beginning runner girl: week 1 stats

Whether you’re returning to running after a long break (like me) or just taking up the activity for the first time, I hope this post series encourages you in the process. There is no shame in starting slow… I mean, the tortoise always beats the hare right?

Our goal is to avoid injury. Or at least minimize the risk. It’s difficult to become a runner if you can’t run. So, let’s check our egos at the door.

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The husband and I used this 8-week program as inspiration for drawing up a plan that better fits our schedule. Plus, we have a bit of The Hanson Method still looming in our brains. One of the things we really liked about their plan was the variety. It wasn’t the same thing every day.

So, we’ve added our own “freestyle” workout once a week to break up some of the monotony of increasing running minutes. This workout appears on day 6 of our schedule. It’s basically a 5 minute warm-up of your choice followed by 30 minutes of walk/run. You decide how many minutes you run at a time based on how you’re feeling physically. This would be the day to push yourself to go longer if you’re up for it, but remember, we’re still keeping it an easy pace.

I’m calling this “freestyle” because I don’t plan to look at the clock, distance, pace, steps (until the end). I’m just jogging for the fun of jogging… walking when I need to… and jogging some more.

Let’s get to it. This was the first week of our training plan:

Day 1

DAY 1 (66 degrees, 9mph winds, cloudy) I didn’t want to go, but I decided to focus on how good it would feel to accomplish the workout… to check the “done” box. Left leg/hip feels stiff. Tried to keep it slow. Sped up at one point to pass a walker. Overall it felt awkward, but the truth is that it won’t feel this way forever. “This too shall pass.” 

“…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
~Hebrews 12:1a-2

Day 2

DAY 2(52 degrees, 10mph winds, fair) We had to get up earlier to get this in. It was easier than yesterday to get out the door. The left leg/hip felt a little better, but still achy. Also, my arms are sore, but I’m not sure why. Even though we were focusing on keeping it slow, the cooler temps seemed to cause us to pick up the pace slightly. Still feeling awkward but not as bad as day 1.

The husband and I were a bit defensive with each other – maybe it was getting up earlier and the stress of the day ahead. Maybe the dog was just a bit too excited. Whatever the cause, this didn’t make it an enjoyable workout, but we did apologize to each other. We’re going to have days like this, that’s just life.

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32

Day 3

DAY 3 – Can you even call it a “rest day” if you’re on your feet all day? I forgot to wear my fitbit but I’m guessing I easily hit 6K+ steps without having an official workout.

Day 4

DAY 4(64 degrees, 8mph winds, mostly cloudy) I wore my new shoes today. They felt stiff. Had some pain in my left foot/hip when we first started. I should have gone sleeveless because I got a little too warm. We encountered a crazy dog so we had to speed up to get past him as quickly as possible. My dog is pretty well behaved (can keep him off-leash most of the time), but when another dog is lunging and barking at us, he gets distracted so I had to leash him for a bit. The sunrise was gorgeous though… beautiful pinks and purples. It was purely delightful. 

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” ~Psalm 37:4 (KJV)

Day 5

DAY 5(81 degrees, 12mph winds, mostly cloudy) Just an easy walk to stretch out the legs a little. Easy days are important for “active recovery“. It’s true that active recovery workouts aren’t absolutely necessary when you’re building a base. It would seem we could skip these workout days, but that would be a mistake. We know that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, so by doing this walk we are feeding our motivation. There is still some physical benefit of course, but at this point, the benefit is largely psychological. Plus, this helps me break in my new shoes a bit.

The left foot is still bothering me and my left knee felt tender when I got up this morning.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” ~Psalm 139:14 (KJV)

Day 6

 DAY 6 (61 degrees, 2mph winds??, fair?) Um, I’m fairly confident the wind was blowing harder than 2mph. I was going to guess closer to 15 mph and it was mostly cloudy, not “fair”. Bizarre.

