15 Weeks to Running

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Summary of “Rookie Runner” program by Steve Gurney

Steve Gurney has just recently had some major ankle reconstruction surgery to rectify injuries from sprains.
Steve is effectively going back to zero running fitness. With typical Gurney positivity, he has turned this obstacle into an opportunity, instead of a negative. He has recognised this as an opportunity to help kiwis that need a wee helping hand to get into some jogging and running.

Steve is concerned about the plight of kiwi society, the decline into obesity, dependence on technology and the less than optimal nutrition we see prevailing. This is a step he wants to take in helping people make healthier choices.

It will take Steve 3 to 6 months to ease gradually back into running training and 10 months before Steve can consider running competitively. Steve recognises this is about the ideal length of time needed for an unfit person to build fitness enough to be able to achieve a goal like comfortably finishing a 10 km fun run or half marathon!! Exciting and achievable!!

So he wants to publish a weekly column, where step by easy step, he encourages people to join him in his quest to get back into running. (This is a bit like holding someone’s hand as they take on this challenge).

Over all summary:

Week 1. Start with an easy pace walk to the street corner or around the block for 6 days of week one
Week 2. Progress to walking easy pace for 30 minutes 6 days of week 2.
Week 3. Fast alternate lampposts for 2 days, walk 30 minutes easy/steady for 30 minutes for 3 days.
Week 7 might be walk/jog alternate lampposts 2 days for 20 minutes total, walk 40 minutes 2 days, and 1 long walk 90 minutes in the weekend.

So each week is a very slight increase with variety. It would be described in a funky style schedule/table included in the column. I suggest you print it off and stick it on the mirror, cereal box, toilet door or TV screen for the week.

Week one. The official start! Here we go!

How did you go last week?

(Recall,  it was to set goals, and get out the door for 10 minutes walk at least 3 times.)

Congratulations on getting out the door!!

I’ll admit that I ran out of time this week to fit my walking in as I had planned. So I had to get innovative. I managed to combine some work with walking! I took my cell phone with hands-free ear plug and a list of phone numbers, and walked my talk!

Other possibilities to fit training in on a busy week are: Use lunchtimes, get up a bit earlier, instead of sitting down for a meeting, suggest that you walk and talk instead. Exercise often clears your head for better thinking too. Some of my best ideas have come during training!

I also had to re-evaluate my goal. The Abel Tasman event might be a bit ambitious, so I have reset my goal to being able to jog for an hour, pain free by the end of September. I’ll look for a shorter fun-run event around that time too.

 

WEEK 1:

Here is my schedule for this week:

(I’d be delighted if you would join me! Cut this out and stick it on the fridge, mirror or T.V. screen.)

Mon:      Walk 15 minutes at easy pace.

Tues:      Walk 15 minutes at easy pace, but go a different course that yesterday.

Wed:      Walk 10 minutes, easy pace.

Thurs:    Walk for 15 minutes (5 minutes easy warm up, 5 minutes a little harder, breathing increased, but can still hold a conversation (or sing your favourite song), 5 minutes warm down)

Fri:          Day off (but, you can walk if you really want to!)

Sat:         Walk 20 minutes. Easy pace. Invite a friend, or explore a track in your neighbourhood.

Sun:        Walk 10 minutes. Easy pace.

 

There are always challenges thrown in that could be excuses to not get out the door.  Above I’ve suggested some inventive ways to make exercise fit your daily routine easier. Here are some other points that should strengthen your resolve:

The first 6 weeks are typically the hardest, most challenging to get fit. In those first few weeks there is often a little discomfort, the new demands on your body and your lungs. Instead of focussing on pain, focus on how marvelous your body is as it adapts to your training, making itself stronger!

It’s hard to imagine a healthy addiction, but here it is! Once you get over this initial adaptation, you will start to feel the endorphins, the natural high of exercise, and some will even feel an addiction to it!

Getting into a routine, a habit of making the time and the habit of incorporating it into your weekly schedule is essential. Even if you don’t have the time to do the entire session, doing just some of it is MUCH better than dong none.

Allow yourself to get excited about your goal. Go on! Feel your heat beat increase, the smile on your face, the buzz inside, as you imagine the enjoyable journey to your goal.

Enjoy your  week!

Steve

Welcome to week 3. Training concepts.

This week we’re increasing the pace and effort of our walking on some days.

How did your training go this week? I’ve had some great feedback again,.. one woman getting so motivated that she walked several hours a week with her husband, losing 3 kg in the process, (since the start of my get fit program 2 weeks prior). Her arthritis is a little painful, but seems to be reducing as her weight reduces. How’s that for inspirational? My walking pain is improving too, and I’m feeling very motivated to manage and reduce the pain after that story! (yes, I did feel like a wimp!)

My schedule this week aims to introduce some sessions with increased intensity, inter-spaced with easy recovery days.

Sat       Walk 40 minutes: Good honest pace. My breathing is heavy, but still able to talk or recite a poem.

Sun      Walk 20 minutes: Easy recovery pace.

Mon     Walk 30 minutes: 10 minutes easy warm-up. Next I do 15 minutes of lamp-post intervals: Walk one lamp-post (or 50 metres) fast and briskly, and every other lamp post walk easy. Finally, walk easy as a warm-down for 5 minutes.

Tues.    Walk 20 minutes: Easy recovery pace.

Wed    Walk 20 minutes: 10 minutes easy warm-up. 5 minutes brisk pace with slightly longer strides for a change, finished with 5 minutes easy warm-down.

Thurs   Walk 30 minutes: 10 minutes easy warm-up. Next I do 15 minutes of lamp-post intervals: Walk one lamp-post (or 50 metres) fast and briskly, and every other lamp post walk easy. Finally, walk easy as a warm-down for 5 minutes.

