As I made my previous post I noticed something while linking to the Imaginet (gratuitous link) web site. Once again Imaginet is supporting the Manitoba Marathon with our Hard Drive to the Finish Contest, and it reminded me that I haven't yet blogged about something I've been doing over the last several weeks: running.
My wife and I signed up for a Learn To Run class at our local Running Room, which began about 5 weeks ago. If you're wondering how you learn to run, it is not as simple as the instructor simply throwing us into a gymnasium with a polar bear and telling us to survive until time is up. No, running is a little more involved than that.
The course is 10 weeks long, with one day each week devoted to an instructional presentation. So far we have learned how to properly select shoes, what sort of clothing to wear, how to best incorporate cross-training into our exercise plans, and most recently about how heart rate monitoring can be used to both pace yourself and as an indicator for whether you are actually working as hard as you think are (the likely answer: you're not).
After the instructional portion we go out in a pack and run for 25 minutes or so. The first week started with "1 and 1's", which is to say that for every minute we ran, we then walked a minute. This has been boosted as we progressed to where some of us are currently on "6 and 1's" and others are on "4 and 1's". By the end of the 10 weeks we should all be able to do "10 and 1's" as well as run 5k in duration.
Beyond the once-a-week instruction/run class, students are expected to run two more times during the week. Many of us meet up on Wednesdays to run together, which is nice, and just leaves one run to do alone. My wife and I have taken to bringing our dog Molly along with us on many of our runs, although I'm starting to worry that it might be bad for her to try to run too much as we get running for longer times and distances. I intend to speak with the vet about it this week, at which point I will post their advice here.
The bottom line in all of this: I've discovered that running is actually really fun! I'm not sure I would ever want to give up all of the team sports that I enjoy so much (hooray for Ultimate starting soon!) to focus solely on running, but it certainly is something I intend to continue doing after the class ends. I can't recommend a program like the Learn To Run class highly enough, and I encourage anyone who is even remotely interested to go sign up for something similar. You won't regret it!
And to tie this all together, my wife and I will be running in the relay portion of the Manitoba Marathon this spring. I ran it two years ago without any training of any sort, and while I gutted it out and did ok, I had no idea how to pace myself and the last mile was excruciating. This year I intend to have a goal in terms of time, as well as a goal to pace myself better and not feel terrible by the end. Next year I want to run the half-marathon, so that is my longer term goal... but one thing at a time!