Couch to 5K Week 1 Completed

Yesterday evening I completed the third run in the Couch to 5k Program! This means I have completed the first week of the program. I had a bit of a set back when I attempted my third run on Tuesday and was only able to get half way through the run before having massive side pains. I attempted it again yesterday and that run was really good. I am running with a podcast that tells me when to run and when to walk. This is very helpful, so I don’t need to keep monitoring my watch. After the run was done I still had some distance before getting back to my front door so I began week two last night as well. I ended up doing a 5k in 40 minutes with my combined running and walking intervals. Having victory over week 1 feels really good. And having done a couple of intervals of week 2 I am excited to be beginning the next week.

Here is the basic C25k program:

Week 1 – You follow this plan three times the first week with a day of rest between each run.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Alternating Intervals
60 seconds of running
90 seconds of brisk walking
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 30 Minutes


Week 2 – You follow this plan three times the second week with a day of rest between each run.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Alternating Intervals
90 seconds of running
120 seconds of brisk walking
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 30 Minutes


Week 3 – You follow this plan three times the third week with a day of rest between each run.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Repeat this Twice
90 seconds of running
90 seconds of brisk walking
3 Minutes of Jogging
3 Minutes of brisk walking
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 28 Minutes


Week 4 – You follow this plan three times the fourth week with a day of rest between each run.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
3 Minutes of Jogging
90 seconds of brisk walking
5 Minutes of Jogging
150 seconds of brisk walking
3 Minutes of Jogging
90 seconds of brisk walking
5 Minutes of jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 31.5 Minutes


Week 5 – Day 1 During Week 5 each day is a little different. Each day is followed by one day of rest.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
5 Minutes of Jogging
3 Minutes of brisk walking
5 Minutes of Jogging
3 Minutes of brisk walking
5 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 31 Minutes


Week 5 – Day 2 During Week 5 each day is a little different. Each day is followed by one day of rest.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
8 Minutes of Jogging
5 Minutes of brisk walking
8 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 31 Minutes


Week 5 – Day 3 During Week 5 each day is a little different. Each day is followed by one day of rest.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
20 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 30 Minutes


Week 6 – Day 1 During Week 6 each day is a little different. Each day is followed by one day of rest.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
5 Minutes of Jogging
3 Minutes of brisk walking
8 Minutes of Jogging
3 minutes of brisk walking
5 Minutes of jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 29 Minutes


Week 6 – Day 2 During Week 6 each day is a little different. Each day is followed by one day of rest.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
10 Minutes of Jogging
3 Minutes of brisk walking
10 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 33 Minutes


Week 6 – Day 3 During Week 6 each day is a little different. Each day is followed by one day of rest.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
25 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 35 Minutes


Week 7 You follow this plan three times the seventh week with a day of rest between each run.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
25 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 35 Minutes


Week 8 You follow this plan three times the eighth week with a day of rest between each run.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
28 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 38 Minutes


Week 9 During this week you will be running a 5k each day that you run with one day of rest between runs.
Warm Up
5 minute brisk warm up walk
Then do this
30 Minutes of Jogging
Cool Down
5 minute cool down walk
Total Time: 40 Minutes

This Couch to 5K Program was created by Cool Running and can be found at their website.

Health & Fitness Communities

Something I have been involved in that has helped educate me about various health & fitness issues, as well as provide motivation, have been online communities of like minded people. I would like to learn about more of these communities so that I can share a list of them at some point in the near future.

Here are three communities that I am aware of:

A small but healthy and growing group of people are at Traineo.com , The Discussion Forums is where you can interact with people. You can also track your progress on this site as well.

Another community that I just learned about is Spark People , and this community appears to be HUGE. They have a ton of active members, in regions all over the world. You can also get lots of articles and information on Spark People to help you as you learn about what it means to have a healthy and active lifestyle. I just signed up over there, so I don’t know a lot about the site, other than my initial impression is that it is a great site. You can also track your health in more detail at Spark People than you can at Traineo.com.

The site that I like the most for tracking my progress is Gyminee.com, but I must admit that the community aspect of this site is very weak. I anticipate that this will improve in time. If you want to share your progress with others Gyminee is great, you can even get widgets so you can publish your progress just about anywhere on the web. (Traineo has this as well, but they are not as advanced as Gyminee’s )

The main reason for me posting this is to find out what Health & Fitness communities others might be using. So, if you know of a Health or Fitness community on the web feel free to post a comment with a link to the site. (your comment may not appear instantly as I will need to approve it to make sure the link you provide is appropriate.)

