Category Archives: Fitness

Couch to 5K – Week #7

Another week is in the books!! One more to go and then in theory, I will be able to run a 5K!!  I still can’t believe how far I have come in 7 weeks!!

I have to admit, this week was a little tough.  I found the long running intervals very challenging.  Not because I felt weak, but because my back started to get sore.  I wonder whether that is due to bad form or just prolonged running on the treadmill.  I am looking forward to heading outside to run and hopefully that will help with the back stiffness.  I also hope that I will even be able to head out for a run on my “off” days from the gym to increase my physical activity level.  I will admit that I am looking forward to getting back to some weight workouts (I have minimized those workouts due to the amount of time it takes to do a #C25K training session and a weight workout in one gym visit).

Like I said, this week was a little tough, but I made it through each workout with a little perseverance and determination.  My week started with the Day #1 workout, which went very well.  Truthfully, it was probably the best of the 3 days this week.  I actually ran for 25 minutes straight and covered almost 2 miles during the jogging segment.  With a walking warm-up and cool-down, I was near 2.5 miles that day and actually for most of the workouts this week.

Day #2 I will admit that I was not in the groove that I needed to be to run.  I forced myself into the gym and through my workout.  Needless to say I was feeling tired and took three one-minute walk intervals in my 25 minute jogging session.  In the bigger picture, I still consider 22 minutes jogging in 25 minutes (88% compliance to the app) an accomplishment.  Seven weeks ago jogging for 60 seconds seemed like an eternity!!

Day #3 I started strong, but my back got really stiff/sore about 15-20 minutes into the run.  In the interest of finishing the jogging interval, I decided to take 2 one-minute walking intervals in 25 mintues (92% complete).  Not what I was aiming for when I walked into the gym but better than Day #2.  My focus now is to get to the point where I can jog for 15-20 minutes continually and reach the 5K/3 mile goal.  Even if my 5K involves a minute or two of walking, I will be happy.  I just want to see the finish line and say, “I did it” on May 6!!

Once I get to the 3 mile point, it will be time to tackle running outdoors and getting used to non-treadmill running!!  I have already started scoping out routes around my house.  I do think I have found a good one and I am looking forward to giving it a shot in early to mid-April.   By then the weather will hopefully have returned to what we have experienced this week!!

I want to thank everyone that continues to put their faith in my abilities and encourages me after each post.  All the messages have helped me continue to focus on the goal of getting to the end of this program, progress to running outdoors and then finally run a 5K race.  I am looking forward to running with all the people that have offered to join me on May 6 and I am really looking forward to the cold beer afterword!! 🙂

Couch to 5K – Time to slim down?

I have been working on this 5K run effort for over 6 weeks now.  As I have blogged here, I am amazed by how well the app that I am using builds up strength and stamina for achieving the goal of running a 5K.  While I feel stronger and healthier, I still have one stumbling block to overcome.  I know that to go faster, I need to be lighter.  It will take less effort and energy to move a lighter body along the path or treadmill.  That is just simple physics!!  Who knew I paid attention in that class!!

Like I mentioned back when I started my blog series on this topic, I had a number of motivations to start running.  One was to support the efforts of my friend, Rachel.  Another was to improve my heart health and cardio-fitness.  The final one was that I had hoped my efforts would help me lose a few pounds as an added bonus.  That has not happened yet.  🙁

I know that there are a number of people out there that have successfully slimmed down and lost weight using a number of methods.  Outside of the usual options for formalized programs, I am curious to find out what resources people have used when attempting to lose weight.  What blogs, websites, books or magazines did you use or find useful.  Was there a particular app that you used to help you or did you use the old-fashioned method of pen & paper to help your efforts??

I personally don’t like the idea of formalized programs that tie you into a system of meetings and check-ins.  I am a busy guy and truthfully, I don’t have the added time that those programs would take.  I know that people will tell me that the time required for those activities is an investment in myself.  I also know that I would fail if I tried to add more appointments into my schedule right now.

What I want to do is figure out a program that I have ownership of and have developed to fit my lifestyle, which includes a moderate amount of travel each month.  To do this, I need some resources to build a framework, so that I can do a better job of managing what I put into my body.

