Well, my first week 4 run was scheduled for 2pm today. It is now 3pm and I am sitting here writing which means 1 of 2 things. I either: a) chickened out or b) survived! Hmmmmmm.......
Coincidentally, I have a cousin in Newfoundland that is following the same running plan. We are around the same age and both total non-runners. We also both happen to be starting week 4 today. Since she is an hour and a half ahead of me, when I woke up this morning I already had a text message from her filled with "wooohoooo's" and "!!!!!!!'s" She had done it! Cuz, you were my inspiration today! You convinced me I could do it too!
One of my friends and I have been discussing running together ever since I embarked on this little challenge. Even though I am a big believer in having exercise buddies to keep you on track, I have been hesitant to do it for a couple of reasons. First, she is an established runner that can probably run 5K in her sleep. I was somewhat concerned about dragging her down. Second, I was afraid I would push myself a little too hard to try to keep up to her and end up dying en route (at least I would have had a buddy to call 911!!)
Since today's routine was a little more challenging, I decided I was ready for a buddy. We arranged to meet at a pond that was somewhat halfway between our houses. I walked there, which amounted to almost double the usual warm-up time, but considering what was on the agenda for today, I thought that might be helpful.
The plan for the day is this: 5 minute warm up walk, run 3 minutes/walk 90 seconds, run 5 minutes/walk 2.5 minutes, run 3 minutes/walk 90 seconds, run 5 minutes/walk home. As you know if you've been reading this blog, those 5 minute intervals have been terrifying me since I first started the plan. Today is also the first day where the running intervals are longer than the walks. The plan is slowly beginning to wean you off the walking, pushing you to run for longer stretches at a time with shorter recovery periods. Last week's plan amounted to 9 minutes of running each day. This week, a whopping 16!!!
Oddly enough, the 3 minute run which was my nemesis last week was an absolute BREEZE today. After a short 90 second recovery walk, the dreaded 5 minute interval began. I have to say, it was nice to have someone to run with here - it made the 5 minutes go by a little quicker and a little less painfully than I expected. She also has one of those fancy Garmin running watches that tracks your pace and the mileage of your runs. This is a very handy feature to have in a running buddy. If you are going to get yourself a running buddy, choose one with the cool gadgets, if possible. During the first 2 running intervals our pace varied between 6:50 and 7:20 mins/km - which felt a lot faster than I was running last week, but is the pace that I am aiming for when I run my 5 K in May.
The last 2 running intervals were more challenging, but I am proud to say I survived them both. (My knee might tell a different story.....) Our pace slowed to between 7:30 and 7:50 mins/km, which I suspect is about what I was running last week. If you had asked me even a week ago if I thought I could run for 5 minutes without stopping, the answer would have most definitely been "Are you CRAZY?!?!" But I did it! Whoever designed this program is really brilliant. Each week is structured in such a way that you are challenged by it, but at the end of the week your body is ready for more. I really can't believe how it is all working out so far.
So thanks to my 2 running buddies for their part in helping me survive today - my cousin for making me believe that I could do it, and my friend for keeping me company while I did.