Fri        Day off.

 

Training principles:

To get fitter and stronger we need to give our bodies a challenge in the form of a session of physical exertion. Then we need to allow it a day or two to recover and rebuild. With good nutrition, sleep and  reduced training load over this recovery stage, the body will rebuild itself slightly stronger, just in case we give it the same challenge again. This is called the “overload principle”.

There are important considerations though: The challenging physical exertion needs to be challenging but not damaging. In our case this week, it is the 15 minute lamp-post intervals on Monday and Thursday. The recovery is just as important as the hard sessions. Recovery days need to be easy pace and revitalising in the form of adequate sleep and good nutrition. Your body will rebuild strongest if you give it good materials to do so. Foods like fish, lean red meat, eggs, low fat dairy, balanced with fresh fruit and veges. C’mon team, let’s cut out that junk food, and get back to what our bodies are designed best to eat; food close to it’s source with minimal processing.

For those of you who I know will be “struggling” to keep to the schedule, let’s use some wisdom from my mentors the Feltons: It’s not a struggle, ..it’s a “challenge”.

Also remember that the first 6 to 8 weeks are the hardest. Don’t despair, stick at it and it will become easier! Try smiling as you walk!

Week 5 Try Jogging!

This week is particularly significant for 3 reasons;

  1. I’m going to start a little jogging (only for a few short minutes)
  2. I’m introducing a time trial on Wednesday. A time trial is a course or loop of a set distance that you use weekly or fortnightly to test your progress.
  3. We’ve completed one month, a significant achievement. Congratulate yourselves!

How does it feel? Many of you will be feeling that exercise is becoming easier after 4 weeks, even an addictive habit. Some will still feel a bit of pain, and some will still find it a challenge to stick to the schedule. But take heart my fellow foot folk! If you stick at it for just another 2 to 4 weeks, it should start to feel significantly more enjoyable, your body will begin to adapt and you feel that this is an enjoyable habit. Especially when you visualize the benefits, of a fitter, healthier, more toned you.

Here’s week 5's schedule:

Sat          Introduce lamp-post jogging. Walk 10 minutes easy warm-up. Next do 5 minutes of lamp-post WALK intervals: Walk one lamp-post (or 50 metres) as fast as possible, and every other lamp post walk easy. Next do 5 minutes of lamp-post JOG intervals: jog one lamp-post (or 50 metres), and every other lamp post walk easy. Next do 5 minutes of lamp-post WALK intervals: Walk one lamp-post (or 50 metres) as fast as possible, and every other lamp post walk easy.

Finally, walk easy as a warm-down for 5 minutes.

Sun         Walk 20 minutes: Easy recovery pace.

Mon       Walk 43 minutes;

(a) 10 minutes easy warm-up, on the flat, at talking pace.

(b) 5 minutes of full-on, fast, hard walk, (hill or stairs if available).

(c) 2 minutes easy walk, to recover.

Repeat, (b) and (c) to a total of 4 times.

Finish with 5 minutes warm down as easy walking, giving a total session time of 43 minutes

Tues.      Walk 20 minutes: Easy recovery pace.

Wed        Time trial. Find a repeatable course that takes you about 20 to 30 minutes. eg around the local park or around part of a handy golf course. It will be about 4 or 5 km. If you are a facts and figures fanatic, you might like to measure out 5 km on your bike or car odometer. However, the actual distance is not really important, more that it is repeatable in subsequent weeks.

                Do a 10 minute warm-up. Next walk as fast as you can around your time trial course, recording the time at finish. Warm-down easy pace for 5 minutes.

Write this time in your diary and we will compare it to next week’s T.T.

Thurs      Walk 10 minutes easy warm-up. Next do 5 minutes of lamp-post WALK intervals: Walk one lamp-post (or 50 metres) as fast as possible, and every other lamp post walk easy. Next do 5 minutes of lamp-post JOG intervals: jog one lamp-post (or 50 metres), and every other lamp post walk easy. Next do 5 minutes of lamp-post WALK intervals: Walk one lamp-post (or 50 metres) as fast as possible, and every other lamp post walk easy.

Finally, walk easy as a warm-down for 5 minutes.

Fri           Day off.

We’re smack in the middle of winter, and it is sometimes challenging to get out in the foul weather. Personally, if I have good weather proof gear, I absolutely LOVE walking and jogging in inclement weather The secret lies in the “layering” of garments that provide thermal insulation and wicking of sweat and water off the skin. Don’t skimp on the gear.

The most valuable items to take are a wooly thermal hat and wooly thermal gloves. They are small, light and very effective, especially as most of your heat is lost through your head. (If I had to choose only one item of clothing, it would be a hat!) On your body, next to your skin you need a thermal, wicking layer such as merino or polypropylene. (Cotton is useless, and dangerous in that it can lead to hypothermia once wet in the cold). Then add more thermal layers as necessary, on top of the first thermal, eg another merino or poly, or a wooly or fleece jumper. Once again, no cotton sweatshirts in the rain. The outer-most layer should be a snug, waterproof jacket with a good hood, and overpants.

If the weather is life-threateningly bad, then you can be imaginative by walking up and down stair wells in high-rise buildings, or going to the gym. A winning weather strategy is the 4 “P”s: Prior Planning Prevents Procrastination. Get some good kit, and read the weather forecast so you can plan the best time to go and know what gear to pack. The ultimate tool is always your attitude. If the weather is bad, look for the positive, after training you will appreciate that hot shower and cuppa all the more!

Next segment - Week 7

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