It wasn’t until recently that I came to the realization that I could get the calories I need to live off, from far less food than I need to feel full.  A stunning concept, I know, but I guess that realizing that now is a good thing.  Just like my running efforts, I can make a change and a difference if I set my mind to it!!

If you have any helpful resources that you would like to share, please leave a comment below so that others can benefit from your input too.  If you would prefer to send your comments directly to me, please reach me on Twitter or via my contact page.  I look forward to your input!!

Couch to 5K – Week #6

Another week in the books!!  This week was a little tough but once again, I am amazed at how this program builds your ability and if you challenge yourself you can push the limits of what you thought was possible.  During week #1 of the program, I can remember waiting for the timer on the treadmill to hit 60 seconds so I could take a walking break.  That same 60 seconds falls away easily now!!

This week was a strange week for the breakdown of workouts.  After finishing week #5 with a 20 minute jog, the first two days of week #6 went back to intervals.  This was fine with me since I mentally didn’t believe that I could make the longer jogging intervals, successfully!!  I worked through Day #1, which had two 5 minute intervals and an 8 minute interval and Day #2, which was two 10 minute jogging intervals.  Each time I was happy when the jogging ended and was sure that was the limit of my ability.

That was not the case!! Day #3 was a 22 minute jogging interval, with no walking (beyond a warm up and cool down).  I wanted to throw my arms in the air and celebrate when I saw the treadmill hit the end of the 22nd minute and the voice on the app said, “Begin your cooldown, now”!!  I didn’t but I did feel like it!! 😉

I still don’t have the speed that the app suggests.  Their goal is to complete 2.25 miles in 22 minutes.  I managed to complete almost 1.5 miles in that time.  I have looked at the workouts for the coming weeks and there are no more walking intervals in the workouts; They are all straight 20+ minute runs until week #9, Day #1 – which is when I will have officially completed the program!! 😉

I can’t decide if I should stick with the time suggested for each workout at the moment and start running to achieve the distance goals once I get to week #9.  The other option is to use week #7 & #8 to run to the suggested distances and not worry about timing.  I think that I am going to stick to the times suggested until I have the program complete.  It just makes life easier with respect to the app and how it works.  Once that is done, then I can build on the distance I finish with at 30 minutes of jogging.

Has anyone else used this app??  What did you do as you got to the end of the program??  Did you run for distance or time until you finished the program??  As always, I welcome your thoughts and I appreciate all the messages of support I have received.  It has kept me motivated and moving towards completing this program!! 🙂

Couch to 5K – Week #5

Another week of progress!! All three runs this week went well and every time I finished a run, I was shocked at what I had accomplished!! If you had told me when I started this program or even last week, that after just over a month of training, I would actually jog for 20 minutes, continually, I would have called you crazy. Well, it happened!!

I am constantly impressed by how well the Couch to 5K app builds you up to the next day and the next stage. This week was a step-by-step build up to the 20 minute jog. I was surprised when I got to this week, because it was the first time that each day was not the same. Each day in week #5 had a different run/jog combination.

Day # 1 was alternating intervals of 5 minutes of jogging and 3 minutes of walking. That went well and built right off of the runs that I did last week. Day #2 was another new adventure, two 8 minute jogging intervals separated by a 5 minute walk. That led straight to Day #3, which as a full 20 minute jog.

I am still sitting here amazed that I did it!! It was tough and around 10 minutes, I thought I was going to have to take a walking break. I decided to challenge myself and push on to at least 15 minutes of jogging. Once I made that I decided I would push myself until I felt too tired to continue and would take a 1-2 minute walking break at the point. Then a strange thing happened…I started to feel stronger. I even managed to pick up some speed in the last-minute of my jog!!

My distance is not as long as the app suggests, but the timing of the intervals has gone successfully.  I still only get to around 2 miles for my total workout (including a warm-up and cooldown). I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to focus on, “going slower, to get faster”, and so far that has worked. Going slower has helped with the shin splints and getting through each interval with success.  I am not going to change that now. Once I get to 3 miles, I will work on increasing my speed. My goal at this point is complete the race, not reach a personal best time, the first time out.  Then again, that will be my personal best, I guess, since it will be my first race!!  Better speeds and times will come as I get more miles under my belt, I know!!

