5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 1

Are you ready to rock 2015? Do you want to change your life, lose weight, get fit, feel amazing? I’m here to help you do just that.

Note: While this is primarily a training program for first time 5kers, starting with Week 2 I will include a plan for runners who have completed a race or two, and now have the goal of running faster. Stay tuned!

While that might sound like a cheesy infomercial, it is not. It’s the truth. I’m going to help you commit to fit in 20-15. Not a resolution to exercise and lose weight. A commitment with a real goal. And that goal is…train and run, really run, a 5k.

Run a 5k

Oh, you say you can’t run. You say you hate running. You say you’ve got bad (fill in the blank) knees, hips, back, etc. I say to you, nonsense! You can learn, if not to love running, at least to enjoy the fresh air, the accomplishment you feel after a run, the way running can help with weight loss and management.

Just ask my friend over at It’s All About Me! Deal With It! If I may quote from her Winter Running post of several years ago, “I still wouldn’t classify myself as one of those people who enjoys running, or experiences the elusive “runner’s high.” But I do enjoy the peace, the calorie burn, the way it makes my body look, and how I feel when I am done doing something only 20% of the population is willing to do.”

Run a 5k 2

So just toss those negative feelings in the trash and head out of the door. DO NOT run. Yes, you heard me right. Do not run. If you are one of those naysayers, reading and saying, “No way, Deb, I tried running, hated it, hurt myself, bored me to death, etc., chances are, if left to your own devices, you would step out that door and run for two or three miles and either hurt your knees, back, or whatever, or simply have such sore muscles the next day you cannot walk, whereupon you say, “I hate running.”

We’re not going to do it that way this time. Now, of course, some of this depends on your level fitness before you start your training. For this first post, we will assume that you are a very beginner. You could probably walk one mile, maybe two, somewhat briskly, at least at the beginning. We’re going to get you started on a 12 week plan that will have you ready to run a 5k at the end. So, the first thing to do is pick up a race schedule, check online, and find a race that is scheduled about three months from now. (If you already run, but would like to run stronger and faster, don’t despair, my next 5k Friday post will have some tips just for you.)

Run a 5k 5

Day One: So, we’re walking out the door. A brisk walk, to be sure, but a walk. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Fresh air, nice sights. I do realize that this is winter, and some of you may need to do this on a treadmill, which is kind of sad, but the workouts are the same. Walk and dream of spring, it will be here before you know it. Now that you’ve walked about eight to 10 minutes, let’s try a little run. Fast, slow, it doesn’t matter. See if you can do it for a minute. Then, stop and walk again. Wasn’t that easy?

Keep walking for about two minutes, then try that minute run again. Do this three more times, finishing with at least five minutes of walking. Do not give in to that type A exerciser, the one who has injured you in the past, and try to run the whole time. Follow my instructions. Oh, and just call me Coach.

Run a 5k 3

This first workout will take about 30 minutes. When you’re done, spend some time stretching, particularly your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips. Check out this post for a great stretching program for runners. It is also helpful to ice your knees and shins.

Day Two: Repeat day one workout. Seriously. You don’t need to increase right away. You need to start slowly, stay healthy and uninjured. Repeat. Day. One.

Day Three: Rest. You can do some strength training if you want, or Yoga, but if you are really out of shape, keep the work out light. You’re easing into that, too.

Run a 5k 6

Day Four: Repeat the day one workout with one change. The running interval can be raised to 90 seconds, while the walking interval in between is lowered to 90 seconds. Don’t forget the stretching and ice.

Day Five: Rest. Totally (no this isn’t an excuse not to mow the lawn or cook dinner).

Day Six: Repeat day four.

Day Seven: You know that day seven is supposed to be. Rest (although again, strength training, yoga, Pilates, extra stretching, are all acceptable rest day activities).

Run a 5k 4

So now you’ve completed your first week of training. While it is true that you aren’t running very much (yet), you’re not injured either. Take a little inventory after week one. How are you feeling? Have you been stretching and icing? While I’m not covering it in this post, healthful eating is important too.

Next week we will continue to slowly add running time and reduce walking. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to invest in a good pair of running shoes. Visit your local running shoe store, where you can be fitted, allowed to actually run a little in your shoes, and someone can help guide you to the best shoe for you.

Check in next Friday for 5k Friday: Week Two of 5k Training. Beginners will receive their next week of training, while more advanced runners will get some advice on running stronger, longer, and faster. Stay tuned!

This post is revised and updated from a beginner 5k program I created several years ago.

