In my last post, I shared how I decided to train to run a 5 minute mile, despite not running for 20 years. I’m writing this post at the end of my first week of training and I thought I’d share some of what I have learned.
My plan this week was to continue to do my conditioning workouts that consist of a mix of workouts from P90X and from Insanity-Asylum, and throw three 30 minute runs in.
The first thing that hit me is that running for 30 minutes seems LONG, if you have not done so in a long time. I could see why many would get discouraged quickly and quit. To deal with this, I decided to focus on teaching my body to run again. I paid no attention to how slowly I ran, but tried very hard to hold good running form and stay relaxed.
The more I pondered this, the more I realized that this is the case whenever you start something new. There is always a period of awkwardness where it feels so foreign. In my writing I often refer to the importance of the joy of movement and how it is key to staying active. While the joy I experience from running got me excited about running again, once started, joy of movement alone would not sustain me.
Delving deeper into my thoughts, I discovered that what kept me going this week was the desire to experience the joy of accomplishment, as well as the joy of better fitness. This brings me back to the importance of goals. It is that 5 minute mile goal that got me through my first week. I know that after a few weeks, I will begin to flow in my running and I will have solidified a habit of running that will be hard to break. In the meantime, it is resolve and desire to achieve my goal that will bridge the gap.
Here are some tips to think about if you are starting a new activity:
1) Choose an activity you enjoy by its very nature. This is key to attaining the energy you need to get started.
2) Set a goal. Set one that is sexy. One that makes you grin or giggle when you think about the day you achieve it. This will get you through the awkward period that I experienced this week.
3) Make a 30 or 60 day plan that is easily achievable. Mine is to run 30 minutes 3-5 times per week for 60 days. I’m very confident that after doing this, my body will have learned how to be a runner again. Check this video out if you need help finding time to execute your plan.
4) Enlist the support of others. I have tapped into friends, people at work, the local running club, and people on-line to help me. I will look to them to be running partners, provide events to run, and encourage me as I chug toward my goal.
You can follow me on twitter at @5minutemileguy where I will share my daily thoughts.