There was a time when I enjoyed running. Before I moved to North Carolina, I lived in an area in Colorado that had some beautiful running lanes throughout the local park. When we moved here, I stopped. Then, after my third child, I took up running again. Pregnant with my fourth child, I stopped.
In each case, running was a way to get exercise and lose weight. It works. To me, there are few things more rigorous than running. However, I have rarely found running to be much fun. Treadmills can be worse, not much to do while running on a treadmill.I had pretty much sworn off running once I hit 40 thinking those days were behind me. My idea of fun physical fitness these days is taekwondo. Martial arts was always intriguing. When my boys started, I started with them. What a fun way to get exercise! However, taekwondo isn’t very cardio intensive. I was OK with that until the rules for getting a black belt were explained to me. One must be able to run three miles in thirty minutes. Oh dear…
Nothing could be done but to start running, again. This time, though, there is more motivation than just weight loss. Taekwondo is a passion of ours, and one that I want to see through to black belt and beyond. Since the black belt is about a year off – there is time to get into shape!
First things first – I’m a linear kind of person. I need a plan. Couch to 5K has a plan for getting a person from the couch to running a 5K in nine weeks. I don’t plan to do it in nine weeks as I’m not doing it three days a week. Instead, I’m slowly using the plan and working up to three miles while running one day a week and doing TKD five times a week. For example, last week I would run for 3 mins, walk for 1.5 mins, run for 1/2 a mile, walk for 2 mins then repeat. The key for me is not taking on too much too fast or I’ll burn out. Going slow and feeling a sense of accomplishment gives me a big boost. I usually run at the Y while the boys are in their homeschool groups. Indoors on bad weather, outdoors in sunshine – perfect!
The benefits were almost immediate. I said TKD isn’t very cardio intensive; however, there are times when endurance is key. My ability to meet the exertion challenges of TKD improved right away and continue to get better. Hurray!
I am going to run a 5K come spring. In actuality, I hope to begin making a habit out of running 5K’s. Not only will that best prepare me for that aspect of the black belt challenge, but having races to run gives me short term motivation to stay in shape and get better. I’ll never be a tri-athlete like my friend who is in her 50’s (she’s amazing!), but there will be a sense of accomplishment and fun.
So… How to begin? First – good shoes! I ended up getting turf toe on both my big toes several years back. Since then, shoes must be loose with plenty of room for my toes to be comfortable. My nails have a habit of falling off when they’re not. I know – TMI! Anyway, that and the fact that I have flippers for feet – read size 10 to 11 in women’s – means I need good shoes. You can take a look at my recent shoe buying journey here. I realized I needed a really good pair of shoes if I’m going to stick with this! I was even talked into adding inserts to help minimize the impact. I’m excited to see the difference these make after a few weeks.In addition, boredom must be combated. To that end, the hubby gave me his MP3 player. Some good, pounding music makes it easier to run. I need to add new tunes to the repertoire, though.
Finally, a good stopwatch to make sure I’m fully completing my Couch to 5K goal for that week. Sometimes the stopwatch is nice because I get a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, it’s draining when I realize I have quite a ways to go and I’m already exhausted.It’s exciting to be 40 and taking on these challenges. There’s nothing better than being in shape. If I could get my sweet tooth under control, these finely toned muscles would look amazing. Right now, I’m a little pudgy. But, hey, brownie or bikini? I’m over 40 – give me a brownie! lol
So, thus begins my running journey.
What do you do to stay in shape? Do you run? How do you stay motivated? What are your tricks or tips for improving your endurance and timing?
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