Tag Archives: exercise

Couch to 5k 2.0: introducing my assistant

Its been a week since Ash Wednesday and the self-proclaimed restart of my couch to 5k experience.  Having learned last year, if you haven’t been exercising regularly (above and beyond a daily activity routine) you need to start out slowly (i.e. a jogging and wa

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lking combination).  I was able to get one workout in this past week along with several dog walks.

The temperatures here in the northeastern USA have been brutally cold.

Brody, my short-legged miniature dachshund, is assisting me in easing back into a workout schedule.  He is a fast walker and is always trying to pull me along at a faster pace.  Why not use that to my advantage, right?

My goal is to be ready to start jogging continuously by the first week of April.

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Couch to 5k: A line to be crossed

Looking back over my life, I recall numerous situations a proverbial line in the sand has been drawn.  For most of my life I have been exploring the boundaries created by them.

  • As a child, my sister and I shared the back seat in the family station wagon.  One of us invariably drew an imaginary line separating her space from mine.  Quarrels began when the line was crossed, even if breeched by a single finger.
  • As I grew older is spent a good deal of my time trying to test the line of acceptable behavior my parents had laid down.  I learned there were negative consequences for crossing their line.
  • When I entered adulthood, and set off on my own, I realized there was a line separating the life I had already realized from things I had yet to experience (marriage, career, raising children, etc.).  With trepidation I launched myself across this line and into the great unknown.

Ash Wednesday occurs this coming week.  It marks the start of a 40-day period referred to as Lent leading up to Easter Sunday.  Those who observe Lent usually do so by abstaining from a materialistic vice (i.e. chocolate, red meat, television, etc.) or affirming a spiritual virtue (devotions, prayer, etc.).

Since my couch to 5k experience to date has been marked by physical, mental and spiritual wellness, I have decided to choose Ash Wednesday as a starting line I intend to cross!

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Couch to 5k: Redo

It has been almost two months since my last post.  Since that time my car was repaired and the weather turned much colder.  Then, the snow came–lots of it.  Since I work in building maintenance, I get to spend a portion of my day outside shoveling snow.  Keeping the snow off the sidewalks benefits me in a couple different ways.  It helps slow down my weight gain over the winter months, and it lets me rack up tons of steps on my Fit Bit.

walking-1283978_960_720Traditionally, I use my free time over the winter to work on indoor projects.  Since I have neglected my model trains for about three years, I’ve been working on my train layout.  In addition,  I’ve committed to teaching a class Sunday mornings for the next several months so there’s little time left to begin a training regiment.

It looks like I’ll have to circle the wagons and wait until spring to resume a training program.  April 1st seems like as good a day as any to start a couch to 5k for the second time.  This year I’ll begin training two months earlier and fifteen to twenty pounds lighter.

Between now, and then, I plan to try to keep my step counter whirling.

Couch to 5k: Good news from bad

In my last couch to 5k post I set goals designed to maintain some sort of exercise routine throughout the winter months.  One factor I left out, how busy the month of December can be leading up to Christmas.  To date I completed only one run and the 10,000 or so steps I accrue walking over the course of a each work day.

This week I was involved in a car accident, requiring my vehicle to be taken to a collision shop for repairs likely to take a week or so.  So that’s the bad news.  The good news stemming from the bad news is I am now on foot.  Walking to and from work will add a few thousand steps to my counter each day while I’m loaded down with a backpack.  Do I consider that strength training?  Stay tuned for more updates…

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Couch to 5K: the winter ahead

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I ran a 5k about two months ago and haven’t gone on more than two runs since then.  I suppose you could say I’ve been resting my body.  But that would be stretching the truth wouldn’t it.  Autumn is a busy time.  There’s so much to do before the weather sours.  But the snow and cold came very early to our area.  We happened to have the coldest Thanksgiving day on record. It interrupted my fall cleanup.  The leaves are still on the ground underneath the snow.  Sounds like I’m making excuses does’t it.

My main goal this winter is to not gain back all the weight I lost.  I thought it might be a good time to dust off my elliptical trainer I purchased over a year ago and hardly ever used.  I also have a reading list I’d like to put a dent in.  Sounds like a win-win situation doesn’t it?

In the coming weeks I’ll be experimenting with workout times on the elliptical.  During that stretch, there is bound to be a couple of warmer days to exercise outdoors.  I’m shooting for one outdoor and two indoor workout a week between now and Christmas.  Stay tuned!

Couch to 5k: the result

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Race day, Saturday September 29th, was a sunny, cool 50 degrees.  I couldn’t ask for better weather.  It was hard to keep my heart rate down as I strolled over to the registration table.  After check in, I mingled with the crowd and talked to several friends and acquaintances who I was surprised to learn had entered the event.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-100 able-bodied individuals anxiously wanted to get the race underway.  After a few instructions and a prayer, the gun went off.  Like a herd of cattle we launched ourselves across a grassy field towards a pond we would encircle.  It was immediately apparent this was a serious group of runners who had been training much longer than me.  I, along with one other gentleman, settle back to guard the rear of the pack.

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In hindsight, my training did help me mentally and physically prepare for this run.  Mentally, I knew I had completed training runs longer that the 5k distance.  Physically, I knew I could maintain the consistent pace necessary to keep from being winded.  My strategy was simple, to complete the first two kilometers in around 20 minutes and then throw caution to the wind for the final three kilometers.  That didn’t happen.  Determined not to fall too far behind the pack of runners ahead of me, I completed the first 2 kilometers four minutes faster than planned.  My body was not used to running at this pace.  For the next kilometer I focused on controlling my breathing.  Then, feeling I still had energy in my legs, I decided to maintained the pace until my body told me something different.  I was surprised to see my time was about 40 minutes on the big digital timer at the finish line, a 15 full minutes faster than expected!

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As good as this whole experience has been for my health (I lost 25 pounds over the summer), I have not made any promises to myself or anyone else that I will continue training.  I’m paying close attention to my knees, which have been little sore off and on the last few weeks.

Perhaps if I lost another 15 pounds I could entertain running (jogging) another 5k.

Here is a picture of yours truly showered and dressed post race sporting my new t-shirt.

 

Couch to 5k: the last workout

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Tomorrow I will be running a 5k fun run.  My hit and miss training endeavor began back in May.  This past Saturday I had planned to jog part of the course to prepare myself.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the route I’ll be traveling is one laid out on a cross-country course.  I showed up on the athletic field only to find a number of college teams prepping for an invitational meet.  My grandiose plan went out the window.

Not to be dismayed, I walked over to the 400 meter track for one last workout before the fun run.  Here’s where the my tale turns humorous.  I began jogging laps, taking care to press lap on my iPhone each time I passed my water bottle propped up against the base of a light tower.  During the course of the workout, I became convinced 16 laps was the 5k distance equivalent.  So I jogged and jogged and jogged racking up laps.

At lap 14 I began to tire and pumped a couple favorite songs into my ear buds for some much needed inspiration.  I ended my workout after lap 15 and decided to wander over to the cross-country venue to check out the race.  I did not expect to see a total workout time of an hour and ten minutes.  That was too much time for having not walked a single lap!  Something was amiss and it troubled me the whole walk home.

I sat down on the sofa and began listing out my lap times on a piece of paper.  The problem wasn’t with my iPhone, it was me.  After much thought, it finally dawned on me 2.5 laps on a 400 meter track equals one kilometer.  Since the race is 5k, I only needed to run 12.5 laps (not 15).  I felt like a moron.  My wife came to my rescue, “honey, at least you know you can jog the distance!”

Bring it on!  I’m ready as I’ll ever be.