10K Training and Almost a 5K Run

IMG_4493I did try to run a 5K race on Saturday but I came up short because the route wasn’t 5K. My Fitbit measured only 2.2 miles. It was a low-budget race. No bibs, no clocks, timing chips, etc. There was portion of the route you were supposed to run twice but very few understood that part. Oh well, I ran 2.2 miles and that’s the furthest I’ve gone since my bypass surgery and I got to run somewhere new. The route was hilly. My Fitbit showed 147 feet of elevation. I was hoping to average under a 12 minute per mile pace but with the terrain it ended up being a 13:22 pace.

Ok, that’s pretty much how the week ended so now let me tell you how it started. The week started with interval training. 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk. I’ve decided not to worry much about the split times. While I’m not running steep graded hills, they do have an impact on the times. Now I’m just focusing more on the level of effort. I finished with some weight training.

Tuesday was a benchmark run with the Nike Run Club app. After the run, I continued walking until I hit 5 miles.

Wednesday I started with a one mile warm-up before my intervals. The intervals were a repeat of Monday’s training. I had some things to take care of in the morning so I skipped by weight training. I took the day off on Thursday because I had a few appointments in the morning.

Friday started with a 1.5 mile run. My goal was to finish at an 11:48 per mile pace. I was close. I finished at a 11:49 per mile pace. Also, this makes the longest continuous run since before my bypass surgery. Next, interval training again but this time the intervals were: 2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday was the 5K run that wasn’t but after the run I went to the gym to do some weight training.

Sunday isn’t over yet but I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Either take the day off or go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine.

Training Recap

Monday, September 10:
1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 11:
15 minute benchmark run using the Nike Run + app.

Walk for 5 miles (counting run).

Wednesday, September 12:
One mile warm-up run at 11:21 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Thursday, September 13:
Rest day.

Friday, September 14:
1.5 mile warm-up run at a 11:49 per mile pace.

2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday, September 15:
5K Race

Weight training at the gym.

Sunday, September 16:
? I haven’t decided what to do. Maybe go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine or just call it a rest day. I’m leaning towards calling it a rest day. What do you think?

Week Two: 10K Training

IMG_4483Monday started with a .75 mile tempo run. The goal was to finish in 10:05 but I came up a little short. My finish time was 10:13. Still pretty good especially considering the last quarter of a mile was slightly uphill. After the tempo run it was intervals. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2. Then I finished the workout at the gym lifting lighter weight than last week but did 20 reps x 3 instead of 10 reps.

Tuesday was a nice 3.97 mile walk and then some bodyweight core strengthing exercises.

Wednesday started with a half mile warmup at about a 10:55 per mile pace then the interval set from Monday was repeated. My split times are becoming a little more consistent but I still need some work in that area. I had intended to go to the gym after my run but I couldn’t work it into my schedule.

Thursday I did my first speed work session. I’ve never liked speed work and I can honestly say that hasn’t changed. I did 4 x 400 meters. The goal was to average a 9:25 per mile pace. I did it with a 9:18 pace. My split times were very inconsistent. Each split got a little slower and the last 400 meters came in at over 10 minutes per mile pace. I was sucking wind on that last one! After this short but intense workout I headed to the gym for the weight training I missed yesterday.

Friday was intervals using the Fitness22 10K Runner app. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. While not perfect, my split times for were a even more consistent than on Wednesday. I’m starting to feel a little more like a runner now. Not quite there yet, but I’m making progress. Afterwards, I should have done some core strengthing but I blew it off.

Saturday was a rest day. It’s college football season so my focus on Saturday is watching football. The Dawgs of Georgia beat South Carolina 41-17 so it was a good day for me. Drank too much beer and ate too much food but hey, once in a while you gotta let loose a little.

Sunday was a Nike+ Run Club app benchmark run. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or its just the way the app works but once I’m done, I don’t have the split time to know how fast I ran during the 3 minute benchmark. Anyone out there have any advice? After the benchmark run I went to Anytime Fitness and rode a stationary bike for 40 minutes. I haven’t been on a bike in a while and my butt hurt a little once I finished. I may have to wear my cycling shorts the next time.

