Elizabeth, For The Win
Fourteen peeps entered the ring for the virgin 5K training. One person made the cut, congratulations to Liz! Her story tugged the right strings:
I would very much love to have you coach me for a first ever 5K. First, let me tell you something about myself. I am a stay at home mom of 2 kids under 5, currently pursuing a masters degree in Information Systems. I spend most of my day sitting in front of the computer.
2 years ago, my husband started having some mysterious chronic pain and numbness in his legs and knees and I had to devote all my spare time to driving him around to doctors, therapy and taking care of him. He was in such a condition that he could not even help with simple things like lawn mowing and taking out trash. So, I gave in to emotional eating and lost all interest in physical activities. He is slowly recovering now and I am tired of feeling tired all the time.
I have to be honest and say that I have a problem when doing something. I start off with a lot of enthusiasm but then give up after sometime. I am hoping that with the continued support and guidance, I will be able to stick to the 5K challenge and finish it. I am more than willing to put the extra effort and time needed for this endeavor. I am very serious about taking back control of my body. I love to be in the outdoors and walking.
A common theme for people that e-mailed me wanting to run their first 5K is they have been good about starting on a training plan, but had trouble sicking to it, eventually withering after a few weeks. Others said they were good at holding to commitments for others, but found it more difficult to stay committed to personal fitness goals. The Color Run is popular, several readers have that on the radar this year.
I asked Liz to hone in on her goals for our upcoming 10-week plan. In her words:
I have college classes this quarter on Thursdays and next quarter on Fridays, so I want to avoid these two days as they will be the busiest for me.
My main aim is to lose some excess weight...35 pounds to be exact. I am hoping that by training for 5K, I will get into the habit of working out regularly and will continue to do so even after the 10 weeks.
Curry is my kryptonite too, daughter and I go hog wild on it every Saturday at high noon.
Our five goals for the next 10 weeks are:
- Get in shape to complete a 5 kilometer race.
- Uncover that hidden energy so you'll no longer be tired of feeling tired.
- Burn a few pounds.
- Continue on your path of healthy eats.
- Make fitness a habit.
I am not a certified trainer. Just a random clown that's been running for 20 years and has absorbed practical experience and books on food and fitness. Talk to your doctor if you have any medical concerns before starting a new workout routine.
The most important part here is we want Liz to stay free of injury and enjoy this journey. There may be times where it isn't all that fun and you'll want to quit. Just know that part is normal, stay with it and rest days are mixed in to relax and recover.
I'd like Liz to do the following this week before her first run next Saturday:
- Decide if you'll be running outside, inside on the treadmill or a combo.
- Purchase a quality pair of running shoes. If you have a local running store in town, stop by and have them fit a shoe to your foot. Each of us needs a different model of shoe, depending on how our feet strike the ground. Plan to spend about $60 on a decent set.
- Your runs will be more comfortable and sweat evaporates pronto if you wear running-specific clothes. Target has a good selection of synthetic workout duds at reasonable prices. If you'll be running outside, grab some running pants, mid-layer long sleeve shirt and a nylon running jacket. For the treadmill, you'll want synthetic shorts and short sleeves. Extras are athletic socks, sports bra, thin hat and gloves, and a digital watch to track time if you wish. E-mail me the outside winter temps you'll run in and I'll help you with how to layer.
- Map courses around your neighborhood. You'll want to plan out a 2, 3, 4 and 5 mile loop. Gadget geeks use a GPS watch (expensive), I usually just measure the distance with a free app like RunningMap.com. Or you can drive the 'hood and use your car's odometer to measure.
- Keep a notebook or spreadsheet handy to track your mileage. This will help us measure actual against goal, and let us slowly ramp up the miles.
- Decide what time of day you'll be able to run, and plan your meals accordingly. I usually feel best when running at least an hour after scarfing something light (banana, granola bar, similar).
- See if you can find a friend to run with. Makes the time go faster and easier to get out there in the cold when not alone.
It will take us some time to figure out a plan that works best. We'll start below and adjust if she attempts it and tells me I'm a terrible human being. The training needs to work with her life, so switch rest days as needed to fit your schedule.
Saturday, March 9 - 2 miles, alternate walking one block, jogging one block.
Sunday - Same as above, reverse the route.
Monday - Rest, take the day off if you are sore or casual walk 2 miles if the legs feel fine.
Tuesday - If you feel good, do 3 miles, alternating walking and jogging every other block.
Wednesday - 2 miles, alternate walking one block, jogging one block. Try to finish at least one minute faster than the same route on Saturday.
Thursday - Rest, study nerdy IT stuff (it's okay, I'm an IT dork).
Friday - Sweaty smorgasbord, pick an activity of your choosing that gets your heart pumping for 30 minutes. Run, bike, elliptical, unicycle or group fitness class. Key here is you need to work hard. If using a machine like an elliptical, set the level high enough that your heart and breathing are thumping and it's difficult to hold a conversation.
Gently stretch for 5 minutes at the end of each workout. Hold your stretches, don't bounce. Reload on cold water, I like a hot tea an hour after to perk up after the burn (unless it's late in the day, caffeine).
Log each workout, noting distance, elapsed time and comments on how you felt. At the end of the week, total up your mileage. We are shooting for about 10 miles plus a smorgasbord workout this first week.
You Got This
Liz, thanks for sharing your goals and being open to remote training and blogging about it. I think many readers will relate with wanting to form healthy habits and checking a 5K off the list. We are cheering, you got this!
Next update will be the weekend of the 16th, hopefully she doesn't want to throat-punch me after week one of pain. Readers, drop a comment to high five Liz, and holler if you think something in our plan needs tweaked.