30 Day Writing Challenge #16 - Dreaming of a 5K Run (A 2020 Bucket List Challenge)


NOTE - 2 training schedules I designed for myself as an older first time runner are included at the bottom. 

When I celebrated a milestone birthday in January, I did it with great trepidation.  This number really freaked me out.  What I needed to do was find a way to turn my focus away from the number and in a more positive direction - so I created my 2020 Year of Marilyn Bucket List Challenge! At the end of the year I intend to celebrate my accomplishments!

What went on this list? There are activities I dreamed of trying such as ziplining and skydiving; things I wanted to accomplish such as writing a new book; and items to help me face my difficulty with procrastination and finishing such as knitting/crocheting 3 items and sending letters to relatives.  I also challenged myself to try new things as well, such as axe throwing. Then there were the challenges I thought I would never be able to accomplish - I was too old, I didn't have the talent, I wasn't a good enough athlete..............  You get the idea.

Running a 5K definitely fell in this last category.  Growing up, my family's focus was never on sports. I always assumed I was hopeless at them.  Time has started to clear that away. I'm not a gifted athlete in any sense of the word, but I'm definitely not hopeless either.  However, jogging has always proved an anathema for me. I've tried it a few times when the Sun Run training program went up and just never made much progress or felt that runners high.

This made running a 5K a perfect item for my challenge bucket list.  I didn't care if I ran an official 5K. I simply mapped out how far I had to run along the river I live beside (halfway going, halfway coming back) and decided to give it a try.  A fellow author who is an experienced runner sent me a basic training program to try. After struggling to deal with using my phone as a timer, I bought an inexpensive interval device to clip on my collar.  You can set 2 separate times and the number of repetitions. It  beeps every time you switch between them (ex. - walk 2 min., jog 1 min., repeat 7 times).


We had 2 trips back to Ontario during my beginning months which interrupted my efforts. It was too cold and icy back there for me to safely hit the streets.  Each time I had to restart when I returned home. To be honest, though, even when I could keep on track, as I moved up the chart I just wasn't feeling the progress. It never got easier and I was getting discouraged.

Then 2 tips fell into my lap.  The first came from my daughter who is a registered kinesiologist. She talked about how everyone has a natural gait that works best for their body. She encouraged me to stop trying to plod along super slow, and instead try mixing it up a bit to see if there was a pace that felt right for me.  WOW! What a concept.  Injury prevention is still high on my list, but I felt this could be done while still keeping that in mind.

The second tip came from a neighbor. She is a top level senior runner who coaches young people and still competes in races across Canada and the US.  When I mentioned what I was trying to do along with my daughter's suggestion, she suggested I also try changing my training schedule to a much kinder, gentler one. And she gave me a different goal - just keep moving for 30 minutes.

My initial schedule started with a 2 min walk, 1 min. run; then moved to a 1 min. walk, 1 min. run; then 1 min. walk, 2 min. run; and continued on adding 1 min. to the run each week.  She instead encouraged me to start with as much as a 4.5 min. walk paired with only a 30 sec. run, repeating until I reached 30 minutes.  My interval timer only did full minutes, so I decided to try a 4/1 ratio (4 min. walk, 1 min. run, 6 repetitions).  She also suggested instead of increasing the run portion each week, to do as many weeks as I needed to feel comfortable before changing.

I went out on my first walk/run yesterday using both suggestions and what a difference! I found a slightly faster pace that stretched out my legs combined with using my arms a lot more felt decidedly easier for me.  The 4/1 pacing was perfect.  I walked in the door after finishing, and for the first time answered my husband's question - "How did it go?" - with really good.

This doesn't mean I intend to be a regular jogger the rest of my life. It does mean I might actually find a way to cross this item off my 2020 Year Of Marilyn Bucket List Challenge. After I've achieved this goal, I'll decide if I'm a running convert or if I want to move on to another activity.

Want to check out all the items on my challenge list as well as follow how many I'm crossing off?  Just go to http://www.oliobymarilyn.com/2019/12/the-2020-year-of-marilyn-bucket-list.html.