Training Recap

Monday, September 3:
Tempo run at 10:12 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2.

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 4:
Walk 3.97 miles and bodyweight core strength training.

Wednesday, September 5:
Half mile warmup at a 10:55 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2

Thursday, September 6:
Speed work: 4 x 400 meters. Averaged a 9:18 per mile pace but each 400 meters got slower and slower.

Weight training at the gym.

Friday, September 7:
1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. Running split times were: 9:56, 8:28, 10:02, 9:22, 8:51, 10:01. The splits times over ten minutes per mile pace had hills.

Saturday, September 8:
Rest day.

Sunday, September 9:
3 minute benchmark run and then 40 minutes on the stationary bike.

The First Week Back to Running

IMG_4421My first official week of training for a race since the first of the year. I had to scratch my training and running in the Indy Mini Marathon because of the heart issues but now I’m no longer on the mend and looking forward to running again.

I know it will be a slow start. Not quite, but almost like starting all over. I realize the importance of including strength training into my workout routines now so the time and effort is going to increase as well. That’s Ok. I’ve got the time now that I don’t have to go to a real job anymore!

By Wednesday I was so stinking sore! Sitting down or getting up really hurt. It could be from the running but I think it’s mostly from the weight training and the bodyweight core workouts. I haven’t done any core workouts in a long time and I’m going from one set of each weight machine to three sets. That third set is sometimes a struggle. For someone that has no butt, I sure can feel mine now!

On Thursday I ran my first full mile since March 18th of this year. It was supposed to be an easy 12 minute a mile pace but it ended up as a 11:42 pace and none of it was easy. But I did it! My first running milestone after triple bypass surgery so I’m very happy about that.

Friday was an easy four mile walk day.

On Saturday I woke up really early–3:30 in the morning. I tried going back to sleep but after over an hour of tossing and turning I went ahead and got up. Decided to surf the net for a while and then I realized it was the first day of registration for the Jingle Jam 10K on December 1st. So… I just signed up for my first race after bypass surgery!

Training was pretty much a repeat of Wednesday except I flip flopped the half mile recovery run and changed it to a half mile warmup run.

All in all I think it was a pretty good start.

Training Recap

Monday, August 27:
Three minute benchmark run using the Nike+ Run Club app.

1 minute run/1.5 minute walk x 6 using the Fitness22 10K Runner app.

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, August 28:
Walk 2.67 miles and bodyweight core strength training.

Wednesday, August 29:
1 Minute Run + 1.5 Minute Walk x 8

I got the split times today!

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The odd number splits are the runs, the even numbers the walks. The first split was slower I’m sure because of the soreness in my legs and it took some time to loosen up. Split 11 was slow because it was all uphill. Split 15 was mostly uphill. I have to say I’m very surprised about the split times. Much faster than I expected for sure.

Half Mile Recovery Run
I tried to keep the pace at about 11:45 per mile pace. It ended up being a 11:34 pace.

Strength training at the gym.

Thursday, August 30:
Ran 1 mile and bodyweight core strength training. Milestone: 1st mile running since before triple bypass. Pace for the mile was 11:42.

Bodyweight core strength training.

Friday, August 31:
Easy four mile walk.

Saturday, September 1:
Half Mile Warmup Run

1 Minute Run + 1.5 Minute Walk x 8

Split times were:

IMG_4477

Split 11 kicked my butt. Split 13 and 15 were both slightly uphill and after split 11 I never really fully recovered.

Sunday, September 2:
Rest day.

10K Training Starts Now!

Just 94 days ago I had my chest ripped apart and had three arteries added to bypass blockages to my heart using a vein in my right leg. Kinda gross when you think about it that way but that’s the real truth of coronary artery bypass surgery.

IMG_4419Today I probably did my last 5 mile walk for a while. Now its time to starting training for a 10K race in early December. During my walk today I mixed in a half mile run with an average pace of 11:34 per mile. The walk was a little over five miles so once I hit five miles I ran to the finish. I ran .29 miles at a 9:28 per mile pace. I think I’m ready to get serious about running now.

