Running Back to the Future

The title of this post is very appropriate for the place I find myself currently in training for, and running, races. I became a consistent runner in 1990 and by 1992 was running my first marathon. Considering all of the effort required to properly train for a marathon, I decided (as my son likes to say) the juice just wasn’t worth the squeeze and decided to focus on the half marathon distance.

In those early years I ran countless 5k and 10k races and one or two half marathons each year. Then, three years ago, I crossed the 60 yard line of life and thought it might be a good time to shift to fast walking with my wife. She had always been a treadmill gal while I was an outside only guy and the opportunity to exercise together seemed like a good trade-off for both of us.

However, I recently decided that I wasn’t getting what I wanted from walking and set out on a plan to continue walking with my wife and, at the same time, get back to running. I did a run-walk one day just to test the waters and realized that this truly would be a trip back in time if I was going to be running in the future. In fact, I was going to basically have to start over with training runs over (very) short distances just to work back up to running 5k races, and running them at what I would consider a reasonable pace (a run instead of a jog.)

By the way, has anyone ever really defined the difference between jogging and running? I had thought about the idea that jogging means one foot or the other is pretty much always on the ground while running means that there are those tiny moments between steps where you are airborne. However, I was a bit concerned about how I might get categorized under those terms and decided to do an internet search to see what others had to say. It seems there’s a pretty strong consensus across the web that anything over 10 minute miles is classified as jogging and anything equal to or under a 10 minute per mile pace places one in the (clears throat) elite category or a runner. I’m not breaking any speed records, but considering those terms I fall safely in the runner category. However, I digress…

The first thing I did to begin my training regimen was to book myself for two upcoming 5k races. I like having a race to prepare for. I train better and I run better and, believe it or not, I tend to enjoy both more as a result. I ran four one mile runs over four consecutive days and then bumped it up to two miles. As of tomorrow (Friday) I will have run seven consecutive two milers in seven days and plan to have the race on Saturday be my graduation to the three mile distance. The psychological benefit, that comes from the encouragement of a race day crowd, will be a great help in getting me across the finish line on that first (in a long while) three mile run.

From then on, I’ll keep my regular training runs at three miles as I have always done in the past and will give careful consideration as to whether I want to plan on adding any 10k’s or just take the steady-Eddie route and stick to 5k’s. I’m leaning toward the latter with the thought in mind that I don’t want to start climbing that distance ladder again and work back up to half marathon distances. Well, let me offer a caveat on that one. When I retire in a few years, there’s no telling how obsessive I might become with the extra free time to train! 🙂


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