Part 1: Training Schedules
In my last blog, I talked about how I got the green light to start running again. So I dug through my collection of books on running to find a beginner’s training schedule. Most of them promise that in 12 or so weeks, you’ll run a full 20 minutes non-stop. After all, it’s been almost two years since I’ve done any serious running.
I started dutifully by running four sets of 1 minute to every 2 minutes of walking, for a total of FOUR minutes of running time per outing. I’m doing the 10-minute warm-up and cool-down walks and stretching afterward.
Fortunately, I haven’t had any pain. My hips, knees, and ankles have behaved themselves nicely. And this week I’ll try three sets of running 5 minutes to every 2 minutes of walking, for a total of—wow!—FIFTEEN minutes of running time.
Don’t get me wrong. It does feel wonderful to be back on the roads! Last week I ran during an absolute downpour, and I was happy to be out even in bad weather. And then, of course, it’s very satisfying to know that I’m disciplined enough to face the elements and come through. I might be dripping wet, but I did it!
When I started running at the tender age of 46, I was compulsive about sticking to training schedules. Like most runners, I love them: Just tell me what to and for how long, and I’ll do it, whatever my body is trying to tell me. We all try bargaining with the universe to keep on running or start running again.
But I have found myself thinking about those training schedules. Maybe this comes with age and/or experience, but do I really have to follow them so strictly? What if I think of my schedule as a guide, rather than as being written in stone? What if I don’t feel ready to go to the next stage yet?
Week 2’s regimen was four sets of run 2, walk 2. I was absolutely winded after running 2 minutes non-stop for the first time in years.
So I didn’t try it again. I repeated week 1’s schedule, and felt ready to move on from there. By listening to what my body was telling me, I actually gained a week’s worth of endurance—even though I didn’t gain any minutes of running time.
What have I gotten from all of this? By tuning in to my body and mind, I’ve given myself permission to modify my schedule and adjust to whatever is happening. My ultimate goal is running with ease and confidence, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get me there.
P.S. This is part 1 of a series for runners who are recovered from injuries—or anyone out there who wants to get started. Watch for the next part, coming soon!