did it”! To be able to look back and say “I worked hard for this!” I’m excited about all of the other benefits that will come along with it like discipline, better eating and an increased fitness level. I’m dedicated.
Week 1 – 4 Recap
I did 3 runs per week and so far I’ve followed the Everyday Health training plan as written. Up until this point, the running has not been too difficult, though there was a noticeable difference going from running 60 seconds to 90 the next week. Today is the start of week 5 for me however, I am going to be continuing Week 4’s interval training which is run 2 minutes/walk 2 minutes. I struggled this past week to run those two minute intervals, and was completely out of breath by the end of each. I want to be able to run for two minutes and still have a bit more left in me before I move on to week 5’s sequence.
The picture above is a screenshot of my running statistics. I use the free app Runtastic to track my progress. It records my distance, times, pace, shoe mileage and more. Because I did not want to upgrade to premium, I use a separate free app, Runtastic Timer, to set my running intervals. This app allows me to input how long I want to run and how long I want to walk. It also allows me to set how many times I want the walk/run cycle to repeat. I like it because I do not have to watch the time on my phone constantly.
Also, I finally bought me a pair of good running shoes yesterday! I got the Mizuno Wave Inspire 13’s from a Running Fit store. They are ugly in my opinion, but they feel amazing and I’m sure my arches and ankles will thank me later. The weather was in the 30’s when I first started running, and now it’s in the 60’s. While I’m ecstatic spring is finally here (right Michigan?), I realized I actually enjoyed running when it was a bit cooler. Also, I bought me a cute running pouch from amazon (get you one here!) to store my phone and my Zune. I’m Ready!!
In the midst of my research, I’ve learned that strength training is crucial for runners. It’s important for decreasing the risk of running injuries, increasing speed and endurance, and a host of other things. Prior to training for this 5k, I had enjoyed working out, but lacked consistency. Now that I am running, I want to continue building muscle and reap the other benefits of strength training that will improve my running performance. Though I’ve worked out more this month than I did last month, I still am not as consistent as I’d like to be. I might do a few planks here and a few squats there, but going forward, I’d like to do some heavy lifting at least 3 times a week. I’ll document more detailed workouts here in future posts (holding myself accountable).
I have been loosing weight since I’ve started running which isn’t ideal for me, so I have been trying to eat more protein and lift more weights. Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing the best job at either. Pre-run, I typically eat oatmeal or cereal with a banana. This past week with the run 2/walk 2, I realized just how important my diet will be during this journey. The day I ate cereal, I struggled more than I did on the day I had oatmeal. I have to be sure I’m properly fueling my runs. In addition, I had indulged in a great deal of junk the weekend before that struggle run. Yes, I’m vegan (you can read about that journey here), but it’s actually still pretty easy to be an unhealthy vegan. Also, I haven’t been eating the right post-workout foods either. I might drink protein powder, if that, but that is not enough. Training for this 5K will require total commitment, diet included. I’ll be going grocery shopping later today to stock up on protein bars at the very least.
Overall, I feel great now that I’ve been running for a month. I feel stronger already and most days I look forward to running. I think this first month helped me become acclimated to running and now in this next month, hopefully I can get my diet and strength training routine solidified. Stay tuned for a week 5 update!!!