Tag Archives: weight loss

Couch to 5k: And so it begins!

walk-2635038_960_720I started training last week for a 5k run this fall.  Its the second year in a row I left the couch after a long cold winter and headed out the door.  This year I’m 15 pounds lighter and hopefully maintained a small measure of conditioning from last fall.

My early conditioning plan is to walk/jog three times a week for 20-30 minutes with at least one rest day in between.  I’ve chosen Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays as my workout days.  Since I’m in my 60’s, I want to test my joints and ligaments by alternating jogging and walking laps on a 400 meter track.  Once I build up my distance, I plan to head out on a scenic cross-country route on a woodland trail.

Last Tuesday was my first workout.  The weather couldn’t have been more challenging; a cold, stiff northern wind with 40-degree temperatures surely taxed me mentally.  I spent most of the time muttering and trying to talk myself out of completing the 25 minute workout.  Thank goodness for I-tunes.  Thursday’s workout fared much better.  An overcast sky and southerly breeze hiked the temp to 74 degrees.  Such is the weather this time of year in Upstate New York. Saturday it was back in the 40s and I had to resort to dog walking.  Brody pulled me around the neighborhood while I held on to his leash.

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: hitting the trail

forest-2248607_960_720Less than two weeks of training remain.  As it turns out the 5k fun run I’m participating in takes place on a cross-country course.  I downloaded a map of the course and printed out a copy.  Thursday afternoon I decided to hit the trail.  Unfortunately I neglected to bring the map with me and wandered off course as I tried to visualize the route from memory.  On the positive side, it is a good gravel trail.  However, much of the race is run in the woods on crisscrossing trails.  Despite my inability to navigate the course, I was able to jog continuously for 20 minutes, which near as I can tell is about 2k.  Part of that time amounted to retracing my steps so I could live to tell about it!

Saturday morning I returned to the 400 meter track for another training session.  I jogged four laps (4:15 pace) and took a quick water break.  It was getting hot quickly.  Immediately, I resumed jogging for another five laps (sub 4:00 pace) and took another water break, this time walking a full lap.  Since I still felt good, I decided to jog another two laps (3:30 pace).

It became apparent that if I hold my pace to about four minutes a lap I can run for an extended period of time.  Jogging at this pace has done wonders for my confidence.  I’m trying to put out of my mind the 5:45 laps (per mile) I ran in college.  Oh well.

My weight loss over the past two weeks plateaued so I decided to shake up my diet by switching to eating chicken and a salad for supper for several days.  Sure enough I began losing weight again.  After my Saturday workout I touched 199.8 pounds on the scales.  It didn’t matter that I was partially dehydrated and would gain back some of it later.  It’s a milestone accomplishment and a great feeling to be able to say I’ve lost 25 pounds!

 

Couch to 5k: pace yourself!

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I had an epiphany after my last couple of workouts.  Walking and jogging every other lap was not going to get the job done.  I wondered what would happen if I slowed down my jogging pace.  Would I be able to jog for a longer period of time?  I headed back to the track after taking four rest days excited to try an experiment.

Since I walked to the track from home, I started jogging the moment my toes touched the rubberized surface.  Several times during the first lap I forced myself to slow down my pace, almost to the point of what seemed like I was jogging in place.  I still managed a 4-minute lap.  Amazingly, I was not tired or winded when I finished the first lap.  One lap turned into two, two to three and I kept jogging.  All told I finished six laps without breaking into a walk.

I walked the seventh lap very slowly then jogged the remaining five laps of my workout.  My pace this time was slower from fatigue and complaining thighs but my mood was upbeat, as if I had discovered some secret potion for success.

Three days later I jogged about twenty on the fun run course.  Near as I can tell it was close to two kilometers.  It seems I am headed in the right direction.