These numbers are estimated because I forgot to stop my workout and it logged the entire drive home. Next time I’ll set it as a timed workout so it will shut off automatically. I know I had more consecutive running minutes than the previous workouts, but they were slower for a few reasons: A) I was going slower so I could do more consecutive minutes. B) I was on a part of the trail with a more dramatic incline. C) I ended up running with the 11 year old who hasn’t been feeling well. She needed to go even slower and walk more frequently. D) The wind was definitely much harder than 2mph and right in our faces while going uphill.

For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.”
~ Psalm 18:29 (KJV)

Day 7

DAY 7 – Another rest day. Not much more to say about that.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” ~Psalm 37:7a (NIV)

Well, that’s week 1. It’s fairly simple, and right now that’s exactly what we need. Join me next Sunday for week 2.

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returning runner girl

For years I ran for calorie burn. I ran so I could binge and not gain weight. I ran to punish myself for the binge. I ran because others didn’t. I ran so I could say, “I’m a runner”. Essentially, I ran for all the wrong reasons.

And then, after years of a love/hate relationship with running, I did this thing called “Marathon Training”, and my perspective changed. I couldn’t focus on weight loss during those months of training because when I under ate, I couldn’t run. I was running for a non-diet mentality goal. Unfortunately, the Dallas Marathon was cancelled that year due to an ice storm. All that work and we didn’t get to run the marathon. Such a disappointment. Yes, good did come from it, but one of the negatives was that it killed my desire to run. It was like running on the trails reminded me of the… dare I say it… grief.

I’ve attempted to resume running several times since, but have always quit before the beginner aches and pains stop. I’ve had excuses like adrenal fatigue (valid), illness, injury… and just plain “I can’t want to”.

I miss it though.

I miss the beauty of a trail run no matter the weather and the surprise wildlife sightings. I miss the sunrises and waving “hello” to fellow trail patrons. I miss the runs where my cadence falls in a natural rhythm and it feels effortless. I miss the quiet. I miss the finish lines. I miss that point where the daily aches subside and strength replaces them. I miss crying half-way through a run I didn’t feel like doing… and finishing it anyway. I miss the confidence and the added energy. I miss stretching at the end of a long run. I miss dirty running shoes and clothes soaking in “sport wash” to get the smell out. I miss the mental clarity. I miss working toward a fitness goal with the husband.

Yeah, I miss it. That last one especially.

So why am I not running? Because those weeks and months that it takes to build a base are not fun. There are more bad days than good in the beginning. Knees hurt, clothes rub, cadence is off, extra pounds jiggle, lungs burn… everything seems to scream “STOP!” It doesn’t take much to convince you to skip a run during this phase. Of course, growing the habit that keeps you running is made all the more difficult by these things… and we all know starting a habit is already harder than maintaining one.

I think I’m ready though because now I see I’ve been allowing a negative mind to rule in this area. I believe renewing my mind will be pivotal in this process. I know my paces are going to look grandma slow and I must be ok with this. I know it will take time to build the base and I must be patient. I know this means starting with a really basic training plan to, hopefully, make this transition period as painless as possible. Ok, maybe “painless” isn’t realistic. How about less pain.

The husband and I wrote out an 8 week plan today to gradually get us running 30 consecutive minutes 4 days a week. Yes, we could get up to 30 minutes in less than 8 weeks, but we’ve decided that we’ll treat ourselves like absolute beginners. We want running to be as enjoyable as possible and, well, debilitating soreness doesn’t have the appeal it did 20 years ago. If we learned anything from the Hanson Method, it was to allow the process, be patient, and easy runs should be easy. We’re not trying to impress anyone here.

At the end of the 8 weeks, we intend to sign up for a 5K. Nope, it’s not a marathon, but again, we’re treating ourselves like beginners. We want to get back in touch with the reasons we like to run… and that’s all.

I hope to post my progress through the plan on Sundays. I’ll be keeping track of overall distance and pace, as well as making notes about stretching, soreness, renewing the mind etc. I hope this will help others who want to begin running. So, keep an eye out next Sunday for the first week of training.