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TWO running routines I came up with that hold promise for my fitness and age levels. Use these as starting points to design a schedule that feels right for YOU! Be sure to listen carefully to your body - what is it saying?  If you need extra time at any point, then just repeat the level you're at for as many weeks as it takes to feel comfortable before moving to the next. And warm-up and cool-down are important. Stretching, gentle walking, arm swings, squats and more can all be used to warm up and cool down.

Running Routine #1 - I'll follow this if my body responds well and isn't showing signs of injury. The goal is roughly 30 minutes.

Week
Warm-up
Walk
Jog
Reps
Cool Down
1
3-5 min.
4 min.
1 min.
6
3-5 min
1a
Repeat week 1 until your body is comfortable at this level
2
3-5 min
4 min.
2 min.
5
3-5 min
2a
Repeat week 2 until your body is comfortable at this level
3
3-5 min
3 min.
2 min.
6
3-5 min
3a
Repeat week 3 until your body is comfortable at this level
4
3-5 min
3 min.
3 min.
5
3-5 min
4a
Repeat week 4 until your body is comfortable at this level
5
3-5 min
2 min.
3 min.
6
3-5 min
5a
Repeat week 5 until your body is comfortable at this level
6
3-5 min
2 min.
4 min.
5
3-5 min
6a
Repeat week 6 until your body is comfortable at this level
7
3-5 min
1 min.
4 min.
6
3-5 min
7a
Repeat week 7 until your body is comfortable at this level
8
3-5 min
1 min.
5 min.
5
3-5 min
8a
Repeat week 8 until your body is comfortable at this level
9
3-5 min
1 min.
6 min.
4
3-5 min
9a
Repeat week 9 until your body is comfortable at this level
10
3-5 min
1 min.
7 min.
4
3-5 min
10a
Repeat week 10 until your body is comfortable at this level
11
3-5 min
1 min.
8 min.
3
3-5 min
11a
Repeat week 11 until your body is comfortable at this level
12
3-5 min
1 min.
9 min.
3
3-5 min
12a
Repeat week 12 until your body is comfortable at this level
13
3-5 min
1 min.
10
3
3-5 min
13 a
Repeat week 13 until your body is comfortable at this level
14
3-5 min
At this point I'm going to work with 20 min run and see how it goes. The goal is 30 min/5K
3-5 min.

Running Routine #2 - This is my alternate if my body needs more recovery time between jogs. The goal again is 30 min. of movement.

Week
Warm-up
Walk
Jog
Reps
Cool Down
1
3-5 min.
4 min.
1 min.
6
3-5 min
1a
Repeat week 1 until your body is comfortable at this level
2
3-5 min
4 min.
2 min.
5
3-5 min
2a
Repeat week 2 until your body is comfortable at this level
3
3-5 min
4 min.
3 min.
4
3-5 min
3a
Repeat week 3 until your body is comfortable at this level
4
3-5 min
4 min.
4 min.
4
3-5 min
4a
Repeat week 4 until your body is comfortable at this level
5
3-5 min
4 min.
5 min.
3
3-5 min
5a
Repeat week 5 until your body is comfortable at this level
6
3-5 min
4 min.
6 min.
3
3-5 min
6a
Repeat week 6 until your body is comfortable at this level
7
3-5 min
4 min.
7 min.
3
3-5 min
7a
Repeat week 7 until your body is comfortable at this level
8
3-5 min
4 min.
8 min.
3
3-5 min
8a
Repeat week 8 until your body is comfortable at this level
9
3-5 min.
4 min.
9 min.
2
3-5 min
9a
Repeat week 9 until your body is comfortable at this level
10
3-5 min
4 min.
10 min.
2
3-5 min
10a
Repeat week 10 until your body is comfortable at this level
11
3-5 min
3 min.
10 min.
2
3-5 min
11a
Repeat week 11 until your body is comfortable at this level
12
3-5 min
2 min.
10 min.
3
3-5 min
12a
Repeat week 12 until your body is comfortable at this level
13
3-5 min
1 min.
10
3
3-5 min
13a
Repeat week 13 until your body is comfortable at this level
14
3-5 min
At this point I'm going to work with 20 min run without a mid-break and build from there. The final goal is roughly 30 min and 5K in distance.
3-5 min.

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