Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My "Fatty to 5K" Game Plan

Several people have asked me what my game plan for what I refer to as my “fatty to 5K quest”. I began training in early September 2009, roughly six months prior to the Disney Royal Family 5K on March 6, 2010. Rather than wade through the multitude of various training plans that one can find on-line, I chose to just adopt the plan that worked for my sister Annie and brother-in-law Jeremy. They are no more built like runners than I am, and by my starting point, they had already been working out for six months and had been on a run as long as six miles (I think they’re up to 10 miles as of now.)

Following is the email Jeremy forwarded me with the suggested intervals and some other pointers. I’m not sure where he got the information.

The plan laid out in the following email is to prepare a person for a 5K in just eight weeks. Since I had six months, I’ve altered the schedule somewhat. Specifically, I’ll stick to what is outlined as one week’s intervals for more than a week, maybe even two. When I’m still feeling very challenged by the indicated intervals, I don’t feel like I should move on.

Another example of my altering of the plan was that I threw in a few days of walk 2.5 minutes/jog 2.5 (2.5w/2.5j) between 3w/2j and 2w/3j…I just thought I needed some gradation between the 3/2 and the 2/3. (I hope you don’t mind my interval abbreviations!)

Since I do have plenty of time before my 5K, I’m in my sixth week of training, and I’m just as far as doing 2w/3j, and I’m thinking about testing the waters with some 2/4 before I move on to 2/5. Now that I’m comfortable with the whole interval training thing, I’ll probably continue to veer from the schedule outlined below and come up with my own way of increasing my jogging and decreasing my walking.

I’ll stop rambling now. Here’s the info that got me started:

Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 07:56:26 -0500
Subject: Fwd: 5k prep
From: jeremy@currens.com
To: joannieg@hotmail.com

Joan, here is the info Anne and I used to start running. I can't
stress the importance enough for good shoes. I had a hard time
getting started because my shins, feet and knees hurt. I eventually
worked through it, but noticed that my lower legs were very fatigued
by the time I was done...i got new shoes a little over a week ago..and
everything has been perfect since. Make sure you have a decent pair of
shoes now while you are run/walking, but once you get to more running
just splurge and go to a running store, new balance store, or fleet
feet.....you will feel much better.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jeremy Currens
Date: Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 12:18 PM
Subject: 5k prep
To: Jeremy Currens

Hey all! A few years ago I started a "learn to run" program at my
local running store. About 1/2 way through I got shingles (nasty!) and
I had to quit.

Now I want to start again. I am starting on Sunday, March 11 and would
love it if anyone wanted to do this with me :)

It's an 8 week course. You should do it at least 3x a week so you're
ready for the next week, & don't forget to stretch before & after. (I
actually really like 4x a week & it really prepares me for the next
week's numbers)

Take your car & figure out a 3.1 mile or 5 km route & then run/walk
for the minutes it says below until you reach 3.1 miles or 5 km.

Week 1 - Walk 3 mins, Run 1 min
Week 2 - Walk 3 mins, Run 2 mins
Week 3 - Walk 2 mins, Run 3 mins
Week 4 - Walk 2 mins, Run 5 mins
Week 5 - Walk 2 mins, Run 7 mins
Week 6 - Walk 2 mins, Run10 mins
Week 7 - Walk 1 min, Run 14 mins
Week 8 - Walk 30 seconds, Run 18 mins

It also says for week 8, if you find that you don't HAVE to stop
running after the 18 minutes, then by all means, carry on without the
walking break.


Excellent Running Tips - Compiled by inci_vinci (from
suggestions/experiences contained in this thread) on page 46, post #
913. All new runners would benefit greatly by reading these prior to
beginning. Good luck all!!!!!!!!!

Oh and while you're at it, drop over to the Mission: Run Around the
World thread & add your miles there!!!!

Tips on the 'Run' for beginners. It's a compilation of my own
experience and suggestions received from various members on this
thread. The idea is to cater to the initial curiosity of new members
and save them reading 900+ posts to get on board for running.