On Friday I joined the Anytime Fitness gym located in Riverwood Plantation in Evans, GA. The recovery from triple bypass made me realize I’ve got to pay attention to strength training and not just running. I’ve neglected my strength, especially my upper body for far too long. Using the weight machines at Cardiac Rehab have made a huge improvement in my recovery. Quite a bit of the aches and pains from surgery are gone now. I still have a few quirky pains and some nerve endings that are a bit touchy but I’ve come a long way in the past four weeks. So yes, the focus will be on more than just running.

I’m looking at my 10K training as if I’ve never ran in my life. For the first few weeks I’m going to use the 10K Runner app from Fitness22 and the Nike+ Run Club app. I’m going to try to merge the two programs together at least for a few weeks, maybe a few months. Once the mileage goes up I’ll have to decide which app to let go. I’ve used several of the fitness apps from Fitness22 and I really like them but, I think they are little overpriced.

I plan to visit the gym three times a week for strength training and on my own at home work on a series of exercises to strengthen my abs and core. My my non-running days I still plan to do a 2-3 mile walk on those days. I hope I’m not overdoing it here. I think I can manage it. Now that I’m retired I have more free time.

I’d say the first thing I need to start doing is to get busy and focused on working out just as soon as I wake up. I’m a morning person for sure. Since surgery I’ve been getting up leisurely, not worrying about the time too much. Drink coffee, eat, read some, surf the net, whatever. The problem is the next thing I know its going on 9 a.m. and I really haven’t done much. Today for example, it was 69 degrees out when I got up at 6 a.m. By the time I got out for my walk it was around 9:45 and the temperature was 75 degrees. For Georgia at this time of year that’s still pretty nice but by the time I finished it was 88 degrees. Honestly, there was no reason I couldn’t have had my five-mile walk out-of-the-way before 9 a.m. Gotta work on that one.

Ok Jingle Jam 10K, registration starts around Labor Day and I plan to be one of the first to sign up. I just hope I’m ready for you in December!

14,741,053 Steps Ago…

14,732,406 steps ago was June 21st, 2013. That’s the day I wore my Fitbit activity tracker for the first time. All those steps add up to a distance of over 8,295 miles or an average of 7.5 miles per day.

The three years prior to 2013 I was busy prepping a house to sell. Selling that house. Building a new house and then moving in and settling in to the new house. I gained weight, stopped exercising and by June of 2013 I was taking two blood pressure medications and weighed about 245 pounds. I knew something had to be done and putting on my Fitbit Flex was the start.

It began by just walking. On most days I walked at least five miles. Once I worked my way up to walking 60-90 minutes each session I started thinking if I can walk six or seven miles surely I can run one mile.

So that’s what I did, I went out on my usual walk but somewhere along the way I would start running and run for approximately one mile. I was very slow and yet I still felt like I was going to die. But I stuck with it. One mile became two miles then two miles became 5K. By December I could run 10K. Barely! But I could do it and I ran in my first 10K race in about twenty years. My finish time was around and hour and fifteen minutes but I finished and I felt like that was quite an accomplishment.

Since then I’ve ran in quite a few 10K races, a few 5K races and in April of this year I ran in a half marathon. Since June of 2013 I’ve lost about 30 pounds and no longer take any blood pressure meds. My resting heart rate is well below 60 beats per minute. I still would like to lose about twenty more pounds. Not sure if I’ll ever get there but I’m working on it. My running progress is slow and steady. I’m getting faster and running further. This too is a work in progress.

I’m about six weeks away from the 60th birthday and feel better then ever. Let me tell you something. If I can make this kind of progress so can you. It just takes a little discipline, dedication and a whole lot of determination. And patience! You have to be patient.

Take it one day at a time. Take it slow and continue to make steady progress. I see it all the time and on occasion I’ve been guilty of it myself. Trying to push your progress too quickly will only result in burnout or worse yet injury. The key for me is to go out with a duration of activity in mind. Let speed and distance take care of themselves. Somedays are better than others. My mile splits can vary more than two minute per mile from one day to the next. I just accept it. Three years and I’m injury free. Yes, I’ve had a few aches and pains but nothing serious. Nothing that stopped me from continuing on. For me, by just going out for a specific duration has taken a lot of pressure off. If my goal is a 45 minutes and I run at least 45 minutes then it’s a successful workout.

