Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Preparing for a 5k in 4 1/2 weeks?

To be fair, I'm not exactly starting from my couch - "couch to 5k in X weeks" seems like a popular internet article headline.  But I also haven't run, jogged, or even walk-jogged, in over 2 1/2 years. And that was just for the 3 weeks in between nursing and being pregnant again.  So other than that 3 weeks, I haven't jogged in 6 years!  And even back then I never jogged more than a mile at a time.

Two of my friends (independently) asked me on Sunday if I'd sign up to do a 5k with them on July 4th.  It sounded like a fun challenge so I went ahead and registered (Sunday was the early registration deadline which saved me 5$ - but I really registered as a commitment device).  Now I have just over 4 weeks to prepare.

I went ahead and looked up training schedules for prepping for a 5k.  They mostly last 8-10 weeks.  I have 4 1/2. ... Oops.

I did a test walk/jog today, where I let myself go at a comfortable pace - able to speak in short sentences - tracked my walk/jog intervals using the timer on my iPhone, and used Map My Fitness to give me overall stats.  It turns out I can do 2.32 miles at an 11:39 pace.  I had to walk a decent amount, but I had one 5-minute and one 7-minute jogging interval in there - so I can also jog for several minutes at a time.  That helps a bit - it means that I should be able to start roughly around week 2-3 of those training programs and cut it down to 6-7 weeks.  ...  I have 4 1/2.  Oops.

So this is going to be tight!  I've put together my own training plan, combining walk/jogs with Focus T25 for running-friendly cross training.  And we'll see how it goes!

Worst case, I walk a bit of my 5k.  But I want to run it!  And in particular, I want to keep pace with my friends and have fun with them on race day.  :)

Sidenote: How awesome is it that I seem fit enough that friends would think to ask me to join them in running a 5k??  That was super cool to me.  It really made me feel like these last couple months of working out are having a really positive visible effect - that I seem fit and energetic to people who know me.

If you're thinking about running a 5k yourself, here are a few helpful links I found.  Runner's World has great training plans for people who can already run 30 minutes at a time. But that is not so helpful for beginners.  These were better:
  • A very practical article with good tips on how to push yourself hard enough but not too hard - this is the reason I thought to use the talk test.  Otherwise I've always run myself a little too hard.  The talk-test run was so much more fun and relaxing than those harder ones I've always done in the past!
  • Hybrid running T25 training plan - my plan works off of this one, but compresses it from 10 weeks to 4 1/2! :)
  • A simple 3-walk/run-per-week training plan - The hybrid plan uses this basic philosophy as well, and it was quite common in the plans I found.  The idea is to alternate walking and running, and each week increase the length of the run segments, eventually getting to the point of all running.  The variation in the plans is usually in minor timing issues, and in what you do on those other 4 days - all have 1 or 2 days of rest, some have more cross-training than others, and some have you run or walk even more.

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