0 – 5K

At work some weeks ago, our department’s “health committee” (the corporation sponsors a variety of programs/activities aimed at getting employees to adopt healthier habits, with a committee in each location coordinating activities they choose) started advertising something about “0-5K.” I had no idea what it might mean.

It turned out to be training for a 5K race in August. I had heard of 10K races before (and ran one back when I was in my mid-20’s), but not 5K. It is open to both runners and walkers, and I could easily walk 5K. Doing something like that with other health-minded co-workers sounded interesting. I signed up.

I stopped running not long after that one 10K race. I kept having problems with shin splints, I had moved to another town where I no longer had companions to run with every morning, and I worried that perhaps the man who broke into my apartment and raped me one night had noticed me because I had been running (alone) in the morning.

So I planned to participate in the August race as a walker. But as I was signing up, I noticed that an older co-worker had signed up as a runner. She listed her current speed as Jogging (a mile in 12 minutes). I hadn’t been doing any jogging, but the elliptical machine I exercise on at the Y tells me the “distance” I have gone, and my speed approached 5 mph (i.e. a mile in 12 minutes). I signed up as a runner.

I might have never heard of 0-5K until recently, but apparently there are a whole bunch of training plans to get couch potatoes up and running. They stress the need to start slowly, as many injuries are a result of pushing too far too fast. I have no desire to get shin splints again, so I’m trying to follow their principles, if not the exact details (which require measuring how much you walk vs jog in either time or distance).

I’ve reduced my time on the elliptical machine at the Y (and upped my speed on it just slightly to make it an even 12 minute mile), and started jogging as well. They have an indoor track and several treadmills, but a co-worker who runs a lot tells me it’s better to use the outdoor trail.

Usually I alternate jogging and walking. The trail at the Y (unlike one at a park half a mile from our house) has no fraction-of-a-mile increments marked on the pavement, and it’s difficult to check time on a cell phone while running, so I usually don’t know how much I’ve jogged and how much I’ve walked.

But Thursday I borrowed my son’s watch (which is somewhat easier to read while running but still hard to make out the seconds), and found that I could pretty do three minutes jogging for each minute walking. Yesterday, just to see how long it would take me, I jogged the 1K trail (usually I take the 3/4 mile trail). It took me 7 minutes 20 seconds, which I was thrilled to discover equates to just a little over 5 mph.

My co-worker who runs tells me I should be doing at least 2 miles each time I work out. Well, I’ll work at getting there. So far though, no hints of shin splints. And I hope to keep it that way as I increase both my speed and distance.


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