From Snail to Speed of Light- Part 2 – How to Move Forward

fit athlete during training on running track
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

As you all, by now know, is that I am a somewhat newfound runner. Or at least a wannabe runner. A runner in the making.
I did a check the other day, mostly for fun of course, or maybe not. I am still not fully sure which one of them, it was.
Yes, so I did a check to see where in the runner scale I am. How much of one am I? According to this check, not a full runner just yet. Check it here.
Again it was just for fun.
What I have done though is becoming more intentional and focused when it comes to my running. It is such an interesting path. Never have I ever looked at exercise as I am looking at it now.
It is not a punishment it is an investment and a treat in and to myself. So I wrote a text about how I managed to go from absolutely nothing to something, sometime back. – Read about it here

I have now a new plan. Not so much looking back but looking into the future. How to move on from where I am, into something even better.

Where I used to be and the Future Where I Am Going

I have come a long way since I started my running journey, about 10 months ago. As you already read, it was an ultimate fail at first. My idea that I would just go and run my 10K without breaking a sweat just seems as quite ridiculous looking back at it. It is OK though. I did not know better.
I know that my goals seem too much for some. I have not received the best reactions as apparently they are too much for me but it is totally OK. I rather aim high and come somewhere near it, one day than conform to the idea that I as a fat person should not have plans or goals, that might be “too high”.

My old goals which I already have reached:

  • Able to run 5 minutes straight
  • Able to run 10 minutes straight
  • Able to run 3 KM straight
  • 5 K
  • 5 K in 30 minutes ( this one is still questionable if I reached as my Runkeeper stopped working the day of the run. So I am recycling this one.)
  • 10 K in one go, under 1.30 minutes. I did it in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

These are my new goals. Shorter list, but I am pretty sure it will grow.

  • 10 K in 1 hour sharp.
  • 5 K in 30 minutes.
  • 5 K in 25 minutes.
My first time trying hill practice- just last week!

What Is the Plan I Have?

I have been reading a lot of running articles and blogs. I did kind of surprise myself when I found myself doing this. It was about then I also figured that I am probably starting to think about this on a new level.

It started with Christopher McDougall’s “Natural Born Runner”
This one took me to the other places too, such as :

Runners World, Runners Need, Global Triathlon Network, and Higher Running just to speak about few of them. I constantly read and watch videos on this topic.
I started to see that a plan was really not set into action and what I did was great to get me reaching the goals I had reached but probably not the best to get to the next level.
My idea has been to just go out and run. The more KM the better has been my philosophy and that this would translate into faster, better, and longer runs. Automatically.
It seems like this is not the case.

I will have to incorporate intervals:

Running an interval involves running at a faster pace than your usual aerobic pace. … A pace that requires more huffing and puffing, a step up from your aerobic pace, is run for a predetermined length of time, with a recovery jog interval, and repeated for a set number of repetitions.Active.com

Hill training :

Training on hills improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your stride, expands stride length, develops your cardiovascular system, enhances your running economy and can even protect your leg muscles against soreness. In short, hill running will make you a stronger, faster and healthier runner

Slowrun:

Doing your regular, weekday runs at a slow pace reduces the risk of injury dramatically while still contributing to your fitness. A weekly long, slow run will improve your endurance, enhance your fat-burning ability, improve bloodflow to your muscles, and build mental toughness.

First time I did 10 K 1hour 15 Minutes.

How Will This Translate?

I plan to manage it like this.
3 times a week run so far, from now on to the end of June.

Week 1:
1x Hill training= Hills up and down for 30 minutes adding 5 minutes per time for this.
1x Slow run = Run for no time for 40-60 minutes. As speed nor length is really the interest I have seen it seems good to add some time here.
1x Interwalls= Meaning you do 400M fast 400 M slow. Then 500 fast,600, 700, 600,500,400. Inbetween 2-400 meters slow.

Week2 :
1x 30 Minutes fast= Run a fast 30 minutes race.
1x interwals= 5 Min fast and then 5 Min slow.
1x long run= The 10 K long run practice. Every 2 times of this adding another 1 KM.

These 2 should be switched between every second week.
So this is my plan and then by end of June see how my 10/ 5 KM speed has improved.
Let’s GO!

From Snail to Speed of Light- My Running Guide

We all need to take that saying with a grain of salt, I do hope you all understand. I have improved, and in my eyes really impressively, my running form, stamina and speed. It is pretty awesome what the human body and mind can manage!
But let us take if from the beginning.

