April showers bring April flowers.
11 months after breaking my ankle, I’ve finally started running again (for real this time, I hope, knock wood!). The best part has been seeing all the beautiful spring flowers!
Last week I started the Couch to 5K program (using the free app). The first week has you walk for 5 minutes, then run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds for eight repetitions, followed by another 5 minutes of walking. The entire workout is only 30 minutes, which I appreciated more than I’d like to admit. The timer (a bell plus a woman’s voice telling you to “start running” or “begin walking“) keeps me honest as I ease back into this whole running thing again after so long. I’m basically starting over as a runner, only this time I’m 13 years older and have a deep-seated fear of breaking my ankle again. On the plus side I know which flavors of Gu I like and I have all sorts of gear. I feel like such a poser heading out in my bright tights and fancy shoes and running belt for my 60 seconds of jogging! Maybe bringing all the snacks is overkill? Nah…
I’m doing the second week now, which has bumped me up to a full 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking (but only six repetitions of each, so it’s still only 20 minutes long). The saddest thing is that I really feel those additional 30 seconds of running. If you saw me out there with my slow trot and constant starting and stopping, you’d be more likely to suggest I take up knitting than try running the NYC Marathon in 27 weeks.
Even this squirrel is skeptical.
I hope there are no more 11-month tapers in my future, and that running nonstop for 30 minutes doesn’t ever seem like an insurmountable goal again, because all this not running has really put a damper on my fun-times candy-consumption. My Garmin also seems to have given up the ghost during this long time off. Time to buy a new watch?
Do you have any GPS & heart rate watch recommendations? Have you ever taken a year off from running? Did you score any good deals on Easter candy? Share in the comments!
Wanted to let you all know that I updated my “Training” page with a lot more information, including a long list of free marathon training programs available online, ready and waiting for your next marathon adventure.
I also uploaded two PDFs I made – one of a running log you can use to keep track of your training, and another one-sheet of my interval training exercises (modified and expanded from the recent NY Times article citing research indicating that these simple body-weight exercises can improve cardiovascular fitness as much as longer bouts of steady-state exercise). It’s the only at-home workout that I’ve actually stuck to, since (1) it doesn’t require setting up a video, remembering complicated exercises, or using any equipment, (2) it’s very quick (even when I throw in a couple extra exercises from the “additional” section it only takes me about 22 minutes to go through the entire cycle twice), and (3) it’s a legitimately good workout (I’m literally dripping sweat by the end – definitely do the exercises on a towel if you’re like me!).
To try to stay organized, I use a binder to hold photocopies of the running log (52 copies, one for each week of the year), and use the clear pocket on the cover of the binder to hold the list of interval training exercises so I can reference it with sweaty hands. There are lots of free apps available to help you keep track of your intervals. I use “Interval Timer – Timing for HIIT Training and Workouts” that’s free (with ads) for iPhones. It can be set to sound a bell every 30 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, etc. so you don’t have to look at a clock or your watch.
I hope these resources help you get to the starting (and finish!) line of your next marathon!
In case you had me confused with someone else, I’m not a certified trainer or fitness professional. Please consult a doctor before beginning any exercise plan.