Running Shoes

I’ve always hated running. Hate, with a capital H. Even when I played basketball, the part I hated most was the running up and down the court, especially playing as a forward or center, which meant running baseline to baseline. But, as I’ve gotten older and have grown comfortable in my skin, I no longer hate running. I wouldn’t say I love it, but I like it and it’s growing on me.

After reading John Bingham’s No Need for Speed: A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running a couple years ago, I proudly call myself a runner, even though I’m terrible at it. That is why, to get back into running, I am working myself up to a 5k distance.

My History with Running

For the past couple years now, I’ve made a habit of running when the warmer weather hits Spokane. First, I tried Polar’s Running Program when I owned my V800 sports watch (and currently have my eye on their new Vantage V). That was an enjoyable experience, as Polar did a great job of guiding me every step of the way, even including appropriate stretching exercises.

Then, after a brief time with the Apple Watch, I switched to the Garmin Forerunner 935 sports watch. Garmin has some 5k training plans, but they all seemed too advanced for my liking. So, after doing some digging, I found a Couch to 5k plan that I liked. I took the plans and created custom workouts in Garmin Connect. A couple summers ago, I worked this plan and found great success with it, working myself up to running a 5k distance over the course of 10 weeks. It was a 9 week plan, but I ended up repeating a week because I wasn’t ready to move to the next. But, once the colder months hit, I fell off the wagon. Last year I tried to get into it again. That time I tried Garmin’s new “5k Coach,” but was unable to complete it due to ankle & knee sprains and then subsequent lack of motivation.

Now that a new year is upon me and I have a plan, I will once again begin from scratch with my running, starting from nothing and working up to a 5k and then beyond.

My Plan

This year I am once again using Garmin’s Coach 5k plan.

What I enjoy about this plan is that it’s adaptive to my needs based on how my body responds to each workout. If I’m struggling, it will scale things back, or push me a bit harder if I begin to excel. This should keep me motivated without worrying about whether I am over or under training. I can train without having to think too hard about it, which should also stave off injury.

Another thing I like about the coaching program is I can choose my coach. Garmin gives me three coaches to choose from based on what I’m looking to do. I chose Jeff Galloway as my coach because I enjoy the thought of learning from someone who has been around the block and is still running at an older age. I feel as if there is a lot of wisdom I can glean from him during this training.

Running Coach Jeff Galloway
Running Coach Jeff Galloway

In addition to this, I was also able to set my goals and timeframe. I set a date of July 4th to run my 5k with a desired finish time of 35 minutes. From the start date, that is roughly 16 weeks of training. It also had me choose the days I was available to workout, and I excluded Sunday and Tuesday because of church and community group obligations.

With everything filled in, it gave me my plan.

Getting Started

I’m still in the first week of my plan, but I’ve already completed two runs at the time of writing.

My first run was a benchmark run. The workout started with a two minute warmup. During this time I could either walk or jog lightly. I chose to walk. Then I had to run for 5 minutes. I was able to run for about 4 of the 5 minutes, and then walked the remaining minute. The workout then ended with a 2 minute cool down, much like the start.

Garmin Coach 5k Plan
Garmin Coach 5k Plan

The second run was my first official workout in the training plan. It went like this: 10 minute warmup, run until I pressed the lap button on my watch, four 30 second cadence drills with a 30 second recovery, then run again until I press the lap button, next is two 30 second acceleration glider drills, before ending with a 10 minute cool down. For the first running section, I ran for about five and a half minutes, but only for 90 seconds on the second. At the end of the workout, the coaching program said I had room to grow, which is certainly true. I was winded, but felt great overall.

The plan has me running at least three times a week. It also provides helpful articles and videos that help me learn the techniques to accomplish my goals. For instance, coach Galloway talks about having a run-walk-run plan that can help achieve a better time than solely running. The videos also teach about the importance of cadence and how to run an acceleration glider.

Finally, it tracks all my progress and tells me how confident the program is that I can actually achieve the goal I set for myself.

The Road Ahead

As time progresses, I will share my progress in the training plan. And once I reach my goal, I will then begin working on the next. My overall hope is to keep up with my running, instead of stopping when the cold weather and shorter days hit, even if that means hitting up the treadmill. Again, I want this fitness to be a complete lifestyle change.

So, do you think I’ll hit my 5k goals? I think so, but we shall see!