My spring training slowed when I landed a part-time job (20-30 hours a week) at the garden center in town. Physical exercise was a big part of the job – watering, rearranging plants, trimming shrubs and trees, dead-heading flowers, sweeping up debris, and loading soil for customers. When I wasn’t busy doing these chores I had to operate the cash register. Overall, it was enjoyable, but physically demanding work which left me exhausted at the end of my shift, so I limited my running to 3 miles every second day. I also had to work on the weekends which meant missing out on local running events.
The garden center closed a couple of weeks ago and now my training is back on schedule. Last week I did a couple of 3-mile runs and two longer sessions of 4 miles each. Although my focus is on distance rather than time my pace has gradually improved from over 12 minutes per mile a few months ago to slightly less than 11 minutes.
This week I did my first 5-mile run this year, with a fairly decent pace over the first half and then a dreadfully slow pace for the second half. The main thing is I did 5 miles in less than an hour! Yesterday, I set out to do four miles, but my Garmin battery went dead before I hit the 2-mile mark, so I slowed down, walked some, took some photos, ate some blueberries, and jogged home.
My favorite part of my route – flat, smooth, and some shade trees.
Stopped to pick some blueberries on this road.
This is a hilly, unpaved side road that I usually avoid.
This is a short trail though the woods.
I sometimes run on this path in the woods, but the terrain is rough.
The second week of training was a slight improvement over the first week, but a solid reminder that I have a long way to go get in shape. Total distance for the week was 13.7 miles. I also decided that I would do 4 runs a week to make it easier to establish a regular routine. Previously I would rarely run two days in a row and opted for every second day but this makes for a messier schedule. However, my plan to run four days didn’t happen in week three and my weekly mileage decreased to just over ten miles.
On non-running days I did yoga, stretching and brisk walking, but these activities are a bit boring, so I need to replace them with something more interesting. I am just not sure what at this point. Actually, exercise seems like a chore sometimes, something that I don’t want to do but have to do – not exactly the way I should be feeling after less than a month into 2017. On a positive note, there is snow in the forecast, so I am looking forward to some cross-country skiing this week.
This past year running took a backseat to work and life in general. Some days I was focused and motivated to exercise, but other days I found a million excuses not to workout. Luckily, my jobs involved a lot of physical labour and my weight remained constant in spite of not following a regular exercise program. I completely ignored this blog and rarely tracked my running distance or progress. I didn’t sign up for any events which also contributed to my limited interest in running.
This year I am taking a new approach to training and exercise. I would like to enjoy running while incorporating some specific goals for 2017. My first goal is to run a distance of 5 miles (8km) without walking breaks. Now, I am able to run 5K. However, after a year of limited training I am extremely slow. I am like a snail, so time goals at this point would lead me down the path to complete failure. This must be avoided! Thus, I am going to concentrate on building up endurance and when I can cover 5 miles I might consider incorporating some speed-training.
My second goal is to enter two 10K races this year. At this point, I have no idea when or where – to be decided in the near future.
My third goal is to actively track my progress via this blog. My intention is to post my running data and thoughts at least twice a month. I did my last run of 2016 this morning – a slow, comfortable 3 miles in 36:31 – this will be my starting point for 2017.
These three simple running goals are intended to help me stay motivated and focused on running. In order to achieve these goals I have to be extremely dedicated, unwavering and prepared to make running play an important part of my life by setting aside enough time for consistent and quality training in 2017.