To Jog Or Not To Jog - That is the question!

A couple of months ago I wrote a column called "Kicking Butt at Home."  As I work from home most days and spend long hours at the computer, I found I wasn't - #1 getting enough exercise and #2 getting out to the gym.  I bought several workout DVD's and reviewed the first one above.  I have to admit I fell soundly off schedule when things got busy and as much as I like the all over work-out in the DVD I reviewed, what I found is I got really sick of listening to the same banter over and over again.

The time has come to get back to getting in shape and while I will still be using the DVD reviewed, I know I have to mix it up a bit.  I have 2 others to try, but really wanted to take advantage of the great weather and get out of the house.   I don't know how many friends I have had over the years sing the praises of jogging.  I have NEVER had good wind and running was always a chore.  I actually love a great sprint, but pounding away on the pavement for 20-40 minutes has never been something I enjoyed.  Everyone continues to assure me once I get past the first hurdle, I will begin to experience those endorphins and learn to love running.  So a little over a week ago I decided to give jogging another try.  It gets me out of the house into the sunshine and there is no annoying person trying to encourage me to, "lift that weight one more time."

I ran 3 times last week and had my first run this week.  Now let's face it, I use the term "run" loosely.  I am not young and not a runner.  As a former dancer I am always concerned about preparation and injury, so have taken it really slow.   There were several beginner training programs to chose from. The one I picked that seemed to be most common at the time ended up being too ambitious, so I have adjusted it accordingly.  Now in doing a search, I have found lots of alternatives that are milder.

As my goal is not really to run a race, I am sticking with my original schedule, but just stretching it out.  I am doing Day 1 for 2 weeks and then will move on to Day 2.  If I start to get in the groove I might start moving through the program at the rate they give, but for now it seems to be best for me to do each day for 2 weeks. Let's face it, I'm in no rush and have no plans to run a marathon of any kind.   Here is the beginner's schedule I found at Runner's World to train for a 5K race.  Again, a bit ambitious for the total novice so I have offered links at the end to programs that are more realistic.

Tue Run 1 min, walk 1 min. Do 10 times  
Thu Run 2 mins, walk 4 mins. Do 5 times
Sun Run 2 mins, walk 4 mins. Do 5 time

Tue Run 3 mins, walk 3 mins. Do 4 times
Thu Run 3 mins, walk 3 mins. Do 4 times
Sun Run 5 mins, walk 3 mins. Do 3 times

Tue Run 7 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times
Thu Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times
Sun Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times 

Tue Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times  
Thu Run 10 mins, walk 2 mins. Do twice then run for 5 mins
Sun Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times 

Tue Run 9 mins, walk 1 min. Do 3 times
Thu Run 12 mins, walk 2 mins. Do twice then run for 5 mins
Sun Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times 

Tue Run 15 mins, walk 1 min. Do twice
Thu Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins. Do 3 times
Sun 5K Race!

There are a few considerations.  A good pair of running shoes with proper support is a must. As well, for the novice I would never run the streets.  The pavement can be really hard on you.  I am lucky where I live to have a local track with a rubber surface, but any local school usually has a grass field you could run the perimeter of instead.  If you're near a beach, that would be another great option.   To do most programs you also will need a way to keep track of time.  Stop watches are one option, but most new smart phones usually have a stop watch option that works great.  You must also eat properly and drink lots of water.  Running on an empty stomach or with little water reserves is just plain dumb.

One thing I have found true over the years that I NEVER see discussed is that you should know your bio-rhythms.  I learned in my 20's that I'm not an early morning work out person.  Someone talked me into hitting the gym at 6 a.m. and I threw up.  For me it's between early afternoon and mid evening.  Each person has their own best time to work out based on many things (when you get up, when you go to bed, when you sleep-eat-drink) and unless you fit your work-outs into the right timing, you're doomed to fail.  This advice is not from the experts, just something I find.  Working out the wrong time for me means not feeling well during or afterwards, while when I do it at my high energy times I come away feeling great.

They say it takes at least 3 tries to quit smoking and I think exercising is the same, only in reverse.  You have to keep trying new things and taking new directions until you find a way that exercise fits with your life.  So if you're like me and it comes and goes, don't be discouraged.  It will eventually stick if you just keep trying new directions.

The Joy of Jogging 
1. For every mile you jog, you add one minute to your life. This enables you, at the age of 85, to spend an additional five months in a nursing home at $5,000/month.
2. The only reason I took up jogging was to hear heavy breathing again.
3. I joined a health club last year, spending $400 in the process. I haven't lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up.
4. I have to exercise early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I'm doing.
5. I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
6. The advantage to exercising every day is that you die healthier.
7. I have flabby thighs but fortunately my stomach covers them.
8. If you are going to take up cross-country skiing, it helps to start with a small country.
9. I don't jog; it makes me spill my milk shake.
10. Actually, I don't exercise at all. If we were meant to touch our toes, we would have them farther up on our body.

Other programs for Novice Runners (and there are lots more!) -