I remember Cam telling me this when we first started seeing each other and I was feeling challenged by some tough mountain biking we were doing. The point is your fitness will improve and remain constant if you start off slowly with lower intensity workouts and build in increments. This is much better than throwing yourself into a “no pain= no gain” scenario where really all you’re doing is damaging your muscle mass and opening yourself up to repetitive strain issues.

I’ve been running off and on for a number of years but it’s never become routine in my life. Either I got hurt or it was too hard scheduling time to go when Lily needed taking care of and I never enjoyed pushing the stroller while running. I was obviously ignoring the great advice Cam gave me so long ago and I was making running too hard to become enjoyable.

I needed to make it easier- at least to get myself going. The first step was getting Cam to commit to supporting my efforts. I’m so lucky he’s willing and able to run with me, pushing Leif in the stroller while Lily rides her bike. He can stop to help the kids or leash Oscar when we pass through town so my running doesn’t have to be interrupted. He’s there to give me moral support and confidence.

I also decided I wasn’t going to run any hills, which is kind of hard to do here on the hilly rock of an island I live on. I’ve had too many running days put on hold because of sore knees so I now drive down to the flat waterfront of town to run. Reading the book Chi Running has helped a great deal when it comes to posture and pain free, easier running.

I’m also following a 10 week plan to allow my body to become accustomed to the stresses and challenges of running. For each week, I run three times with one or maybe two days break in between. I’m so thankful for the heart rate monitor that Justine gifted to me which times my intervals for me. I stick with the timing even if I think I can run more or walk less.

  • Week 1: Run 2 minutes, walk 4 minutes. Repeat 5 times
  • Week 2: Run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes. Repeat 5 times
  • Week 3: Run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes. Repeat 4 times
  • Week 4: Run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes. Repeat 3 times
  • Week 5: Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times
  • Week 6: Run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Repeat 2 times then run 8 minutes 1 time
  • Week 7: Run 9 minutes, walk 1 minutes. Repeat 3 times
  • Week 8: Run 13 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Repeat 2 times
  • Week 9: Run 14 minutes, walk 1 minutes. Repeat 2 times
  • Week 10: Run 30 minutes. Repeat once and celebrate!

It’s been going so well for me that I thought I’d share this program with all of you! I have to admit that I’m actually starting to enjoy running. You could too….

Half Marathon Runners

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16 Responses to The Wider The Base, The Taller The Peak

  1. debbie says:

    oh, this is timely for me! i have been *thinking* about running for some time now…but it’s never stuck with me in the past, i’m carrying more weight with me right now, there never seems to be enough time, i’ve never been a runner…but i’m really needing something to work on physically to feel more fit, and my cousin was trying to tell me just this – that you can teach yourself to run doing what you’re doing! thanks for the encouragement and details!

  2. Steph says:

    That’s great!
    For years I thought that I couldn’t run. I would be out of breath after 5 min. At the end of April I started running with a program similar to yours. I was running/walking on a track, trying to go for 30 to 45 min 3 times a week. I created a playlist for my iPod that would beep or switch genre when it was time to run or walk. After just 1 month I could run 5k! Now i’m trying to find the best low profile shoes to run as close to barefoot as possible since it seems to improve my posture and reduce/eliminate my knee/backpain.
    I use mapmyrun.com to plan my runs in the neighborhood and know their distance. It’s like a GoogleMap you canwrite on to trace your route and it tells you how long it is, you can see hills etc. It is extremely motivating.

    Also Born to Run was a fun book to read, and I’ll get a copy of Chi Running.

    I was shocked to realized that I started to enjoy running! Keep going.

  3. Annie says:

    Debbie- You should do it! What I like about the *idea* of running is that it can be done anywhere and with very little if need be. Wish you were here- we could run together.

    Steph- You share so much great info! Thank you! My friend has been running in ballet shoes and finds that to be very close to bare foot. xx

  4. Erin Perry says:

    hi Annie, I love your running enthusiasm! A few mamas I’m crossing paths with are running, to varying degrees. I’ve never run, and it does call me. I’ve always been a hiker-tyoe and mountain -biker/cyclist (though no cycling for years now) I have the great places to run, long country roads (except for unpredictable big scary dogs occasionally), and farm dykes, and all of that. My boys might be able to bike ride with me. This latter (the boys) is the tricky part, as my DH works many long days where I’m so tired I drop into unconsciousness when he arrives home ;-)

    Planning this, and garnering his support ( hmm, what do I need exactly?? Thinking on that one!), and getting started are where I am currently challenged.

    Thanks for this!


  5. Debbie says:

    This is so great Annie. I’ve been running on and off for years (mostly off, if I’m to be perfectly honest) but it always calls me back. Early last spring we got our Chariot so that I could use it for walking around town – and then I bought the running attachment – with great ambition. Well, it hasn’t panned out so well for me. But I really want to get back into it; need to get back into it. Thanks for the plan. It is similar to what I was doing before but I also find it so motivating knowing that all you awesome mamas are doing it too. xoxo

  6. krista says:

    Yay for running! I really loved the couch to 5K program I found online back in March. Unfortunately I’ve learned the hard way just this week that my arches are too high to wear crappy shoes or barefoot run, so I’ve damaged my sesematoids by doing so. I am now taking a (hopefully very short) break to let them heal and getting some high arch support running shoes. I never thought I’d love running in my life, ever, but I do. I’ve enjoyed every run immensely. Good to hear you’re getting some time in now, hope it continues to go well for you!

