In the Story of Bessie, part of my new found motivation is going to be used to start running. Last week I started that journey! Exactly one week removed from the Emergency Room, still jacked on 40 mg of prednisone, I went for my first run while pushing the twins.
The Accidental 5k
When I set out on my first run, I had a plan to run 1-mile and see how it felt. I had no idea how my lungs would react given Bessie, and I hadn’t run more than a mile in probably eight years. So with my fleet of inhalers in tow and pushing the stroller, off I went.
Luckily my Fitbit has a built-in running app so that I can track my distance and pace. The first 1/4 mile felt ok, and I looked down at my watch, “Pace: 9:15 min/mile.” YOWZA! Better slow down. Knowing this was my first run and wanting to make it for another 1/4 mile, I slowed way down and settled into a nice 11-minute pace. Faster than walking but not setting any records.
The first 1/2 mile went by, 3/4 mile and finally to the 1-mile mark. I designed my route such that the 1-mile mark was at the end of the path, and I could stop running and walk home via the sidewalk for the next 1/2 mile. I felt good though, so the twins and I made a u-turn and headed back into the park. “I can do two miles”, I thought in my head and just kept running at my 11-minute pace.
I crossed the 2-mile mark and still felt ok. “How about a 5k? 3.1 Miles, you got this.” I kept moving. Luckily, the park where I run, is a giant circle with lots of criss-cross paths, so you can keep running and not get too far from home. At the 2.5-mile mark, I started to feel it. The lungs felt great, probably due to the prednisone, but the legs were not ready for a full 5K yet. I powered on. I kept looking down at my watch, 2.8… 2.9….. “come on, you got this…” And finally, 3.1 Miles! I made it. In just under 34 minutes, I had knocked out my first 5K since 2009, and I was hooked.
And I'm hooked
After the 5k to start things off, I officially had the running bug — time to set some goals and establish a plan. For me, a bucket list item has always been running a marathon. There is something about the physical challenge, pushing your body to the max that intrigues me: 26.2 miles, 4 hours of running, with only yourself and your thoughts to push you through. And lucky for me, one of the best first-time marathons is the Chicago Marathon. So the primary goal is set, run the Chicago Marathon. But before I get there, I need some goals along the way. So here are my three official running goals.
My Running Goals
- Become a regular runner by the end of 2019 – Run 20+ miles per week for 4 consecutive weeks
- Run and finish in a half marathon in the spring of 2020
- Run and finish the 2020 Chicago Marathon in under 4 hours
Marathon training is about 20 weeks of solid steady running, most days over 6 miles and some days over 18 miles with weekly totals over 40 miles per week. You can’t just go from no running to marathon training without a couple of stops in between. The first step is to become a “Regular Runner”. Most people define this by the number of miles you run a week. Somewhere around 20 miles means you are committed to the sport and are running 4 to 5 times a week, at least 3 miles per run.
So goal #1: Become a regular runner. I am going to measure based on my miles per week. Once I have logged 4 consecutive weeks of 20+ miles, I’ll consider myself a regular runner. I am also setting a date of 12/31/19 to get this done by.
Below is my Running Log. It is a live table, which I’ll update every day with my results. My first week (8/6), I logged 13.1 miles versus my plan of 12. I hope by publishing my plan and updating it daily, I will feel a sense of accountability to keep it up and stick to the program.
You can find my Running Log under Health on the top menu.
The Daily Running Log
Run a Half Marathon
Another step along the way to running 26.2 miles is being able to run 13.1 or a half marathon. Half marathons also come with their training schedules, usually around 12 weeks. Running the half marathon in the spring will help me get accustomed to a running program and feel what it’s like to run a massive race. I plan to run in a couple of 5k’s along the way, but the Chicago Spring Half Marathon is the real deal with 8,000+ people running the race.
Run the Chicago Marathon in under 4 Hours
For all of the reasons I stated above, this is the ultimate goal for me. But just finishing a marathon doesn’t quite seem like enough. I want to finish the marathon in under 4 hours. This time means a pace of 9:09/mile or better. Certainly faster than the 10+ minute miles I’m running now.
So what's the plan?
So how the heck am I going to become a regular runner by New Years, run a half marathon by May and sub-4-hour marathon by October 2020? If anyone knows me, they know I like to plan, a lot, especially with numbers. There are 63 weeks between creating this plan and the 2020 Chicago Marathon. This gives me about 20 weeks to become a regular runner, 20 weeks to train for the half marathon and 20 weeks to train for the full marathon.
Day by Day, I have laid out the plan, with Sundays designated as my “long-run” day. I have also set my alarm slightly earlier in an attempt to run before everyone’s up. Below is a chart of my plan. The orange line being the total miles for the week and the blue line is my long run for the week.
Check out the Running Log page under Health, and be sure to pester me if you don’t see updates.
3 Replies to “Get Healthy: The Running Update”
Way to go Alex, while I am not a runner, I admire your dedication and smart planning. Wishing you all the best on this endeavor. I will keep following your progress😊
Thanks so much!
ALex, you inspire me😍. Maybe at 63 I’ll start running. I am really interested in the 11 min. Pace. Love you guys