Who knows where I’ll be by this time next year but that’s part of the adventure. I know if I stay determined I will make progress. I’m not special. If I can do it–so can you.

Hump Day Goal Day Results

 

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28 out of 37 reached their daily goal and got their star. Not a bad week at all. Almost the best week ever. Still hoping for a week when everyone gets their star. I know several people had other things going on that kept them from getting to their goal. “Michael f” had a new baby born and “Neelie” was celebrating her birthday. I’m pretty confident they will both get their stars next week.

The lineup for the Hump Day Goal Day changes week-to-week. I do have a method to my madness in making the initial selections. After that, it just depends on how many and how fast everyone accepts their invitation. As one group fills I move anyone who didn’t accept to a different group. I do try to keep certain groups of people together though. The group in the upper right is almost all regulars that I keep together and this group gets all stars pretty frequently.

I’ve got a great group of friends on Fitbit. I try to keep them motivated and that works both ways. In fact, they are a much bigger motivator for me than I can be for any of them. I hope this post motivates you to start your own “Hump Day Goal Day” challenge next week. Not if, but when I can get all four groups full of stars I’ll post it here. Keep steppin’!

 

 

Hump Day Goal Day

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Every Wednesday for about the past sixteen months I start a Hump Day Goal Day challenge with my Fitbit app. This challenge has become pretty popular with my friends on Fitbit. In today’s challenge I have 37 people participating! For those that may not be familiar with the best fitness tracker app out there (my opinion of course), you can participate in five challenges at a time with a maximum of ten participants in each. The challenges consist of “Weekend Warrior”, “Daily Showdown”, “Workweek Hustle” and “Goal Day”.

My favorite is Goal Day because everyone who participates has a chance to win. Your objective in the Goal Day challenge is to reach the daily step goal you’ve set for yourself. Typically, this is 10,000 steps in a day but you can change this higher or lower. My daily step goal is 11,000 steps. The way I look at it is if I get my 11,000 steps then I’ve given 110 percent! On Goal Day, once you’ve reached your step goal a star appears beside your name. I try to get as many of the four groups of challengers to all get their star. Some weeks are better than others but I do have quite a few people who regularly get their star.

My group of Fitbit friends is always changing and didn’t get up to his size overnight. Honestly, I have more than the 37 you see here. For quite a few months I could count my Fitbit friends on one hand. Once Fitbit added the challenges my group of friends started growing. I have Fitbit friends in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Lousiana, Indiana, Virginia, Canada, England and probably a few other places that I haven’t learned about yet. Some have come and gone and a few have come back again. Occasionally, life gets busy and I’m a little late getting out my Hump Day challenge invites out and it never fails I will get several messages during the day asking me if I’m going to have a Hump Day challenge. I’m grateful so many people look forward to this challenge. The social aspect of the Fitbit app is one of its many strong points.

Everyone tries hard to make it to their step goals and when someone appears to be faltering others in the Group will send out an encouraging message to cheer them on. One thing that does disappoint me a bit is sometimes someone isn’t going to make their step goal and they quit the challenge. It’s nothing to be ashamed of when it happens. There is more to life than walking or running to reach your step goal. Everyone wants to see a star by their name but if you tried your best that’s all that matters. Don’t quit. Just be happy you tried and then come back next week even more determined to reach your goal. I’m hoping all 37 challengers make it to their goal and we see all stars when it’s finished. But it we don’t there is always next week.

If you’re a Fitbit user my challenge to you is to start your own Hump Day Goal Day Challenge. It doesn’t have to have ten people participating. You and one other person is just fine. Once your challenge is finished, take a screenshot of your results and post the results on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Use the hashtags: #humpday #goalday #fitbit #goals #teamwork Let’s try to make this viral. If you don’t have a Fitbit maybe you should consider getting one so you can share in the fun?

At the time of this writing I see four stars. Only 33 more to go! I’ll post the results on Thursday. Happy Hump Day!