Couch to 5k

Running has got to be my favorite form of exercise. But I was not born to run. All through high school, I had nasty posterior shin splints all through cross country season and right on into track season. I think I understand now more the causes of shin splints and how to deal with them. They are a repetitive stress injury, where stopping the painful activity will make them go away. Also, there some things that can be done to help treat and prevent them. With all that in mind, I have decided to start running again. Slowly this time. Well, not actually _running_ slowly, but rather starting with a slower regimen. I read that one common cause of shin splints is to start up too fast in the spring. My schedule is one I heard of from a friend, called Couch to 5k. It is a nine week program that starts you running in intervals, interleaved with a brisk walk. The first week, you only have to be able to run for 60 second intervals. The second week it is 90 seconds, and so on. Each week you run more and more until you are running for a full half hour. I think this is certainly a reasonable pace. I remember starting cross country and track like we were coming out of a cannon or something. We didn’t waste any time there. And I think this may be part of the problem in that kind of training. Sure it gets you whipped into shape really fast, but your body suffers for it. Or at least mine did.

Len pointed me to the Couch to 5k website, which is a great resource of links to running information and stuff. It takes the interval information from a program hosted by Cool Running. They also have a wealth of other information for runners. One of the links I found was a bunch of ‘pod intervals’, mp3 podcasts of music that is timed to help you stay on track with your running/walking intervals. The one that I chose was Podrunner Intervals: First Day to 5k. It uses mostly word-free music with a good beat to help you keep rhythm.

Hopefully I will be able to get back into this running thing. Walking doesn’t cut it. I can’t imagine that a treadmill would either. I have a deep-set need to move across the ground and see the world moving by; to feel the wind on my legs, arms and face; to lose myself in the run. It is really more than just the exercise that I think motivates me to run.

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