Out with the Old…Reviewing 2013 Goals

I actually sat down to write about my goals for 2014, but after a moment’s thought, it seemed appropriate to first take a look back at my goals for 2013, review my success or failure in achieving them, and then move forward. After all, what is the point of making goals/resolutions if you don’t take the steps to accomplish them?

First my Fitness Goals for 2013

Reviewing 2013 goals

1. Get back into real racing shape.

Accomplished! I really trained for and ran two half marathons last year. In my second race, the Costume Party Run, I came within 11 seconds of my 2:00 goal (even in costume!). I also ran two 5ks, taking off almost two minutes from the first to the second.

2. Get back to Yoga.

Um, failure. I started off with great intentions, but for some reason when life interferes yoga is the first thing that gets dropped. I’m pretty sure you will see this on my 2014 list. I love yoga (and everything it does for me), so I’m not giving up.

3. Get back to the Gym.

Another semi-failure. I didn’t stay consistent, though I do still teach my strength classes, so I’m not a total weakling.

My 2013 Blogging Goals

Reviewing 2013 goals

1. Increase my readership.

Mission accomplished. A few ups and downs, but my numbers have pretty much doubled since last January!

2. Learn more about SEO.

Well, kinda, sorta, not really. I try to practice what little I understand. Maybe I’m doing something right though (see #1).

3. Improve my social networking skills.

I have improved. I could still do more.

(You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram if you’d like to see my progress!)

4. Publish more video.

I did this for a while, mostly workouts. Time and space is a factor, and I haven’t done a video for several months. I do feel more comfortable in front of a camera though.

5. Improve my photography skills.

Confession: Most of my pictures are taken with my iphone (and now my Note 3). Though since I received a tripod for Christmas my SLR camera has been set up and ready to go. So, I guess that means I failed at this goal.

So, I was about 50/50 with achieving my goals. I am actually okay with that, but I hope plan to do better this year.

2014 Goal Post coming soon! And I will definitely be following my own advice on creating and achieving my goals for 2014!

Happy New Year! Did you achieve your 2013 goals? Do you have a big goal or resolution for 2014?

4 Tips for Creating and Achieving Your Goals in 2014

Whether you call them resolutions, goals, or plans, many people tend to start off the new year with the idea of creating some kind of change in their life. Losing weight, changing careers, running a marathon, or quitting smoking, are a few things that are frequently chosen as potentially life changing goals.

And just as frequently these goals are forgotten, put aside or given up on by February 1.

There is a lot of advice our there offering advice on how to be successful with your new year’s resolutions. Here are a few more tips that can help you both pick achievable goals, and then actually achieve them.

Don’t be afraid to pick a big goal.

While goals should be reachable, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Want to run that marathon? Go for it! Need to lose 100 pounds? You can! In fact, having a big goal is motivating and exciting.

Break it down.

The key to success in achieving your BHAG is to start by creating a series of smaller goals that lead you to your final destination.

For example, if you plan to run your first marathon, sit down and create a plan to do so. Not a training plan, but the steps you need to take to get you to your destination.

To run a marathon, some lead up goals might be to build a mileage base, run a few shorter races, join a running club, actually choosing and signing up for a marathon. Write these down, create a timeline, then tick them off as you achieve them, knowing that each is leading you to your larger goal.

Losing weight is such a common resolution, yet it is so rarely achieved. If this is your ultimate goal, whether it is 10 pounds or 100, start by planning your smaller goals. Don’t just say just want to lose 10 pounds a month, say something like I will lose 10 pounds in the next six weeks. To do that I will eat smaller portions, take a daily walk, and choose healthier snacks. It can be broken down even further. This week I will skip fast food by bringing lunches to work. I will go to the gym three times and walk or run at least four times.

These are all small, achievable goals that will take you where you want to go. You must take the time to plan, think them out, and write them down before you start.

Hold yourself accountable

Believe me. You will not achieve lasting success with your goals if you do not find some way to hold yourself accountable. You need to own your resolutions, be proud of yourself for attempting to make these huge changes in your life.

Let me tell you a little story. I smoked cigarettes for almost 20 years. I made the usual attempts to quit. I even stopped altogether for a few years (while I had babies..stupid to smoke but not that stupid). I always started up again.

What was I doing wrong? I finally announced to everyone I knew that I was going to quit. I didn’t ask them to call me out, but simply the fact that they knew helped me to stick with it.

This was a long time ago. These days a great way to hold yourself publicly accountable is to start a blog dedicated to achieving your goal, where you can post your successes, vocalize your fears and get feedback from your readers.

If a public blog isn’t your cup of tea, a journal or log is still a great way to track your success and motivate yourself. If you know you have to write it down you’re much less likely to eat that second dessert, skip that workout, or strike that match, even if you are the only one reading.

