Kayla recently asked me what my training schedule was for these races. So I figured I’d just give some real basics on what I’m doing.
First I want to say I am not a “fit” person. I’m not an athlete. I never ran in high school. I never ran for funsies. I always thought running was for robbers. No seriously, what is the point of running unless its from the cops? So when I tell you what I’ve done/been doing, be forewarned that its not technical. It’s probably not the “right” way, and it doesn’t really make sense and it might not work for you.
So here is a list of things that I did:
1. Set a goal
I had a 5K on my list of things to do before I turn 30. Which is still a few years away. Obviously I thought that I would need AMPLE amount of training because even I didn’t believe that I could get this ass through 3 miles. So the first thing that I did was make a goal and a time frame. Then grab some chips and watch some TV because goal planning is a lot of work. Don’t worry about what shape you’re currently in. Its all about building endurance.
2. Buy good shoes
Anyone who tells you running is a cheap or free sport is full of shit. The act of running is free, but preparing and making sure you’re doing it right is effing expensive. After I set my goal I was told that I needed to get running shoes. I found a running store, not a Nike store or Foot Locker, but a store that specializes in running. Had them fit me for shoes, which means measuring your feet a few ways, and watching you walk. I have stupid feet. They are short and fat and there is only ONE shoe that is the right match for my feet. Had I tried to buy shoes on my own, I would have went with the ones that had the best colors. Let the people who know what they’re doing fit you for shoes. Then spend a billion dollars on shoes because they aren’t cheap.
3. Get some gadgets
When I lost my weight in the past I used a FitBit, and now I have the Nike+ Sensor hooked up to my iPhone. I find that gadgets make me excited about stuff. For me, seeing charts/graphs/data is super motivating. I like apps that make running/working out more fun and make me use my brain less. Nike+ has been great for charting my progress/changes and things like that. If I couldn’t actually see how far I was running or how fast, I would have given up a long time ago.
4. Find a mentor
See how I haven’t even started running yet, and I’m already on number 4? I’m a planner. I like to plan, so for me the choice to run required planning. And brain picking. I realized I had a ton of friends that are runners, so I started picking their brains. Most of them wont give you concrete times/distances which will piss you off, but whatever they say is true. Time/speed/distance doesn’t matter. Honestly. I’m slow as all get out, but I’m out there doing it. That’s all that matters. A running mentor will be helpful for suggesting goals, and giving you info about gear, or injuries and things like that.
5. Go run
Shockingly the most important part of running…is running. So get out there and run. When I first started I realized that my pace was too fast for me to accomplish anything. I made a playlist that had a slower BPM and I was able to keep a slower pace. The first few times I went, I was experimenting. I didn’t care about time or distance but I wanted to see how it felt to run. How fast I got winded. I paid a lot of attention to how I was breathing and how my posture was. One of the best tips I’ve gotten so far was to keep your shoulders back. That helps a lot. I think I didn’t even do a 1/2 mile the first few times I ran. After that my goal was to do a mile. I tried to do a mile better and fast for a while. I wanted to be comfortable doing a mile. I walked a lot. I still do. I still can’t do a solid mile without stopped for a few seconds. So this is where I started. Also I hate running. So for me, I would only do a mile once a week if I was lucky. Once the mile got a little easier I would make plans to do it more often, and then break those plans all the time. But every once in a while I’d get in 2 miles a week.
6. Sign up for a race
This is one of the most important things I learned. If I didn’t have a reason to get off my ass and run…I wouldn’t. Just the idea of a 5K was absolutely terrifying. So I conned a friend into doing it with me, so we could both look like assholes if that ended up being the case. We never trained together, but it was nice having someone else at that first race. Having signed up and paid for a race really made me want to try harder and get more serious. I didn’t want to walk that race. I didn’t want to give up. I WANTED to be able to do it. Signing up for a race is motivation. Also, you get a shirt.
