March 29, 2017

Running: Re-Starting From Scratch

So, we've been traveling for 9+ months and running has been way low on the priority list.

But, we're in the US for a segment that allows for some training and I've convinced E to run a 5K parkrun in Paris with me on 4/22.

This means I've actually been doing some real running.  I even went online and spent some time trying to find a 5K training program, which was, in and of itself, very interesting, because most 5K programs are for non-runners.

They are designed to get people who run not at all or very little, to be comfortable with the idea that they could run 3.1 miles for a time goal.  And I am so supportive of this.  I've spent some of my favorite friend-runs supporting people in this category.  I think it's possibly one of the best things the running community has offered to the public.

But for me, right now, given my age and current fitness, I WANT to take advantage and enjoy where I am (healthy) so I don't regret it later.

While I've dropped off the running front during the sabbatical, I've never hit the point (thus far, though I'm sure the day is coming) where I couldn't run without stopping for 3.1 miles.  It might be slow.  It probably wouldn't be pretty, but I felt a little confused by the fact that almost all of the training programs I found assumed their target audience couldn't.

I knew that fit (elite, even) runners trained for 5Ks and I figured that since I'd taken so much time off seriously running any long distance races, this level of training would be a good place to start.  Thankfully, eventually, I found the BAA 5K plans and realized I'd found a good solution.

So, I'm a little less than 4 weeks out from my target run and I'm doing actual workouts and hitting target paces (many of which are slower than what I'd do without guidance, followed by strides at high effort). Also, when E joins, it's awesome 'cause his long legs just challenge me to be that much faster or more hard-core than I otherwise would without him.

Did I mention the re-introduction to runner's high?  Holy shit, if you haven't been running, opting in to a real running training plan means that after the first few real workouts, you are grinning, talkative, just generally happy, and an all around positive fool.  It's fun.  I recommend it.

Recent workouts for this very out of shape runner have included 10X 3 min intervals (w/2 min R/I walking) in the mid 9s per mile; or 9 X 15 seconds (45s r/I) in the mid 8s per mile after 35 minutes of mid-aerobic work in the high 11s.  None of this is remotely athletically impressive, but damn, if all of them don't feel super great.

And that, my friends, is the big take-home for me.  I'm hoping to keep it up and keep enjoying it.  I'd like to be like my father-in-law (and then some), I want to hike, run, and be active into my 70s, 80s, and beyond.  I'm hopeful this year off of hiking, traveling, and taking some time to reevaluate our life will help me achieve that.

Also, in case you were wondering, I'm so out of shape that a sub 30 5K sounds like a nice solid goal.  Wish me luck.  It looks like I've got an opportunity in Georgia in a couple of weeks and another one in Paris.  I'm hoping to make the most of both of them.


Jen said...

I remember searching for 5K training plans last year and coming up empty, so I'll have to bookmark the BAA link for future reference. Good luck with your training!

bt said...

@Jen -- I'll be sure to report back, but so far, the workouts are hard and also different than anything else I've ever done. It *feels* like it's teaching me to push for a shorter distance, so hopefully it actually is.