I think there are two more weeks to finish the program that the C25K app sets out and then I will hopefully be running a full 5K, at that point.  I encourage you to keep me updated with your thoughts, comments or questions, if you would like.  They are most welcome and do wonders to keep me motivated!!  I will update you in a week when, week #6 is, “in the books”!!

Couch to 5K – Week #4 – Finally!!

I am sure that you are thinking, it seems like a long time since the last post on this effort. You’re not wrong. Week #4 was a long one!! It actually took me two weeks to finish the three runs for week #4. The key is that I got them done. The honest truth is I got busy after my first efforts for week #4 and just didn’t get to the gym.

Here’s how the runs for week #4 progressed:

Attempt #1 – Day #1 – This run was tough. It was also very painful. This week the process is a 3 minute jog, a 5 minute jog, a 3 minute jog finishing with a 5 minute jog. There are also walking intervals between each jog, to get to the approximately 20 minute run.

When I finished this run, I knew I needed to look at new runners. That would helpfully hope the shin splint pain, that was just not going away. I stopped at the Running Room location on the east mountain in Hamilton, shortly after this run and the experience there was fantastic!! The staff were helpful and interested in my efforts and wanted to see me succeed. They encouraged me to come and run with a free running group at the store as this would also help find like minded support and encouragement to ensure my success. Best of all, they listened to what I said about my shoes, my shins and offered solutions.

If you don’t know, the Running Room will conduct an analysis of your gait and how you walk at any store, to help you pick new shoes. All you need to do is walk down a hallway in your socks while they observe how you walk. Super easy. Once they complete their observation they will recommend the type of shoes you need in on of three catagories – Cushioning, Stabilizing or Motion Control (you can also see these catagories on the shoe selector on their website).

Armed with the knowledge I gained at the Running Room, I headed home as I wanted to have my orthotics with me to try on new runners. I also still wasn’t convinced that I wanted to spend $150 or more for new shoes. Call me stubborn, but I just felt there had to be a better deal out there and there was!!

I ended up in Niagara Falls later that week and made a stop at the Nike Outlet Store. Again, I had great service from the staff I talked to there. I shared the knowledge I had gained at the Running Room and started the search for new shoes. Within 5 minutes we had found 3 pairs of cushioning runners and all of them were on their “discount” wall at the back of the store. This is where the styles that are being updated are cleared out. I tried the shoes on and in about 20 minutes had found a pair that felt good. REALLY good!! The best news is that the $149 shoes were on clearance for $49!! That’s the deal I was looking for!!

Day #1 – Attempt #2 – Armed with my new runners, I headed to the gym and gave them a try. The honest truth is that after a full 7 day layoff, I was expecting a very tough run. It was. I didn’t have the same stamina and their was a little shin pain. The good news was that the pain was less than in the past and I stuck it out to get through the run.

Day #2 – This is probably the BEST run I have had to this point. I felt strong and was pain free!! When I got off the treadmill I wasn’t aching with shin pain and I felt tired but good!! What a difference the runners made!! I apologize to all of those people that told me to get new runners. I should have listened to you sooner!!

Day #3 – Success!! Another good run that was pain free!! I felt strong again and I am amazed that now when the run intervals come up on the app, I am not cringing but wanting them to start. I want to run and get moving!! If you had told me that a month ago, I would have laughed!!

I was skeptical of this program and the app when I started, but as I progress through the weeks I am shocked at how well it builds up your strength, your cardio ability and your confidence. All you need to do is put in the effort.

I am hopeful for what Week #5 will bring. For the first time I am not scared (or not as scared) of the longer run/jog intervals coming this week. I now truly believe that as I challenge myself, I will get through them!! I am almost halfway through the program and I am at about 2.1 miles per workout now. Another 0.9 miles and I am at the 3 mile goal!! Hard to believe, isn’t it?!?