Wednesday, January 26, 2011

5K on a whim: I need to stop adding things to my schedule.

Couch to 5k in less than two months when I'm insanely busy with work, food stuff, and music stuff? Sure, why not?

I just signed up for the Ras 5K (Davis Square, St. Patty's Day) on a whim. Do I have time to train? Nope. But I'm going to make this work somehow.

The obstacles:
  1. Time. I work weekdays 9-5:30 with a commute that's usually an hour, so I'm out of commission from wake up until generally 6:30pm or so. In this weather, the MBTA has been royally failing, so sometimes I get home later than that. A lunch workout is not possible (no showers, no time), and I don't think I can wake up any earlier to squeeze in a morning workout. I'm devoting a lot of time to Boston Food Bloggers, so between events, updates, and catching up on emails, I tend to put in several hours each night. Also, my band is having a release show February 26 (please come?), so until then, I'll be tied up several nights a week with lengthy rehearsals (plus neat promo stuff like radio shows and photo shoots! Super exciting!) Something's gotta give. I'm guessing it'll be sleep.
  2. Ability. I ran track all through high school, but I'm using the word "run" pretty loosely here. Although dedicated and determined, I was consistently one of the absolute slowest on the team. Officially a sprinter but occasionally testing out the distance workouts, I was pretty bad at both. The longest run of my life was 13.5 miles the morning after a drama-filled high school party. I hadn't eaten breakfast, I was hungover, I was depressed, and I had mono but didn't know it yet. I figure if I survived that, I can survive any run, but the fact remains that I'm still a pretty bad runner. I've jogged off and on through the years, and I've finished a couple 5Ks along the way, but I'm fairly out of shape at the moment. Since 1/1, my only exercise has been to walk up and down the Porter T station stairs rather than taking the escalator. I've stuck to this resolution faithfully, but I still emerge from the station wheezing, bright red, and lightheaded. As for my other resolutions...well...never mind.
  3. Snow. Yeah, yeah, I ran winter track for four years. I'm still not a fan of winter running. The burning, tight lungs, the slushy grossness, the slippery ice...not so fun. I've already slipped and fallen several times just walking.
So I need to make a training plan. What can I accomplish in six and a half extremely busy weeks, starting from a pretty low fitness level? Based on my prior running experiences, I think I could probably complete a 5K at about a 12- or 13-minute mile pace on absolutely no training. I might be selling myself a little short, but I don't know. If I can squeeze in some training, I'd love to end up in the 10- or 11-minute mile range for the actual race.

Aside from continuing to shun all escalators in favor of stairs, particularly the 200+ at Porter, what other pseudo-exercises can I sneak in? There might be one or two ski trips in the next six weeks, so there's that (but I'm a horrible skier - just started last year and honestly not really looking forward to trying again this year!) Realistically, I can probably fit in one long jog each weekend and one shorter jog on a weeknight. (When training for a 5K, what's a good distance for a "long" run?)

This race is right in my neighborhood. Is it good to run the course a few times during training, or will the novelty of an unfamiliar course boost my adrenaline on race day? (I'm leaning towards the latter.) 

Any other tips for a sort-of-experienced-but-still-pretty-bad-plus-busy-and-out-of-shape runner? Anyone else running the Ras 5K?

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