running a 5k?

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running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:12 am

In addition to my weights, I'm trying to keep myself in *some* cardiovascular shape, mostly by hiking and brisk walking, usually 3-5 miles 4-6 days a week. But I'd kind of like to go faster, with the goal of getting a sub 30-minute 5k race.

When I got stuck in Dallas on the vacation from hell (screw you plane delays) and had to spend the night I did 5k on a treadmill in the hotel to kill time and clocked in at just shy of 38 minutes. Now, I usually feel like I go slower on treadmills than a real trail or street (I land differently, makes my shins hurt like a bitch). But I'd like to see my time improve. I kind of chose 5k because it's a good middle distance; I've got no interest in 10k+ races, as I suspect that'd interfere too much with the weight training, but 3.1 miles isn't that frigging long. And what good is squatting 600 lbs (my long term goal) if you can't go a couple miles without having to sit down?

So does anyone have advice for training that WITHOUT interfering too much with the strength training? I find lots of running plans to try for the 5k but they all seem to assume that's all you're doing, advising lots of interval training (which kills my legs, thus making it impossible to work out well in the weight cage).
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:37 am

Couch to 5k seems like the obvious choice. There's nothing beyond the 3 weekly workouts intended to get you worked up to a 5k run.

http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:30 pm

paulWTAMU, (Whoop, got the name right now!)

I am more of a runner than you and less of a weight trainer. I average 10K runs @ 5.5 mins/km. My current goal is to average under 5 mins/km for a 40km run. Here is what I have learned during my years of training.

Your shins hurt for a couple of reasons ...
1. Landing on your heels, check your shoe tread wear to confirm.
2. Limit running on concrete (sidewalks). Tar pavement is better (road or paved trails), and dirt ground is even better (trails). Grass is better still, but grass can be uneven so you can turn an ankle. I avoid concrete and grass, run mostly pavement, and switch to dirt when I can.

Now, if you want your shins to stop hurting you need to change your stride. Since you do weights, legs in particular, you probably have big calves! Awesome, you are going to need them!

So, how do you change your stride? Very simple. Take your shoes off and run.

See how you land on the balls of your feet. This is how humans have run for thousands of years. It's only when running shoes were invented that we started changing our running stride and landing on our heels, because of how running shoes are designed and the protection they offer.

Now put your running shoes on and continue to run on the balls of your feet.

I know, it feels a bit odd, frankly, it looks a little "gay" and you will run slower. Running on the balls of your feet requires strong calves, so, for you, it will be much easier. For most everybody else, they will get "calf burn" because of atrophied calf muscles from landing on their heels. If this happens, just switch back and forth during your run until you can do the whole run on the balls of your feet. I am in the process of changing my stride too. It takes time.

This whole thing about "running on the balls of your feet" can also be solved by using different shoes or running barefoot.
Personally speaking, do I really need another pair of running shoes to change my stride? No, not really.
Should I run barefoot? Hmm ... If I was living in Africa and running on a clean dirt road, ya sure, but living in cities, personally, I think it's stupid. Roads aren't clean enough for barefoot running, so it isn't worth the risk.

One last tip to increase your speed. Do shorter runs at higher speed. So, for you, mix in 1km runs at under 6mins. Train your brain to handle the higher speed. Something like this ... 5km, 5km, 1km, 5km, 5km, 1km, 5km, 5km, 2km. If you are already close to 6 mins/km on your 5km runs, then likely you can do 1km under 6mins. Over time, hopefully, you will notice your 5km runs can handle a quicker pace. Just like weight training, it's more about training your brain than your body; to believe you can lift that increased weight or run at that faster speed.

My Karate Sensei used to say, "First you train the mind, then you train the body." My experience has taught me that it depends on what stage of the continuum of training you are at.

|--------------------------------------------------|------------------------------------------------------|
Beginning --------------------------------- Advanced ---------------------------------------------- Elite
Training ------------------------------------ Training ---------------------------------------------- Training

In the beginning we are actually training our bodies first.
As we advance we use our bodies to train our minds.
Later our minds begin to understand our bodies and learn that our real limits are what we believe.
That's when we begin to really use our minds to push our bodies.
For most of us, our bodies can handle WAY MORE than our minds believe.

Remember this when you are slowing to a walk during your runs.
You already know this when you are trying to squeeze that one extra rep.

Hope this helps.