1. Running shoes are a MUST. Cross training shoes ARE NOT running
shoes. If possible, find out a running store near you and check if
they do electromechanical analysis (right word? ) of your running.
Everyone is unique and the brand of running shoes that suits someone
else may not suit you. It's best to try them first and then buy them.
If there is no such store around you, fine, still try the shoes
properly before buying. Your toes will be subjected to a grinding
motion at high speeds. If your feet are wide at toes, get wide shoes
(i use size 10-2W shoes and not 10).

1a. The total distance you need to run is 5K = 5 Kilometers = 3.1
miles in the walk+run cycles mentioned above. If you want to run under
the skiies and want to plan a 3.1 mile route around your house, then
visit www.mapmyrun.com or start out in your car to plan a 3.1 mile
route yourself.

2. Proper form: Do a google on 'running form' and read it yourself.
Every exercise including 'serious running' requires a proper form to
keep injuries, overstressing, wrong stimuli away and it gives faster
and better results. To sum it up, run with a slight bent to use
gravity, keep the head upright (dont look at the ground/grass/belt of
treadmill but the horizon), arms bent in elbows at right angles and
the arms shouldn't cross each other in front of the body while
swinging, take short strides and try to hit the floor at midfoot (or
balls as they say). Never hit on toes and heels. Both are detrimental.

By experience i would say if you have long legs and well arched feet,
it's tough to take short strides at small speed cos you might land on
your toes. I would normally reduce my bent and run a little upright at
shorter speeds. Someone else can add for 'short legs and flat feet'.
You will find the arm-swing is a great propeller but dont over focus
on armswing. Distance runners dont need to fly off the road like
sprinters. It definitely helps while running uphill where u need to
chug in and swing ur arms as if climbing a rope. This is where having
strong arms helps (which i lack).

Some suggest to run upright and with very little arm swing to conserve
engery. You can decide which one works best for you.

2a. How to tie your shoe lace : Unlace the shoe first. Start lacing
from the toes and as you move up and reach the tongue stop. wrap
either side of laces around each other 3 times through the tongue. and
then lace thru the remaining holes upwards. Pozesara's profile has a
picture to understand it better.

3. Beginners normally go for too much too soon. When you start running
week 1 you may tempt to run too fast for your body to sustain
initially. Running is way too aggressive on your body than walking and
even brisk walking for that matter. Your body isn't toned initially to
absorb the impact of running. ALWAYS concentrate on getting the
distance first and then the speed. 'Slow and steady' is the key.
Remember you have to go 3.1 miles (that is 5 Kilometers). If you start
out too fast you will burn out as fast. Conserve yourself !!

4. Start out this program with walk + jog instead of walk + run (and
never walk + sprint !!) cycles. As you progress, your muscles start
toning, you'd naturally build speed (and confidence).

5. Your speed will depend on your prior fitness, whether you've long
legs, flat foot, arm swing etc. Do not race with or try to match

6. A good jogging speed is when you are able to talk with a fellow
jogger (real or fictitious) running alongside you. Heavy breathing is
a certain sign of fast running and increased heart rate. Avoid getting
that far, reduce speed.

6a. Breathing technique : The professionally recommended way to breath
while running is in 3/2 or 2/1 ratios. Inhale 3 steps/exhale 2 and if
you are really working inhale 2 steps/exhale 1. This is because you
will exhale on a different foot each time and less likely to cause
injury. - as found by pozesara in both Runner's World magazine and in
"The Complete Book of Running" by Claire Kowalchik.

7. It's good to have a heart rate monitor. It will alarm you if you
run into 'danger zone'. If at gym, the HRM's on the treadmill can
help, but they are not always reliable. By experience i feel it works
better at higher speeds than lower, which in a way is good cause that
is when you run into zone. But they might require you to hold the
handles for a while, which you may not want at high speed and
certainly NOT recommended at high speeds.

8. Do not run everyday. It's good to have a rest day after every run
day. That makes it 3 days a week. You can run 4 days a week if
comfortable but never more than 5 days a week.

