I’ve been working back up to 5k running distance over the last few weeks – since I tried it and found out just how miserably low my fitness had fallen over the last few months. I am
shocked horrified uncomfortable with just how long it has taken me to regain what I’ve always (at least for the last 10 years) considered to be a minimum level of fitness for myself (the ability to run a 5k at the drop of a hat).
When I last attempted my 3.3 mile route (hey, you can’t always get the distance perfect, especially when you’re dealing with real streets, not treadmills) it was a disaster – I was completely out of shape and out of breath, had to stop a lot to walk. That was about two weeks ago. Since then I’ve been regularly running a 2-mile and 2.5 mile route straight through without stopping, and also joining my husband on his Couch-to-5k program runs (we’re on week 2 now). Most days I either run on my own or do C25K with my sweetie. I’m surprised to find that running with him on the C25K program is actually more challenging for me than just getting on auto-pilot and running the whole way. I think it’s because he is a faster runner than I am with my little Corgi legs, and additionally I have to pour in some extra energy for the starting-up and slowing-down phases. We seem to be working well on meeting in the middle speed wise – I’m pushing myself to run faster during the running periods, which I think is good for me, I think it will help my overall fitness and also my running speed in general. In that sense it’s a bit like interval training.
Tonight I was on my own so I set myself the goal to see if I could run that same ~5K route the whole way without walking at all. I set out around 5:45pm and ran as the sun set, which I enjoyed as I could feel the air cooling along the way and I got to watch the horizon change to layers of grey-pink-blue as the sun set. And I made it all the way without stopping to walk. Even though it was a slow jog, I’m pleased with my run tonight and my return to minimal fitness levels. Obviously the minimum is just the beginning!
My doctor occasionally says things lately like, “Well, you know running is hard on your knees…at your age…” and I just can’t even imagine what I could replace it with. I wish she’d stop saying that.