Remember: S*%t Happens

There are obstacles in our path no matter what we are doing, so you can  expect that there will be challenges along the road to your goal. Realizing this before you start will help you overcome the obstacles. Injury, job changes, divorce, are all things that can throw a wrench in your plans, so prepare ahead of time so they won’t throw you off your stride.

Think about this, write it down so you’ll have it to refer to. How will you make your goal a priority on spite of the challenges?

And remember. If you do miss a workout, give in to the urge for a second dessert, smoke a cigarette, or generally lose track of your goal for a day or even a week, it is not over. Don’t give up. Get right back on it, forgive yourself, and move on, keeping both the small goals and your BHAG in mind.

What is your BHAG? The new year is upon us. What is your goal, resolution, or plan for 2014?

I’ll get us started by sharing mine. My first step to keep myself accountable. I want to run a marathon in 2014. It has been about seven years since my last one, and I haven’t really wanted to start the training again (ugh, 20 milers), but lately I’ve been feeling the bug. I haven’t picked one yet (suggestions?), but I’ll announce right here, right now, marathon #36, here I come!

2013 Blog Goals and a New Blog Design!

Blog Goals

My plan for this week, since I had a few days off, was to write a few blog posts, first wrapping up and reviewing 2012, then laying out my personal, fitness, and blog goals for the new year. Well, you know what they say about plans. Between family and illness, nothing not much of that was done.

So, playing catch up now, I decided to lead with my blog goal post because, as you may have noticed, I have a new theme design! I’ll tell you more about it below, but the timing is perfect and I’m very happy with my clean, new “look.”

Before setting goals for 2013, I needed to take a moment to look back at 2012 and the plans I made a year ago. While I probably should have been reading it from time to time throughout the year, suffice it to say that today was the first time in a while that I had taken a look.

Fortunately, I didn’t have a long list of goals. I say fortunately because with only four blogging goals set for 2012, I can honestly say that I kept 50% of them. I have increased my readership, more than threefold, in the last year. I’ve done this by posting more often (another goal completed), practicing better SEO (search engine optimization), and by joining some wonderful blogging groups, who share their knowledge and experience, not to mention their social networking.

The goals that I did not fully achieve were actually series posts that I planned. I wanted to write more about La Quinta and my desert area. I have done that to a certain extent, but not as a weekly series. I also planned to make vegan food a weekly event, either a recipe, restaurant, or product review. Again, I did post more recipes and reviews, just not as frequently as I’d planned. So, not a total fail.

And I’m okay with that. I like the mix that I have right now on my blog. I have several series that I enjoy writing, although keeping consistent with them has been a challenge. Remember Workout Wednesday? Weekly Reader? And even my new series, Thursday Thoughts (if you can call one post a series)? I also love writing about my family, dogs, running, yoga, and training. So I’m going to keep doing all of that. And if it doesn’t happen every week, so be it.

So, here are my Blog Goals for 2013:

  • I will continue to increase my readership. Yes, I have three times as many readers as a year ago, but I’m greedy. I want more. To do that, I will need to keep writing quality posts that educate, amuse, and make you think. I will get back to my series posts, and publish as frequently as I possibly can while still writing worthwhile posts.
  • I will learn more about SEO. I have skimmed the edges, but there is a lot of information and I need to understand it.
  • I will improve my social networking skills. Yes, I use all the main social networks, but I know that there are improvements to be made there.
  • I will publish more video. Vlogs are the future and I need to stick with it. I have done some workout videos, and some basic vlogs, but I want to improve my skills at shooting and editing video.
  • I will improve my photography skills. Last year I got a SLR camera, this year I got a zoom lens, now it’s finally time to take a course (or at least read) and learn how to use it properly. Time to move beyond “auto.”

One cannot just put forth vague goals without having a plan for how to achieve them, though. To that end, I am so excited to have signed up for the 2013 Blog Improvement Challenge presented by Rita Barry over at Blog Genie. It is a year long workshop and training course, and each month we will be covering many of the things that I mentioned above, plus many other ways to be a better blogger. It starts in just a few days and I can hardly wait! Our first month will cover “Planning to Succeed.” There are still a couple days to sign up, so check it out!

On of the perks I received for signing up early for the challenge was a new theme for my blog, professionally installed by Rita. I really love the crisp, clean look, and feel like my new design is a great way to kick off 2013.

I would like to wish all of you a most happy, healthy and successful new year. May all your dreams come true, and your plans come to fruition. And I thank all of you for helping make my year a much better one.

So, 2013 is off and running. How did you spend your first day of the new year? Do you have any goals, plans, intentions, or resolutions you’d like to share (a link is okay)?