Even though Gretel and I started our path to better fitness on December 31st, Tuesday was our first “run” of the Pooch to 5k training program.
I know it’s very important for people to be active on a regular basis. I can feel how important it is! I haven’t regularly and consistently done any endurance fitness activities for years and I can feel it. I get winded just going up a flight of stairs!
The same goes for dogs too though. Our friends over at SlimDoggy recently wrote about the benefits of canine endurance training. Dogs who are “weekend warriors” and aren’t active several times a week can get injured when they do go out.
I am pretty sure I have publicly “committed” to this 5k goal before but I never did it. Life always got in the way. I am not going to let it this year. It’s sure not going to be easy though.
I remember from my marathon training days that it takes A LOT of mental fortitude to stick with something like this. You just have to set your mind to it and get outside whether you feel like it or not. It also takes planning and making it a priority in your weekly schedule. I know that not everything in life can be set aside but, honestly, it does take prioritizing the training over some “important” things like going to the movies with friends.
Since Gretel is a dog and sucks at planning, the responsibility for making this happen falls on me 🙂
So how did we do the first week? Well, we did it! It wasn’t easy!
I’m proud though. Yeah, I am painfully aware that it’s not too hard to stick with a goal for a week. It’s keeping at it that is the real challenge. However, I learned last year that I need to celebrate the baby steps so I’m going to.
I found out there are so many “little reminders” I’ll have to experience all over again.
One day I put off our run/walk until it was almost too dark. Yes, we can run in the dark if we have all of the lights and reflectors on but I prefer not to. We WILL do it if it’s the only way we can make it happen though. So the reminder here was to pay attention to daylight hours and to dig out all of our safety lights in case we need them.
I have to find a new system to carry my water, keys, cell phone, poop bags, etc. while I’m running. While I LOVE my Dog Mom purse, it’s not practical for running. I have the waist pack that I used 10 years ago but it was “not the worst” system even back then. It was the best I could find but still not ideal. I know that running accessories have come a long way in 10 years so I need to revisit my options.
I have to get the meal timing down again. I know from my past experience that I need to wait at least an hour after eating to run. I know that dogs can get bloat – a serious and sometimes deadly condition – if they vigorously exercise right before or after eating. From what I’ve read, you should wait one hour after feeding to exercise your dog, and not feed them until one hour after the exercise, to help prevent it. That means I have to coordinate BOTH meals – Gretel’s and mine – around our Pooch to 5k training.
I have to remember that some days everything will go wrong and that’s ok. This week, we started with the easiest running and walking routine in the Pooch to 5k program. I REALLY didn’t want to do it. I forced myself out the door only to find that the battery my Fitbit, that I use to track my time and distance with, was almost dead. My calves hurt and I felt like I was starting to get shin splints. Gretel refused to run. She has NEVER refused to run, even when the temperature was colder and it was rainy. I had to carry her back to the house while I walked briskly to get my heart rate up and finish the jog alone.
I have to finally accept that Chester can’t come running with us. He fools me because he will break out in a run when we walk or hike but then he becomes an anchor when I want to get some real running done. I know I walk faster during the Pooch to 5k training sessions than I do on a hike or casual stroll. He just doesn’t keep up (which is totally understandable – he’s old) so I end up stretched out with one dog pulling and one dragging. It makes me sad that he can’t come though.
I know all of this will get easier as Gretel and I get further into the training. If all goes well, we should be ready in April.