  7. Annie says:

    Erin- You’ll have to let me know if you try and what you think!

    Debbie- Maybe I wouldn’t hate running with our Chariot if I had the running package. Ours is more than seven years old now and that design made the storage bag low enough that it feels in the way. Cam turns the handles around and isn’t quite so over top of them. He doesn’t seem to have much of a problem.

    Krista- Rest up! I hope you’re back out there soon. I wonder if you need to look at how your foot is hitting the ground. It sounds like it could be a ball-of-foot strike or “toe off” type problem. (It seems there is a problem with either the way your foot hits the ground or you’re pushing off too forcefully.) A midfoot strike could address the problem once you’re rested and healed? Maybe try running a lap at the track barefoot to feel your form and how to correct it? I’d highly recommend the book Chi-Running for ideas about posture, foot strike and general running mechanics.

  8. krista says:

    Thanks, Annie, my foot-strike is exactly the problem.

    I started running with a heel-strike (so old school the way I was told years ago) and then had read many benefits of striking mid-foot, so I spent the last month concentrating deliberately on not landing on my heel. I think I may be over compensating for not landing on my heel and landing too much on my toes (and pushing off with them, too) instead.

    I also know my shoes have little to no support, but I thought that would be OK since I had looked into the benefits of barefoot running and thought the little padding my shoes have would give me the same effect. Turns out, as a physiotherapist who is also a runner told me yesterday, I have unusually high arches which cause me to suponate, so I really need good arch support. It sounds like my problem is fixable with some adjustments to my foot-strike and some very specific shoe-fitting or orthopedics, and I’m really relieved about that. Since I started running, no other exercise can even compete in terms of feeling great and giving you that “high” that seems to last all day.

    I am absolutely going to pick up a copy of Chi-Running, from what you’ve said, it sounds like an invaluable read. Thanks for that suggestion and happy trails!

  9. Shannon says:

    Great inspiration to those of us (like me ) who find running to be somewhat scary. Like you have to be a marathon runner in order to start, rather than starting small. Every time I have attempted to “run” and I’m not very good at it, I have run in short increments naturally and thought maybe I wasn’t “good” at it. Of course I know it takes practice, but your plan really validates that for me! thanks! Now to fit that in with moving and building…..maybe I should run instead of walk with my boxes!

  10. jenny says:

    This is so funny. I was just telling Brian that I really need to start running. I have never been a runner but I’m really feeling the need to get some exercise in. I have gained 10 pounds in the few months since I stopped nursing and who knows when that weight will stop packing on unless I do something!? I think I’ll join you in this program. Sounds like it’s right up my alley…I need a slow start.

  11. Sarah says:

    Oh the synchronicity of your post! I’ve also been thinking about running a lot, especially since I’ve been back on my yoga mat. I’m feeling really inspired to shape up and get fit and I think a bit of running will really complement yoga and swimming. I’ve been taking a similar approach with getting back to yoga- little and often and not too intense. I love the phrase you’ve used to sum this up, I’m putting that in my little book of stuff ;)

    I only started running just before I conceived Magnus and I haven’t resumed yet. Your program and all the other info here might just help me get on with it. So thanks everyone!

    The other reasons I’ve not started yet are lack good (expensive?) shoes and a supportive bra. I’m wondering now what footwear I need with this talk of barefoot running… I don’t think I can get away with a less than excellent bra though or my boobs will be tickling my ankles!

  12. Dawn Suzette says:

    Great Annie! So happy to hear you are getting out here. Consistency and easing into it are the keys to running for sure!
    I just got the double jogger out this weekend for the first time since we moved to the new house. I do miss my daily run. It was soooo easy to do in So. Cali! A bit more of a challenge here in NS… Already thinking of snow shoes for the trail this winter… And maybe a harness and sled for the kids to ride behind!

  13. anj says:

    I am also easing into running so I was really excited to read this post! I am one of those people who always detested running and couldn’t understand why anyone would do it for fun. And then over the past few months, it suddenly became appealing to me. It’s an exciting journey, and I’m enjoying working through the sensations that running brings up for me, both physical and emotional.

    Best of luck to you!

  14. sarah says:

    good for you! i have recently bumped up my efforts in running too. i am really lazy when it comes to exercise but i have to face the fact that the ol’ metabolism is slowing down… i have set the goal for myself of running 5K 2 times a week (at least) and 10K once a week. i have done it for 3 weeks now. i am feeling proud of myself! (although, where I live running is so easy- totally flat and no cars…lucky for me or i might not do it!) so let’s pat ourselves on the back! xo

  15. Marquita says:

    Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  16. Annie says:

    My blog is a wordpress blog and I love it! I’ve done a bit with Drupal and find it very difficult to work with. I think it’s better for bigger and more complicated websites! Good luck!

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