Bill
Last edited by GuruBill on Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:08 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:Couch to 5k seems like the obvious choice. There's nothing beyond the 3 weekly workouts intended to get you worked up to a 5k run.

http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml


I agree with this. 5K is just about short enough that if you are moderately young and not in terrible physical condition, you should be able to just do the 5k. If you think that your runs are causing too much fatigue for weights the following day, try limiting the distance at first (ie, limit your runs to 30 min or less). The important thing is to keep up the consistency (ie, 3x per week). If you don't develop joint pain or shin splints, then just keep doing it. If your leg training is well-rounded, then you might be more immune to most to such things anyway. You will improve with repetition. After running for a few weeks, you can always push yourself with a few interval training sessions (fartleks) during weeks that you are doing lighter duty weight regimens (you normally have rest weeks every now and again in weight training, no?).

The other thing that might help if you have the time is a bit of cross-training. Maybe once a week, try adding another cardio-intensive activity that involves the legs such as biking or inline skating? You can even substitute a run for one of these other activities. This will help develop other muscles not used as much in running and should lead to less fatigue for weight training, while still giving your slow-twitch muscle fibers a work out, building your endurance.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:15 pm

GuruBill wrote:One last tip to increase your speed. Do shorter runs at higher speed. So, for you, mix in 1km runs at under 6mins. Train your brain to handle the higher speed. Something like this ... 5km, 5km, 1km, 5km, 5km, 1km, 5km, 5km, 2km


I second that, good advice.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:13 pm

Alternate days.

I run 5 miles Monday, Wednesday and Friday and ride a stationary bike 14 miles on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Bike days are my weight days as well.

5k is a good run. Relatively easy to work up to and not too time consuming either. I started running June of last year and couldn't run a mile. I could complete (run/walk) a mile in about 13:45. A year later, I do a 7:45 mile, a 26:30 5k, and a 49:50 5 mile. Make sure you have good running shoes. My preference is New Balance from their retail store. They have very knowledgeable sales staff. But, whatever floats your boat. Just don't skimp.

I find running outside much easier than a treadmill, though it may be because I can't take a full stride on a home treadmill.

As far as the shins go, mine bothered me for about the first three months, especially when I was pushing hard. I didn't push hard enough to be painful, just enough to feel it. As it go easier, I pushed harder. Now? Nothing. Also helped that I have lost 50lbs since I started running, but that is a different story. Find a stride that fits you and you are comfortable with.

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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:20 pm

well, we've been walking 3 miles or so a day 5 days a week around a cit park. It's a basic rectangle, the long sides are probably a bit less than 2x as long as the short sides. I started sprinting on one of the long sides as long as I could (about 1/2 of it the first 3 times, less the 4th). Then I go walk/jog back to my wife (she's pregnant and wasn't running before she was).

This would have been good, but I did heavy deadlifts and walking lunges about 3 hours prior. Owie.

I'll keep doing this and try to run further/faster I guess.

My point on the shins was that they *don't* bother me outside, on a trail or a sidewalk but that they feel like crap on a treadmill. So outside is much preferred for me :) Hopefully in 3-4 weeks I can spring the whole long side of the park,then go up from there. All I know right now is my butt and thighs haven't hurt this bad in years if ever.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:25 pm

My $.02: If your 5k time is above half an hour, you aren't running. You need to focus on actually running. If you're trying to jog and you slow down beyond a 10 minute mile pace, try just walking for a bit until you have enough breath/energy/moxie/whatever to get back to a quicker pace. There's no shame in walking, and jogging extra slowly just wears on your joints without giving you much of a benefit.

I'm no expert on weight training, but as far as non-interference goes, I really think that in your situation a personal trainer would tell you to go ahead with the cardio training even if it means you have to scale your strength training back somewhat for a few months. At this point getting in better cardio & jogging shape will probably help your weight training more in the long run than all-out weight training will. If you're not comfortable with that thought, find a personal trainer and discuss things with them.

Two kinds of runs to try: 1) Get so you know what a <=9:00 mile pace feels like (even if right now you can't keep it up for a mile) and go as far as you can at that kind of pace. Don't let yourself slow down; pour more energy in to maintain the pace until you really can't do that any more, and then stop and walk it off. Work up the distance over time. 2) Intervals for working directly on speed. You may dislike them, but they're effective. "Equivalent performance" target paces for different distances can be calculated at http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/calculator.

Do one or the other of these at least three times a week. Be sure to give yourself a rest day every week.

For endurance work on the other days, rather than slow jogging at a >10 minute mile pace, keep up the hiking and throw in some cycling. (If you're on pavement, thin, high-pressure tires can make biking a lot more fun.) Swimming lots of laps can be quite good too, but most folks don't particularly enjoy that, and if you don't find a way to enjoy your endurance work it's hard to be consistent about it.

