Thursday, July 31, 2008

In The Beginning...Sort of!

After 4 months of running, I am still going strong. I plan to run in a 5k on September 13 and a 10k on September 20. I've been training for over a month and can now run as far as 8 miles without stopping. Man, you could not have told me I would be able to run like this. See, I grew up sprinting and was known for being one of the fastest, if not the fastest, kids in the neighborhood. I never ran track although I wish I had done so now.

So, how did I come to running? Well, like many people I set goal to exercise 3 times a week. I got budget approval from my wife to purchase exercise equipment in 2007 and in March I decided to buy a $1500 treadmill. My original goal was to walk on the treadmill 3-4 times per week. When I started walking, I quickly discovered I had to move my arms vigorously to reach my heart rate in the target range appropriate for my age (135-145 bpm). Soon after I began pumping my arms up and down, I discover I need to add wrist weights to stay in my target heart rate range. After the wrist weights, I added multiple inclines from 1% to 7%. I even increased the speed as far as I could without actually running and I continued to struggle to reach my target heart rate range. As you can see, my body was gradually getting more acclimated to walking and I had to make a decision. I could either continue to modify what I was doing or I could start running.

After more than a year of walking and making adjustments to reach my target heart rate range, I finally decided to just RUN! I started running 1 mile and gradually increased the distance until I was running 3 miles several times per week. Because I am over 40, I consulted with an exercise expert (my sister) who gave me some tips and pointed me to some very cool websites that I will share with you too. To see how I have progressed and what my limits are, I track my daily running statistics including time, distance, average pace, speed, average BPM, BMI, calories burned. Along the way I set a goal to get my average pace down below 10 minutes per mile (I started running at over 15 minutes per mile!) I can now say that I am able to run 9.5 minute miles comfortably. I have been known to run 8.5 minute miles on occasion.

My next goal is to run in a 5k and, possibly, a 10k in September. Wish me well...