Run for Your Life

Tomorrow, Troy and I officially start the Cool Running Couch-to-5k Running Program. The late cold weather delayed us several times this month, but now it looks like weather for both of us will be more cooperative this week and we’re going to get started. Anyone else feel like joining us?

I spent some time the last few days preparing for the program. I’ve never been much of a runner, so I’m doing everything I can to eliminate excuses and make it as fun as possible before I even get started. I set up some running tunes on my iPod nano (lots of punk and metal), injected a little tech geekery by setting up a Nike+ account, and selected Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell” as my PowerSong.

I’m finding the Nike+ site is flexible with its goals and resolutions, letting experienced runners set up marathons and sprints or allowing folks like me to set simpler goals. For now I’ve set a goal to run 10 times over the next four weeks, which should be a piece of cake if I follow the Cool Running program properly. It recommends running three days a week, so if I stick to it I should hit 12 runs. I’ve made my progress public here, and there’s also a new widget to track my goal in the sidebar of my blog.

I’ve mentioned the plan to several of my friends and family member, and by far the first question they ask is “Why?” Two reasons: lose more weight and to increase my endurance.

I’ve already mentioned I lost about 35 pounds in my first year of karate, and there’s no question it has helped me make dramatic improvements in my overall health. However, my weight loss has kind of stalled out since December. I’m thinking I’m making a trade off by packing on new muscle, but in general I’m floating in the same five-pound range and I wonder if I’ve hit a plateau. A running program should help me get past that point and burn off some more fat.

The endurance is also karate related; when I spar, I come away gasping for breath. The matches rarely go the full two minutes allotted, and they’re mostly bursts of activity rather than constant motion because we’d trade a few blows, one of us would score, and the judge would call a quick stop to award a point and reset. The few times we’ve done Judo matches I’ve been even more exhausted, and in one match my body just about quit on me before the match was over. Don’t get me wrong, I expect to be at least winded. However, I feel like I should be able to last longer than I do, and that I should be less exhausted and recover faster when a match is over.

As a bonus it will help my endurance when we do our hundred front kicks, ideally preparing me for having to do 500 front kicks in a black belt test at some point in the future. It should also be helpful for running strings of wazas in rapid succession. For example, running the first four ippon kumite katas out of kiba dachi for my first review as a blue belt wasn’t terrible, but those numbers will increase as I climb in rank and I’ll perform the technique to multiple directions, so I had best prepare now.

So the motivation is there and my intentions are good. Let’s see if I can’t make this happen.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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  1. Troy says:

    One day down, 26 to go!

    Damn, I’m old, out of shape and tired as hell!

    Heading to burn now,