9. Do not worry about the next week's challenge while doing this week.
You may try to do too much. If you follow this pgm, your body will be
prepared to take each week when it comes.

10. Avoid eating within an hour before run. Also if you have to drink
water, drink in small quantity. A stitch in lower rib cage is a sign
of food/excessive water before the run (if not anything else).

11. You might lose lot of fluid while running. Don't replenish it with
a sinlge shot of 12 oz water bottle while running. Drink small sips
and keep hydrating your body as u feel thirsty while running. If you
don't feel thirsty, then don't drink water on the go. Drink plenty of
water after the run.

This is strictly from the point of view of 5K run. Marathon runners
may drink more water as they drain more and they run 8 times more.

Some advice going for Gatorade or similar sports drinks. It all
depends on how much fluid (and even minerals/electrolytes) you lose
while running.

12. Don't miss stretches after the run. They are vital to ease the
impact of your run on your muscles and free the contracted muscles.
Make them a part of the running routine. And avoid stretching before
run. If you feel need of stretching, do a warm up lap.Do stretches
only enough to loosen the muscles and never more (before the run).

In fact it's good to do 2-3 min warm up then actual run and then 5 min
cooldown followed by stretches.

13. You need carbs to replenish the lost calories. Protein shakes are
fine but carbs (like apple juice, glucose, banana milk shake) give you
instant energy. You have time to feed proteins later. Those who do
strength training need protein shakes in glycemic window, you are not
building muscles by running. You are ok with proteins but they don't
give instant chunks of energy. Carbs do.

You need calcium and potassium along with carbs. A milk shake with
banana gives both plus carbs.

14. Running is NOT strength training. It's endurance training. Running
won't bulk up your legs - calves or thighs or hips for that matter. It
will definitely tone the muscles. You are not in any 'bulking up'
danger if you are running.

15. You may want to add strength training to your running to build
muscles although it's not mandatory. This holds more significance if
you are lean already. Running is extensive cardio and you would burn
fat + stored glycogen (yes both) and have a chance of even burning
amino acids. Your body needs to know it has to preserve muscles.
Strength training would do that and this is where is the need to
supply proteins to rebuild the muscle tissues.

16. Always listen to your body. If you feel uncomfortable before/while
running, don't go ahead. A stitch in chest or through ankles, shin
splints, pain/swelling around the knees are a certain sign of you
getting overworked. Take it easy !! Be gentle to your body. If you
have injuries of any sort which can interfere with running, DO NOT

You might lose a day or a week, don't lose heart. You can always cover
the lost ground. Many of us on this thread could do a 5K well before
the 9th week. That's the beauty of this pgm. A week lost isn't going
to push you on back seat for long. But you risk too much if you push
your body beyond limits. It is *really* difficult to properly estimate
how far you can push, so when in doubt, DO NOT push for it.

17. Read point 16 again.

18. You can run !! Yes, most of us can. It's always good to check with
your physician before starting this (or any ) prgoram and if they give
you a clean bill, you are good to go. Don't worry @ people staring at
you or even laughing at you. Within 8 weeks they would be admiring you
(or even jealous of you!!). Only YOU can do it. Don't get intimidated
by the better looking/fit/healtheir people you spot while running.
Assume they just got wiser before you and you are already on the track
to glory. But as a rule, DO NOT try to compete with them !!

You can run early morning in a gym on treadmill or at home on a
treadmill, on a school track in the evening, in a park during lunch
hour or wherever else you find comfortable, if you get nervous in
company of healthy people/runners.

As you run, you'd come to realize that it's more mental than physical.
That's an obstable in the beginning, but a great advantage when you
start building up.

19. Running is FUN, yes, if you take it easy, do it right and dont
overdo it. It 'can' give you great results in terms of calorie loss,
fat loss. lowering blood sugar, cardiovascular strength and enormous
confidence. It is also a great stress buster. Enjoy !!

No comments:

Post a Comment