The Beginning 

Last year I started to see a personal trainer to kick me out of my house and start doing something. This was a huge incentive for me to start doing something about my health. For me health is mental and physical. Physical as in what the body can manage and mental in how you deal with shit.

I started in May and came June I felt it was time to add something more. Some cardio on my days without my trainer.

I envisioned myself how I started running and gracefully took long and amazing looking strides. How I would bounce on my feet and every obstacle would be nothing as I jumped and bounced around them.
I laced my shoes and off I went!
It was amazing, I was running! I took strode after strode. I would run 5K at least. Maybe I should even aim for 10!
About one minute into the run I collapsed. Lungs ached, I could not find my breath. Ankles begged me to stop already. Everything that had bounced around was not me gracefully but my fat rolls up and down, up and down hurting everytime I hit the ground.
My 10 KM plan was officially a failure. I made some walk-jog for about 2 and then it was it. 

A Plan is Building Up

I could have given up there and then as so many times before. Something is different now though. I do not know what, something just is. I did not give up. Not at all. Quite the opposite.
For the first time in my life, I put a plan in action. 

  1. I consumed every little running video on Youtube. With Global Triathlon Network being my absolute favorite. They have both beginner and advanced as their target. 
  2. Reading about running and how it is beneficial and helpful for us. How we should run and what is the correct running technique. 
  3. Made up a running plan and decided to rigorously stick to it, no matter what or how I felt. 
  4. Practice not just running but really focusing on running form. Aim to work on muscle groups which would be beneficial to train, aiming to help my run. 
One of the first times


How Did This Manifest? 

I decided not to jog with music at all. There were these two ideas behind it. 
One: if not finding my headset to be able to listen to music would be a reason not to go, I did not want that reason.
Second: I wanted to not get lost in music but really focus on my form and breathing. 

I also decided to run in blocks of 3 weeks. And stick to that block of time, no matter what. If I felt like doing more I told myself not to do it. I was still at 110+ kilos and running with this amount is not recommended. The strain on your joint and the added weight on ankles each time you step down your foot is not something to disregard.

My Plan I Followed

First 3 weeks were mainly about getting out. I jogged 2 minutes and then I walked for another 3. Jogged 2 and walked 3. I remember being dead most of the time. Not liking it and how my lungs and joints killed me.

Then I added one minute to the run and subtracted from the walk, so 3 minutes walk turned into 2 minutes and 2 minutes jog turned into 3 minutes. This I did for 3 weeks. I would take each jog and practice belly breathing. Trying to get as much air into my lower lungs.
My calves did really eat me up. I would cramp up really heavily. I did not understand from what, and did think I was running out of electrolytes. Now I just think it was just extremely heavy for my body, even these small jogs.

The next following 3 weeks, I added and subtracted again. 4 minutes jog and just 1 walking.
Once a week I would also do intervals. 1 minutes really fast, 1 minutes slow, 1 fast, 1 slow and then walk 1 minutes and repeat for 20 minutes and then 5 minutes slow jog and that was it. 30 minutes all in all.

And then it was 5 minutes of jog, this was my plan but actually I felt so powerful that when I decided for the 5 minutes I just continued to run though I remember. I was so full of the potential that I did not see the reason why not to just continue. I did 10 minutes in one go. For me it was like a 10K race. I was extremely proud. And rightfully so.
I took 5 minutes and focused on one specific form. Legs, or arms, torso, or head. This would make the 10 minutes easier.
Over time that has also really helped me improve my form. Which today is pretty OK actually.

My First Jog In One Go

Before this day, I had just been jogging and stopping and jogging and stopping. But the time I ran my first 2 kilometer in one go was amazing!
I do not have any record of it, but I was so extremely proud. I remember my bargain of one more tree, one more sign, one more 5 minutes. Soon had I finished my first 3 kilometer jog. No stopping. 

Where Am I Now?

My goal now is to run 5K 30 Minutes flat or less. 10K 1 hour flat or less.
How I will get there is a post all by itself because this post is starting to look like a short novel.
I will finish by saying that I went out today for a run, and I did 4,3K in 30 minutes. I am soon reaching my goal. My plan, my idea, my execution.
I have come a long way from that first jog in June. From feeling that jogging was a punishment, and that all my body hurt from it, I enjoy it today. I am looking forward for the runs and if I do not do them for a while, I get grumpy and angry.
It is a really integrated part of my life today.
It took some time, and I still have a long way. Hips hurt after running due to the extra weight. But persistence wins the race!