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Time for a New Plan

November 21, 2006

I know it’s only been a week since I last wrote about running, but it’s top of mind again because yesterday I declared myself done with the Walking & Jogging Program that I chose to start my running career. I’m rather amazed and proud of myself that I’ve stuck with it. I didn’t run three times every week, and it took me 14 weeks to get through the 8-week schedule because I wasn’t always able to step it up as the schedule calls for, but here I am, able to do eight repetitions of one minute walking and four minutes jogging without melting, collapsing, or wanting to die.

I didn’t have any definite idea of what came next, since I wasn’t sure I’d get this far. When I was first starting, a lot of people recommended the Couch-to-5K Plan, but it looked too hard to me. Only 90 seconds of walking to recover from a minute of jogging? No, I don’t think so. The four minutes of walking on the other plan seemed much better, so I went with that one. But now—now I’m fitter; now I think I can handle this plan. I decided to start with Week 4, because those intervals are the most similar to what I’ve been doing. I tried it last night for the first time and it wasn’t too bad. The five minute jogs weren’t that hard, especially since they were broken up with three minute jogs and those are almost easy at this point in comparison. I added a couple repetitions to what the plan calls for so I could stay close to the total distance and time I’ve been doing; I don’t want to backslide when I’ve come so far.

Week 5, though, looks a bit nutty. Workout one is the same as this week, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Workout two, however—workout two and I have some issues. I’m just supposed to step up to eight minute jogging intervals? From three and five? With no shorter intervals in between? That doesn’t seem likely. Yeah, I know I can run eight minutes in a row; I’ve done it at least that at the start of both races I’ve been in, but that’s with a crowd around me and faster runners to follow and race day adrenalin flowing in my veins, not shuffling around subdivision streets alone in the dark keeping an eye out for cars and people and dogs and possums and people walking dogs (but not possums). And then workout three calls for twenty minutes of jogging—IN A ROW. I don’t see that happening. Not that soon. I’m not even going to get into it with Week 6 at this point, since who knows when I’ll get there.

Speaking of shuffling around the subdivision in the dark (I was, about three sentences ago), doing so has changed my mind about when it’s an appropriate time to put up Christmas decorations. I was firmly in the “not before Thanksgiving” camp until this year. Don’t rush it, people, was my thinking. But now, I want people to decorate early and often with many lights in many colors, the better to entertain and delight me. It’s so nice to be running along and come upon a festive display twinkling away; for the few minutes I can see it as I jog by, I’m distracted from how out of breath I am, how hot my face is, how hard running still is even though it’s not quite as hard as it used to be.

I’m going to need all the distraction I can get, because I’m going to keep doing this running thing. To encourage myself to stay motivated, I’ve signed up for a 5K next month. I know I can do 4; surely one more K won’t be too hard. Stay tuned.

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