Yesterday, my new old friend Vicki and I were discussing the Live Oak 5K coming up in September. This will be her first RUNNING 5k. She sounded a little anxious about whether or not she was in good enough shape to run it, but, after talking to her, I think she’s right on target. She’s even been running some hills (Southern Louisiana style) which equates to speed work. I think she’s ready. She asked me some questions about what to do in the two weeks before the race to make sure she didn’t overtrain or undertrain and impact her capability of doing the distance running. I told her some of the things that my trainers had told me in the past. I know this….. I know everything I know about running because other people told me what to do when I started.
My first running training plan was from Runner’s World magazine. It was a slow-paced increase from walking to running one minute then two minutes and so forth. I eventually ran a full 30 minutes on the beach of Maui with my then husband on vacation. It was awesome. I was so glad I took my time and slowly built up my endurance. I didn’t hurt at all. I just felt like a rock star.
Right now, I’m training with Jessica “Bitch” Sprenkel to get ready for the 2013 running season. I plan to increase from a 5K to a 10K to a 10 miler and then to a half marathon. I’ll run 3 half marathons (one each month) until spring. I find it efficient to train up to the long distance and stay there for awhile, working with that distance and giving myself several opportunities to hit a PR. But, I won’t ever make it through that season and do what I need to do without support – support from Jessica and other running friends who are training for similar events. My friends Jill and Shelly are running full marathons in Chicago this fall. It will be Jill’s first 26.2 mile accomplishment. I know how that feels. I did it in 2009. Once you run a marathon, you are never the same. The training teaches you patience and discipline. The run itself teaches you that you can do whatever you set your mind to doing if you just lay the groundwork and get the critical support.
After talking with Vicki yesterday and working out this morning under Jessica’s tutelage, I decided to start a Facebook group to provide support to others on this journey and to get support for myself. Everything is more fun with compadres. I picked out a bunch of people in my friends’ list who I know are trying to eat better, start running, continue running, start exercising in ANY way and get healthier. But, I hope that this group is not just about the work in getting healthier. What I’ve learned in the years that I’ve been doing this is that it’s a lot of fun. And, if it’s not fun, it’s not worth continuing. It’s fun to feel better. It’s fun to challenge my limits and succeed. It’s even fun to challenge my limits and fail. It helps to laugh about failures. I’ve learned that I can’t do everything right every time. Sometimes I just have to say “uncle” and do the best I can do. I learned that from watching others fail at their goals. They usually go on later – wiser this time – and reach them, but sometimes it takes a couple of tries to make it.
Jessica right now has me doing some major strength building. This morning at 5 AM, I was pushing a 175 pound hip sled, doing pullups and a variety of other heavy, heavy-duty exercises. I knew we were heading in this direction because last week she had me max out on the last set of the same exercises. This week, she told me to start with the max weight and do 3 sets of those. Ugh… it was killer, and I am fatigued right now… all over. The core exercises she has me doing are really difficult and are designed to mimic functional movements I would make with my core while running. I’m really encouraged because when I started doing these 3 weeks ago, I couldn’t finish a set without dropping to my knees to rest several times. Now, I can get all the way through the 10 reps before resting.
Core work is important because it is the foundation of my body. If my core is fatigued, I can’t pull the energy to drive my other muscle groups when it’s time to do it. For instance, 11 miles into a half marathon, my legs are tired. They are burned out. But, if I can pull the energy from my core, I can continue to drive those muscle groups to finish. The core is really important – every day – but also in racing. The video below shows you how to do the core workout that Jessica has me doing. I’m doing three reps of three different exercises. In the workout, I do 10 reps of each.
- The first is a downward dog/upward dog movement driving the hips forward and back.
- The second is a plank exercise (keep the body straight like a board) and the hips move from side to side.
- The third is another plank exercise. This time move the hips to the floor in an arc like you are trying to touch your side pockets to the floor. This one is REALLY tough.
I’m calling the new Facebook group the Rising Rock Stars. I hope they are all wanting to feel like Rock Stars in their own right. I know that they will teach me and each other a lot if they decide to be active. I’m hoping that we’ll share recipes. I’m really hoping that we’ll do some fun active things together. I hope that I won’t be the leader but just another group member learning from the rest of them. I hope it’s a place where we can fail and celebrate our failures. I hope it’s a safe place to share struggles and fears about getting healthier and changing habits. We’re already laughing, so I’m sure there will be laughter. But, most of all, I hope that it will become like my core in my workouts. It’ll be the place where I get the energy and strength to keep going when I want to stop. But I know it’s important – just like my core workouts – to put the effort into building this core group before I need it. Then, when the benefits all kick in, we’ll be feeling like rock stars … aging a little maybe …. maybe a little tired… but still rocking on.
If you want to join our group, search for Rising Rock Stars on Facebook and click Join Group.