Since exercising much less than half an hour is not really good endurance work and running >10 minute miles is kinda pointless, meeting your goal is basically the point at which using runs as endurance workouts really starts to become viable.

Your goal is extremely doable if you're consistent for a while. Good luck.

I've been in a somewhat similar position- at one point I was quite sick for a couple years, and after I recovered I could barely do a 9:00 mile. It took me a good while to work up to the point where I could keep a sub-nine pace for 3mi, largely because I wasn't as consistent as I should have been. Not too long ago, I did a half-marathon with sub-8:00 mile splits, and one of my goals now is to do a 12:00 2-mile (plenty of work before I get there tho).

PS. GuruBill talked about improving form and avoiding injuries by avoiding heel-striking. Just shooting for a 5k you can get away with heel-striking, and making the adjustment to a midfoot/forefoot strike would take some time. But making the switch really is worth it. Though he says you don't need to have a special shoe to do this, the truth is that it's very hard to train yourself to avoid heel striking when your shoe has a lot more padding in the heel than in the front.

The difference between the thickness at the heel and the thickness at the forefoot is called the drop of the shoe, and having a high drop is not only bad for your form but also for your posture (just like high heels). Running shoes used to all have moderately low drop, but in the 80s and 90s they started to pad the heels more and more. The extra few mm of padding can't really take the impact of hitting the pavement off your joints, it can only obscure the pain which is your body's signal trying to tell you "Hey, don't run that way!" and thus actually makes injuries more likely.

So it can be to your advantage to get a low-drop or zero-drop shoe. There's plenty of either these days, but the first examples that spring to mind are the Brooks PureConnect (low-drop) and the Altra Instinct (zero-drop).
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:20 am

I always thought a good stretching was key in preventing injury and cramps. As a kid in Track and Field the routine was a mile jog as a warm-up then followed by 30 minutes of stretching, before we did anything. Now very few people I know have the patience or time for a 30 minute stretch, including myself. But I consider a 10 minute stretch a minimum before doing anything but a jog.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:14 am

Dagwood wrote:Now very few people I know have the patience or time for a 30 minute stretch, including myself.


Probably just as well...

Google for something like "Does stretching before exercise prevent injury?". Counter-intuitively, the answer from randomised controlled trials and reviews of other RCTs says "No", and that's been known for quite a long time now. It's funny how "common sense" often over-rides demonstrated results.

It seems there is more evidence to show that a simple warm-up will be far more beneficial than stretching (which may actually contribute to injuries). However, another important finding is that if you already have a routine (whether you currently stretch or don't), don't change it quickly - that seems to be the best way to get injured!
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:31 am

warm-up stretching = no, only dynamic stretching, if any, not necessary
cool down stretching = definitely yes, very necessary for recovery
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:55 am

Anomymous Gerbil wrote:Google for something like "Does stretching before exercise prevent injury?". Counter-intuitively, the answer from randomised controlled trials and reviews of other RCTs says "No", and that's been known for quite a long time now.


I stretch before running to prevent soreness and to limber up, not really to prevent injury. I can really tell a difference. I'm much more tight and the run is more difficult when I don't stretch.

Plus it's a good routine; it gives me some time to relax and get zen.

Dagwood wrote:the routine was a mile jog as a warm-up then followed by 30 minutes of stretching, before we did anything.


I should really have proper a warm-up and cool-down periods, but I really don't have the time. For warm-up, I stretch, and for my informal cool-down, I walk around and drink water.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:12 am

There is not a force on god's green earth that'll make me do cycling for a workout--barring a literally life or death situation. I hate cycling.

I cannot self regulate pace worth a damn. I just don't know how fast I'm going. I've thought about getting one of those pedometers that measures pace/speed/distance and seeing if that helps me to get a sense of how fast I'm actually going.

When I did the 5k on a treadmill, I managed to get the first mile in a bit over 7 minutes. I just couldn't keep up more than a slow walk for more than a few 10s of seconds after that. it kicked the crap out of me. My first mile took between 7 and 8 minutes, the next 2.1 miles took 30-31 minutes :lol: I'd do a walking pace (like 3 miles/hour) for a bit then try to run/jog at 6-7 mph for as long as I could...it was pretty awful.

From the day after, I can tell you that pretty much everything hurts. Lower back muscles, glues, hams, quads, calves, abs...everything is sore. Heavy lifting+sprinting=brutal.


