Get a Plan!

How did the goal setting go?  I hope you’ve had some time to think about what you want to achieve with running, so now it’s time to get a plan.  As I stated in the last post, a quick internet search will turn up a multitude of training plans.  There are plans for runners, walkers, and those who want to do both, plans for beginners, intermediate, and advanced runners.  There are free plans and plans you can buy, and there are apps you can put on your smart phone to keep up with your training.

My recommendation would be to do a search and find a plan that looks comfortable in the beginning, but challenging toward the end.  I typed in “5K training schedule” in my internet search engine, and found a plethora of information.  Most of the plans I’ve seen in the past typically run for eight weeks with a 5K race at the end.  There are also some programs that will take longer, but they will build up your running from walking only, then walking/running together, and running.  I still search and work different plans depending on my race distance and goal race. 

So get busy and find a training plan that fits your goal!

Set a Goal!

I think goal setting is something we like to think we do, but when it comes down to it, we fall short.  In the past, I’ve made statements like “One day, I’ll ______.” Or “I want to go ________ someday.”  When I started setting goals with deadlines and specified measures to meet them, my life changed.

Goal setting is an important part of making positive change in all areas of your life.  Now I continually set specific goals.  When I started running, I had the idea to run a 5K.  At the time, I didn’t even know how far that was, but I knew there were 5K races out there.  One day around town, I saw a flyer for a local 5K race.  Boom!  I had my deadline.  It was still several months away, but I needed to lock myself in.  I registered for the race as soon as possible so I wouldn’t back out.  If you read my blog posts for any length of time, you’ll find I’m too frugal to pay for something and not follow through on it.  My registration confirmation was my motivation to start a plan.

So how do you decide what goal you want to reach with running?   If you look back to the “why” post, I think this will help.  I needed a way to control my weight, but just exercising was not enough for me.  I wanted to accomplish something I’d never done before.  The thought of running 3.1 miles (the distance of a 5K) was challenging and I wanted to be able to say “I did it.”  My next step was to make my goal a reality.  A quick internet search turned up information on training plans and general information.  I told other people my goal, so they could hold me accountable. 

I’ll talk more about training in the next post, but for now I’d like to encourage you to take a few minutes and think up some running goals for yourself.  It could be running a certain distance, a certain time, number of days, or being able to run/walk your way through an event.  It could be a charity run, a fun run with your kids, or just a reason to get out of bed on Saturday mornings.  Make it challenging, but not out of reach.  Have some fun with this, and remember that you can do it!


When do I run?

This is probably the answer most people struggle to find.  Everyone is so busy already, so how do you find the time to run?

A point that has hit home for me in the last few months is this:  you’ll find time to do what’s important to you.  What is your motivation?  Is it important enough to get you out of bed earlier on a Saturday morning?  Are you willing to give up one television program to fit in a run?  Can your family fix their own breakfast (or wait until you get back in my case) so you can put in some miles?

These are questions I had to answer myself when I began running.  I worked a full-time job Monday through Friday, and had four children and a husband who were accustomed to a good, hot breakfast on Saturday mornings.  It took a while to adjust to the routine shift, but now my children look at me funny if I’m ever still in bed when they get up.  “Mom, are you feeling all right?”

I’ll tell you what worked for me, but I’ll also tell you that everyone is going to have different needs and schedules to fit running into.  If it’s important to you, then you’ll make it work.

I don’t run every day, but I average about four days a week.   When I was working full-time, I was off work by 3:00 every day, then I would pick up my two middle school aged children and head for my favorite park.  I would change into my running clothes in the park’s restroom, and let my kids know when to meet me back at the car.  They would hang out at the playground, read on a bench, or sometimes even run while they were waiting on me.  I would get my run in, pick up the two youngest from child care, and head home.  In the summer, when it was too hot to run in the afternoon, I had to head back out in the evening.  Now that I no longer work a full-time job, I run in the morning after I drop the kids off at school.    

Saturday mornings, I will tiptoe out while everyone is still asleep and that is my long run day.  By the way, they’ve learned to find their own breakfast, and it’s okay to eat cereal on a Saturday morning.  If I get back home early enough, I’ll cook up some pancakes and eggs.  That helps me refuel my body, too.  Sundays are usually a short, easy run day for me.  Depending on the time of year,  I’ll either squeeze in a run before church or go out in the afternoon.

If you have a treadmill at home you probably don’t have to go through these logistical problems, but I hope I’ve hit the point that you can find a time to run.  Schedule it in your day. 

The more you do it, the more it becomes second nature. 

Next up:  setting a goal