With the Beginner Program Complete, What Comes Next?

Nutmeg

Meg has written 31 posts on Salty Running.

I'm a married, step-mother, the 4th of 5 kids. I'm livin' the dream as a manager in retail, putting that English degree to great use. Oh, and I'm sarcastic.

Station Clock

Tick Tock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few weeks ago I thought I would never get beyond the 20 minute mark. It seemed like it was a race between me and the clock…and the clock was certainly winning.

With the advice and comments on my frustrated blog post, I decided to put the racing blinders on…and started leaving the watch at home. I also set my Nike+ to a basic, open-ended workout so the Nike+ Lady wouldn’t tell me my time. Finally, to really lock myself into running by feel I went a different route so I wouldn’t know the time based on landmarks, either. And I just…ran. I ran so far away…or so I thought.

Viertelschalenzaum geschlossene Schalen

What watch? I don’t see a watch.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I stopped, I thought I would be so impressed with the time, and I eagerly checked in with my iPod. UGH! It ended up that I had only gone 20 minutes. It was so frustrating, like 20 minutes would keep haunting me!

BUT (a big but, I cannot lie), I tried again the next run and the next. The mind chatter slowed down and my inner cheerleader kicked in to high gear. A lot of this change I credit to the support from the Salties and the Salty readers.

Podcasts loaded? Check. Watch left on the counter? Check. New shoes tied and ready? Check.

And, I’m off!

I kept pushing myself and the next thing I knew, I was running longer. Getting to the 3 mile mark seemed like it was now in the realm of possibility. What an amazing feeling! Was this a runner’s high?

In the last week, I managed to run a little over 30 minutes to reach 5k on two of my morning runs! Really, I did! I did that!!!

My racing debut will be October 27th! (http://www.denvergorillarun.com)

Hitting 5k was a relief because I’m coming up on my first 5k at the end of the month. Granted, I’ll be in a gorilla suit for the race, so who knows how my body will respond to that one. I don’t recall gorilla suits being part of Rosemary’s temperature-based formula for running attire.

Ok, so what’s next? I know I can run more than 20 minutes. 3 miles of running is no longer a distant goal. Lately, I just go out and do my thing. As long as I get out there, I haven’t really thought about where I should be heading next. I like the freedom I’ve had, but I’m still such a newbie to this world of running. I’m not sure what kinds of goals I should work toward now.

Ok, Santa hasn’t come to the mall yet, but other signs of the Holiday season have. (I’m lucky to have this Santa all year since I’m married to him.)

What is the program after the Salty Beginner Plan? The Salty Less-of-a-Beginner Plan? I think I need to get some kind of structure back now. Maybe I can start talking the talk and running the run (yeah, it doesn’t rhyme, but this is a running blog after all). I want to be able to know pacing and things like splits. Should I be learning these kinds of things yet? Or, should I just focus on increasing how much time and distance I can go without dying? The most stressful time of the retail year is approaching and running may very well be my saving grace throughout the season. I’m sure there will be days when I just want to run free and hard. However, I think getting into a structured program will also help balance out the consumer chaos that will consume my co-workers and me.

So, Salty Community, what’s the plan?

6 Responses to “With the Beginner Program Complete, What Comes Next?”

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  1. Mint says:

    I recommend that you keep doing exactly what you are doing, enjoy your first 5k (and tell us all about it!). Keep it up and maybe even do another 5k. Then when spring rolls around, hopefully you’ll have found a whole new comfort level with your running and your abilities. I wouldn’t jump to another goal just yet because it may very well put too much pressure on you too early. Find your running mojo and keep at it – I think you’ll be surprised at where you are in the spring.

  2. Mint says:

    Oh, and I forgot the most important part: CONGRATS!! That is awesome that you have come so far!!

  3. Diane H says:

    Way to go!!! Maybe set a goal for a spring race? A 5k or a 10k? The feeling of accomplishment after a race is a high that lasts a while! Get some girlfriends to sign up too and it becomes a girls-day with a mission! Congratulations again!!

  4. Salty Salty says:

    WHOA! You are kicking butt!!! WAY TO GO! A few months ago, I bet you’d be shocked you’re doing what you’re doing now!

    As for where to go from here, I agree with Mindi to an extent, but I think we can come up with a plan that keeps things moving forward for you. The plan doesn’t need to be super strict or include any major goals beyond basic improvements. I think it would be helpful for you to have some checkpoints and some structure to your running weeks. Not a lot, necessarily, but some. I’m working on it!

  5. Leah says:

    Congrats! Isn’t that first time hitting 5k the best? Realizing you’ve finally done it? Ah, I love that feeling every time I hit a new distance record. After I did my first 5k, I did a couple more and just tried to shave off time as I could, then registered for a 10k. The leap from the 5k to 10k was really scary to me… scarier than 10k to half marathon, which is what I’m working on now. Then again, the feeling is incredible when you get to your goal!

  6. Dawn says:

    For now, I would just keep focusing on increasing your distance OR pace (it’s rough to do both). Experiment with longer distances. Figure out what you like. Get a few more races under your belt. Really, you never have to worry about things like pacing and splits if you don’t want to. You’ll know it’s time to worry about them when you find yourself really wanting to go after a specific time goal in a distance that you’ve raced several times.

    In fact, with your super-busy season coming up, I would just focus on getting into a steady rhythm/routine. If work is stressful, you don’t want the added stress of trying to stick to a challenging training plan (I know from experience – only madness lies that way). A good goal might be 30 minutes 3 days/week with a slightly longer run on the weekends (work up to 45-60 minutes). Or just run for 30 minutes 3-4 days/week. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep it FUN. That’ll make you more likely to stick with it when the rest of your life goes nuts for the holidays.

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