7. Run when you feel like running
As stated before, I am not an athlete. If the weather is shitty, I’m not running. If my elbow hurts, I’m not running. If I’m having a bad hair day, I’m not running. I found that when I try to force my runs, I don’t do well, I get frustrated and I end up going for like 10 minutes. Its counter productive. I had to have good runs to make me want to run more. Running when it didn’t feel right, made me not want to run. Now that I have had good runs, I actually want to run more. But if you just force yourself, you’ll start to hate it. I’m not hardcore enough to need to train when I’m tired, or its raining or 10000 degrees. I run when I want to, and having scheduled races makes me “want to” more often, so I don’t look like a fool in front of the world.
8. Push yourself
When you’re having a good day and it feels good…run more. Run faster. Or further. Set goals. Take a walking break for 15 minutes and run again. Its on these days that you’ll realize you CAN do better and go further. The first day I got my Nike+ sensor, I decided to just go for a run to test it. Well the universe aligned correctly that day and I ran/walked my first in neighborhood 5K. It just felt right. It just worked. I haven’t done another 5K in my neighborhood since. But that day, I realized I COULD do a 5K. And after that I realized that I wanted to do one but better.
9. Let yourself have bad days
Sometimes when I’m running, I have really awful days. I can’t catch my breath, my muscles hurt, my playlist sucks. Some days there are just 1,000 reasons not to run. So if I’m out running, I’ll give it as much as I can without getting pissed. That might mean walking a lot longer than I’d like. Or turning around right in that second I’m frustrated and going home. And then I get home and I forget about it. One things I’ve learned from my runner friends is that some days just blow. And I have learned that sometimes after a day that sucks balls, the next day is totally different. One bad day doesn’t mean they all will suck.
10. Run a race
The first race is weird. You show up and have no idea what you’re doing. There are some people who take themselves way to seriously there, and then there are cute old people who are going to walk the whole thing really slowly. Its a HUGE mix of people. My first race, I chose a low key one, close to home with a cheap entrance fee. I found one where I thought I wouldn’t know anyone, so I didn’t have to worry about running into familiar faces. I had my friend with me, and we checked in together. Shared nervous energy and slowly got excited while we were stretching. When the race started we just went. Had no clue what, if any strategy to use. Didn’t even know if runners had race day strategies. We’d never seen the course, never ran a race, and had NO CLUE what we were doing. Which is why it was helpful to have a friend there. The first race didn’t break any records. It wasn’t a high profile race. But when we were done….we did it! And then I knew I could KEEP doing it. Finishing the race made me want to race more. I always thought I’d run a 5K and call it day. But now I want to keep doing them. And now since I’m an accidental 10Ker, I might just keep doing those now. I’ve found that its not the running I like, its having ran. Its crossing the finish line. Its the atmosphere at races. Its looking at my Nike+ graphs and seeing my distance go further, or my time get faster. Its meeting new running friends, and being able to talk about new stuff and learn new stuff. Its buying fancy pants running clothes and having chats about which water bottle pack is best. Running itself still sucks ass, but being a runner is pretty cool.
So before the 5K I had intended to run last weekend, I was having a good week. I ran 3 times during the week and was aiming for 3K each time which is about 2 miles. Its not a short distance but its not far. I figured if I could get “comfortable” with 3K, the last bit of the 5K would just be where I would push myself. I don’t run 5Ks every time I run. Sometimes I do just a mile. Sometimes I don’t run for 4 days because I don’t feel like it. I still can’t run a damn 10 minute mile. I’m slow. I walk. But I’m out there doing it. There is a sense of pride is just trying. I think everyone should try to do a single 5K in their life. Its far enough that everyone can’t do it, but its short enough to where you can train to do it in a short period of time.
I started my “training” probably just over a month before the race. I didn’t follow a plan or Couch to 5K. I didn’t consciously try to increase my distance each time. I just ran when I felt like it. Period. This is the system that worked for me.
And now…I’m kinda hooked. I still hate running. But I like races. So I’m looking at a 8K next month. Then the month after that is the mud run, which is the 5K that started this whole thing. I was going to train for that race for a few months…and now here I am…planning a 15K in November…and really considering Team Challenge which is a 1/2 marathon. I can’t stress to you guys enough that I hate running. Its never been my thing. Its hard for me. But this is something I’ve found that I can do, and now more than ever before, I like to do think simply “because I can”. UC took a lot out of me, including my colon, and now I want to run races because I couldn’t before.