Running is hard stuff

Running is hard stuff

Running FeetI have been doing an hour to an hour and a half of cardio fairly consistently (meaning almost daily) the last couple of months. I have mainly been doing an hour on the Elliptical and 30 minutes on a treadmill at a steep incline at 3 mph. Since deciding to run a Half-Marathon in Naples in just under a year, I knew that I needed to begin actually running. Two days ago I jogged a 5k on the treadmill, well I mostly walked it, and it was excruciating. Running is a lot harder than the elliptical or walking up a hill. I honestly was not expecting it to be nearly as difficult as it was. So, I have a lot of work to do. I need to build up endurance and get my body used to actually running again. Which is something I haven’t done since I was 18 years old. (I had a newspaper route from 12-18 where I ran my route of over 80 houses every morning with newspapers on my back.) The good news is that my shins did not hurt, nor did my knees. That had been the main reason that I haven’t been jogging on the treadmill already. I know I need to take it slow and build up so I don’t hurt myself too. I have already been in the hospital in the past month and I don’t want to go back there again for any reason. 🙂

Tonight I head back to to the Gym to continue my journey to 13.1 miles. I know I can get there, and I love having a real challenge to face. A real goal to accomplish. At this point in my fitness journey I am not concerned about the 25-30 lbs that still need to come off, because I know that working to accomplish 13.1 miles will shed the weight that I still have on me.

HDL up 33%

HDL up 33%

Last October I was given some ‘not so good’ lab results from my Doctor. I wasn’t surprised, but it was what I needed to motivate myself to actually do something about it. So, I then began eating better and working out almost daily. I have lost weight, but I hadn’t had a chance to see if any of this was making a real impact on my lab values until yesterday afternoon. Yesterday was my scheduled visit to check on my progress. I was a bit nervous. I kept thinking ‘What if my numbers don’t change much, even with all the hard work I have done these past 5 months.” I know my Dr. had mentioned this as a possibility, and if it was I would need to take medication. And that is something I want to avoid at all costs.

When the Dr. came in he had a huge grin on his face and he said that my numbers are very good. ( I have never seen a Dr. smile like that before, it was somewhat awkward.) He praised me on the progress I have made and then handed me a sheet with my lab results.

Triglycerides are now at 186, down from 371.
Total Cholesterol is down to 177 from 210
HDL Cholesterol increased to 37 from 25
LDL Cholesterol decreased from 135 to 103

Last October my Dr. focused on my high Triglyceride number. This time he focused on my 33% increase of HDL Cholesterol. This is the good cholesterol. He said that typically there is not much you can do about your HDL, and that is why he didn’t focus a lot on that during my October visit. He said that exercise can usually increase HDL by about 6% or so for the typical adult. Diet typically has a minimal impact on HDL. So he was very happy to see a 33% increase! He said that my increase of HDL and lower LDL cholesterol dramatically decreases the possibilities of me becoming diabetic or having heart disease anytime soon! This is what I wanted to hear!

I still have some work to do though. He wants me to see if I can get my HDL into the 40’s in 6 months and my triglycerides below 150. I am so excited to see real results from exercising and eating better. So I am motivated to keep pushing forward and drop those numbers! I am proof that adding in exercise and adjusting your diet can have a dramatic impact on your health! I never thought I could do what I am doing right now.

If you need a self esteem boost, I recommend having some lab work done then working out for 5 months and seeing the change. I haven’t felt this good about myself in years!

HDL Progress

13.1

13.1

Today I decided I need to have some external fitness goals. Simply burning more calories at the Gym or lifting more weight is not keeping me very motivated. Something I have found that consistently motivates me is competition. The past couple of months I have kept myself motivated by placing myself in competition with the other members of the Gym by striving to be in the Top 10 list each month. As nice as this is, it really is me in competition with people who may not care whatsoever about the Top 10 list. This is really fictitious competition. So the motivation has begun to wear off. I need non-fictitious competition. I need something bigger, something more real to focus on.

Half Marathon RunnersIt was then that I learned about a 13.1 mile run that happens each year in Naples, FL. A Half-Marathon. I am going to enter the January 2009 Half-Marathon and begin training now. I will also likely enter into a few other races during the year to experience what a race is like before going to the Half-Marathon. I still need to work those details out. But this is the level of competition that I think I need to keep pushing towards.

I have a few strategies to get me started. I am first going to begin the Couch-to-5k Plan. I am not in ‘couch potato’ shape at the moment. But I want to start slow and build up. Real running is significantly more difficult than treadmill running for me, and I have had bad shin splits in the past so I want to build up slowly. Once I am successful with the Couch-to-5k plan I will begin actual Half-Marathon training.

Another factor that will help is that my wife used to run track, and she is excited about this idea. She is a runner and I have always had some serious disdain to running, so we really have never run. But all that is about to change. She may even enter into the Half-Marathon with me.

If anyone knows me, the idea that I would ever enter into a foot race would seem ridiculous. And since I like to behave ridiculously, maybe this is actually in character for me after all. 🙂