I have set some pretty loft running goals for someone who has never run before in her life. Last week I mentioned that I am planning on running the B.A.A. Distance Medley next year. Every year the Boston Athletic Association, the same organization that facilitates the Boston Marathon, also puts on another series of races. The Distance Medley is the combination of the April 5k, the June 10k, and the October Half Marathon. Participants in the Distance Medley register for all three at once.
I have time before I really need to make the decision to run these races, but having that plan in the back of my mind has been helping me this week as I have begun my training for the Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot I am running with my parents this year. I am following a Couch to 5k training guide, a program that I know has been covered on this blog in the past. For those of you who aren't familiar, Couch to 5k is an eight-week running program that is designed for people that have never been runners. The runs start out really easy, just alternating jogging a minute with walking a minute and a half for a total of thirty minutes. Each week, the running intervals get longer, and the walking intervals get shorter, so by the end of the eight weeks you are in shape to run a 5k without walking.
Yesterday, I completed the last day of my first week following Couch to 5k! The actual workouts were not that challenging, although I tried to walk as quickly as possible during the walk intervals, and tried to focus on my breathing during the jogging portions, knowing that the workouts are going to get more difficult in the coming weeks, and I want to work as hard as I can each week so I really progress. The greatest achievement this week was just getting out there for three runs. I made the time and really focused on following through. I downloaded the Couch to 5k iphone app, and I would like to highly recommend it to anyone thinking about following this program. It has a GPS, so it tracks your distance and pace, but I think the coolest function of the app is that it syncs to your itunes so you can play your music while you run, and it interrupts you every time your interval changes. It lets you know when you are halfway there, so you know to turn around, and it gives a couple encouraging, "you're doing great!" phrases along the way. It also feels very gratifying when that nice voice lets you know that you've completed your workout.
It's a little daunting to think that if I really want to complete the Distance Medley, running and planning and running are going to be the majority of what I'm focusing on for the next year. But I know that if I go step by step and continue on slowly and consistently, I will get to where I want to be. Today and tomorrow I'm focusing on being able to jog a minute and a half, and we'll see how things go.