One year of running

A year has passed since I took up running. I discussed my reasons back in February. I started with a typical “Couch to 5k” plan last November. The only thing it asked of me on that first day last winter was to run 60 seconds at a stretch, then give my self another 90 seconds to recover by walking. Easy! Except that it wasn’t.

As simple as that sounds it wore me out. I remember being exhausted, out of breath, and coughing on the second day. I was on the trail for half an hour but only spent 8 minutes running. And it was hard.

But I stuck with it. Progress was rapid, almost amazingly so. Three months later I finished my first 5k run. Six weeks after that I finished a 5k at a 10 minute mile pace. In July I ran the 10k race at Midnight Madness in Ames. Progressing from 5k to 10k was nearly as difficult as getting from 0 to 5k was.

But after completing that 10k I worried about stopping. I know others who did their planned 5k or 10k runs, called it good, and stopped. I didn’t want to join that club; I’m in this for my health and fitness for the long term.

But without a firm goal I tend to coast. After the 10k I spent a couple months running but I didn’t feel I was improving. So here is my next challenge: I am training for a half marathon in the spring. I started this training in early October, and plan to race in March. The training started light and slow, mostly working on endurance, but now I’m starting some speed work with interval training. I’m taking a few days off because I hurt something in my foot, but I plan to be back on the trail soon. I have a long time to get ready for the race, but I’m still nervous and I think it will still be difficult.

That’s my progress so far. In one year I went from being exhausted nearly to the point of falling over after a short run to training for a half-marathon. I went from 25 miles a month of total distance to a high of over 90 miles in August. Since then I’ve pulled back on the total distance, with shorter weekday runs and longer Sunday runs, but as I get closer to the race in March that distance should go up. All told I have traveled over 500 miles on the trails in one year I have been running. While each run doesn’t seem like a lot they add up to a huge achievement.

— Steve

Posted on 02 December 2013