I *think* I'm striking with ball of foot and/or midfoot on a trail or sidewalk. On treadmills it's definitely heel of the foot.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:26 am

Maybe try this...

http://runforyourlives.com/

:lol:
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:26 am

paulWTAMU wrote:I hate cycling.
You don't have to bike, but you should find some things you can enjoy and can do for over half an hour which get your heart rate up. To get your heart rate up enough when walking on level ground may require going at an unnatural pace which strains your muscles in funny ways. Hiking hilly/irregular terrain (or stairs, but those get boring fast) would do fine. Finding a sport to play regularly (weekly casual pickup games of soccer or ultimate, for instance) would do it too.
paulWTAMU wrote:I cannot self regulate pace worth a damn. I just don't know how fast I'm going. . . My first mile took between 7 and 8 minutes, the next 2.1 miles took 30-31 minutes
Ouch! To get used to regulating your pace a little, find a track, wear a watch, and check your pace every 200m (or whatever an easy mark is given the track length if it's not a standard 400m track). Of course most of the time you'll probably want to get more variety than running on the track allows, but it shouldn't take too long to get a feel for the pace, and it will make things a lot easier once you have a feel for it.

Given your goal and where you're at now, you want to keep 200m splits under 1:10, and unless you're doing an interval/sprint workout you don't want to have any 200m split be less than 1:00. That may sound at first like a narrow range, but 80 seconds per mile is a actually a huge difference and should be fairly easy to feel.

You can also figure out mileage checkpoints for some favorite routes off the track (google maps can be useful here) and use those to pace yourself, but again, you should be able to get a basic feel for the pace pretty quickly and you don't have to worry about being exact.

Most pedometers are fairly dumb devices which just keep track of the number of strides you take and multiply that by some stride length. That's often inaccurate by over 10% when walking and it's not going to be anywhere near acceptably accurate for running. A GPS pedometer is just not worth the cost unless you are made of money. If you have a smartphone you might be able to find a GPS-based pedometer app that works well enough (if they're accelerometer-based they'll be no better than a $5 pedometer). I'd really recommend just using a watch.
Last edited by jensend on Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:32 am

PetMiceRnice wrote:Maybe try this...

http://runforyourlives.com/

:lol:

If you want the same thing in a portable format that you can take with you to the track, try "Zombies, Run!" from the iOS or Android app stores. I haven't tried it but a friend did and found it to be reasonably useful and amusing.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:00 am

You can also figure out mileage checkpoints for some favorite routes off the track (google maps can be useful here) and use those to pace yourself, but again, you should be able to get a basic feel for the pace pretty quickly and you don't have to worry about being exact.


that sounds like what I'll do. We dont' have a plethora of free tracks around town, and I don't want to drop the cost of a gym membership to get a track. But we usually use one city park that's got a 3/4 mile path around it; I can choose what section to sprint on and use google maps to get some distance.

Good to know on the pedometers; I guess I'll get a stopwatch and practice. It may take a while but eh.

I figure do this three days a week, alternate between sprints and longer running at a regulated pace?

quick rough check on google maps showed that the short side of the park is just over 200 yards, long side is about 400-500 (can't tell exactly using the scale thing they included). Pacing on the longer runs will take me some time to get but oh well, something to work on.

edit; this is a kick in the nuts. The markers on the walking path and the city's parks and recs website give the distance as .74 miles, but google maps shows it being .6 miles around the path. Gaaaaaa
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:31 am

paulWTAMU wrote:edit; this is a kick in the nuts. The markers on the walking path and the city's parks and recs website give the distance as .74 miles, but google maps shows it being .6 miles around the path. Gaaaaaa

For a quick sanity check, launch Google Earth and then measure it yourself using Tools/Ruler. I've verified the feature at work by measuring customer facility fences of known dimensions. Turns out you can measure visible features down to an accuracy of a few feet if you're careful.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:55 am

google earth gave me .73, which is close enough. Thanks :) I was pretty...irate...at the the thought we'd need to do six laps to get our distance.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:06 pm

paulWTAMU wrote:that sounds like what I'll do. We dont' have a plethora of free tracks around town, and I don't want to drop the cost of a gym membership to get a track. But we usually use one city park that's got a 3/4 mile path around it; I can choose what section to sprint on and use google maps to get some distance.
ludi's idea for getting a more accurate read sounds good, and you can do without a track. But I just wanted to mention a possibility- high school or university tracks are usually free and open to the public most of the time, and though I guess you may not have a college track any closer than West Texas A&M, a quick google search shows 6+ high school/jr high tracks in Amarillo.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:18 pm

paulWTAMU wrote:that sounds like what I'll do. We dont' have a plethora of free tracks around town. But we usually use one city park that's got a 3/4 mile path around it.

Good to know on the pedometers; I guess I'll get a stopwatch and practice.


