Monday, October 6, 2008

5 day running week: Week 1

Have you felt nervous and unsettled when committing to a big lifestyle change? Knowing that there is a possibility it will not work and you could end up feeling a failure? That's exactly how I felt last night, as the upcoming week is a first of sorts...the first week I am attempting to run 5 days a week, and increase my mileage gradually till I eventually reach 50 mpw.

It's been 3 weeks since the marathon. My post marathon schedule so far has looked like this:

Week 1 : Stretches & 2 x (Mild cross-training on exercise bike)

Week 2: 10 miles (2, 2, 3, 3) + 2 x (cross-training + mild strength training) + stretches

Week 3: 21 miles (5, 5, 7, 4) + 3 x (cross-training + strength training) + stretches

This week, I have planned a relatively easy running schedule (6, 5, 10, 5, 6), to ease the transition from 4 to 5 days.

Running 5 days a week may seem like no big deal, once you are used to it. Most medium to high mileage runners run twice a day on most days and only rest once a week. But I have enjoyed the flexibility of 3 non-running days so far; the indulgence of sleeping in and the luxury of 3 grace days, so that a run could be easily deferred to the next day, without too much guilt.

Don't get me wrong. When I manage to rub the sleep away from my eyes and step out into the cold (or warm) fresh morning air, I feel on top of the world. Positive thoughts stream from every pore. And the feeling of accomplishment after a run is worth every moment of pre-run agony.

But I am not the most disciplined individual you will find. The fact that I've been running for 2 and a half years, and not merely for the purpose of competing, has shocked me more than it has anyone else. When I attempted 4 days a week of running, instead of 3, I didn't plan it. I took it on with no real expectations, one day at a time, more out of curiosity and to test my staying power than an actual belief that I would see it through.

However, through running, I have accumulated a wee bit of rigor and self-confidence, so this time around, I feel I can go through with it. I just need to silence that little temptor perched on my shoulder every morning, when I am tucked cozily under the covers.

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