I used to go running by the lakes in the medial district, when I lived in Amarillo. It's really windy up there, so I usually preferred to go running at Memorial Park by Amarillo College.

Garmin makes a series of GPS enabled watches that show distance and pace, among other things. (https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=142) I used to have a Forerunner 101, and that was really nice to see my stats for a run.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:25 pm

Memorial Park is the one I'm running at :D

I've been to medi-park, but frankly it's pretty frigging skuzzy after about 6, and too many of our clients go there to hang out--the last thing I want when I'm jogging is to have a homeless client we've been working with come up to me and ask to talk.

I don't know that any of our school tracks are open to the public--the two nearest (Landergin and Coronado IIRC) are fenced and locked at least. I went to WTAMU (hence the username) but that's been a few years :lol: You have to buy a membership to the Activities Center Gym to use that track, unless it's changed since I went there.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:47 pm

Yeah, medi-park. I couldn't remember the name.

I've heard good things about Southwest park, and there are soccer fields there you can run around.

I don't like running on tracks, so that wasn't something I ever looked into while I was there.
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:46 pm

I use geodistance.com for mapping routes and figuring distances. It seems to be pretty accurate.

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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:52 am

Well I put my "money where my mouth is" so to speak and now I'm doing the Couch to 5K thing. I'm done with the 2nd run of week 2. A couple things to note:

1.) If you have an Android phone I can heartily recommend RunDouble. The app itself is free and the first 2 weeks of each of the supported workouts is free, but if you want to go beyond the trial it was $1.60 on the Play store to get the full Couch to 5K plan. It maps your warmup, run/walk intervals, and cooldown. It supports bluetooth HRMs if you're into that sort of thing, or if you put in your height/weight it'll guesstimate calories burned. It also tells you when to run/walk and what your pace for the interval was when it finishes. It'll tell you when you're half-way so if you live in a neighborhood with winding roads as I do you can turn around. Integrated music player, just pick a playlist before you start, and it'll duck the audio (or pause it if your phone doesn't support ducking) automatically to talk to you. I find the Facebook integration (totally optional) nice because if I put it out there in the public, I feel like I HAVE to keep going or be humiliated. :p There are training programs available for 10k and half-marathon, too. Just a fantastic running app. http://www.rundouble.com/

2.) I thought my distance would improve with week 2, but instead my distances aren't any better. Last week each day I went about 1.25 miles (walk/run intervals only; including the warm-up and cool-down walks put it at about 1.75mi). This week the two days I've done I've also gone about 1.25 miles. So I'm frustrated, but I'm going to keep going. My goal is to run a 5K on Labor Day weekend.

When I was in high school, I was very active. Lifted weights, played on the JV and varsity baseball teams, did a bit of running. Then I went to college and didn't do any of that stuff - over the last 15 years I've ballooned from around 195 to around 270, with ups and downs thanks to fad diets and falling off the wagon. Not once did I include exercise, so I'm hopeful that this will be what breaks the cycle.

I like that from start to finish it's (right now) 30-35 minutes. I set my alarm to get up early and I'm out the door by 6:00, home by 6:30, then shower, breakfast, and off to work.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.
derFunkenstein
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:26 am

derFunkenstein wrote:2.) I thought my distance would improve with week 2, but instead my distances aren't any better. Last week each day I went about 1.25 miles (walk/run intervals only; including the warm-up and cool-down walks put it at about 1.75mi). This week the two days I've done I've also gone about 1.25 miles. So I'm frustrated, but I'm going to keep going. My goal is to run a 5K on Labor Day weekend.


At 30-35 minutes per day, don't get discouraged, but do be realistic. Given what you said your current weight was, I would expect that as your weight drops, your times will get better, but it is a slow process and, at least for me, there were several plateau points. It spent a long time at the 10 min mile/two miles mark. I don't know what your 5k goal is, but if you are seriously trying run a 5k by labor day, you might was to chat with a trainer as it is quite possible to do serious damage to your body pushing too hard.

--SS
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Re: running a 5k?

Postposted on Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:27 am

Well, I know people who have first-hand experience with the program and I know it's worked for them, but at the same time I'm realistic. I may not be running a 5K on September 1. But it's advertised as a walk-run, so I hope to be at bare minimum walk-running one. There are 5K races local to my area that go into early November, so at some point in 2012 I intend to run one from start to finish. Even if I'm still tipping the scales at 250 or more, I know it can be done.

My lungs outlast my legs, and my bones have to get stronger. But the big thing is the calf muscles that become so tight that walking hurts. They'll get there, I know that.
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