January 11 – The Quickening

I focused on how my feet hit the ground. I kept thinking: heel and toe, heel and toe…as I landed each step.

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Jan11 PaceMelissa took in midday sun for her 5K challenge walk today. She caught some rays and walked the hellacious hill that’s just a mile south of our house. We usually use that hill as part of our training course, but she added it to her daily 5K. To her credit, she actually walked about 3.5 miles, so I shouldn’t even mention her or her overachieving efforts. But she deserves kudos for making a better effort than I did, so there it is.

I, on the other hand, had to wait until after work to hit the bricks for my daily 5K treat, but it was a great day for me. Almost no pain of any kind. It was very warm–in fact, too warm for what I was wearing, but it was good to sweat a little. The block that’s just across the street from my house is 0.56 miles in size, so I decided to take that on for today’s 5K challenge. Due to my attention surplus disorder, I only made it around that block three-and-a-half times, before veering off onto the block that’s just south of that one.

The block across the street has two level ends and a long hill for the long portion. It’s a rectangle–a classic rectangle. The hill is approximately 20 feet in height difference from the low end to the high end, so I didn’t stick with my ‘level ground’ habit for the other days this week.

My pace was an excellent, as you can see from the picture above of my MapMyWalk app. Today’s pace average was 13:03 minutes per mile and a total time of 40:31 minutes. I’m very happy with this time. I didn’t feel stressed or pushed. I just decided to jog as much as I walked, so if I walked for a particular distance, I also jogged that same distance. It worked.

I focused on how my feet hit the ground. I kept thinking: heel and toe, heel and toe…as I landed each step. Proper form makes you less tired and feels better. It also reduces the likelihood of injuries. To further illustrate the importance of posture and foot positioning during walking and jogging, I’ll leave you with this informative video on the topic.

#5KaDay2017

January 10 – Making the Hesses Great Again

I think a good combination of stretching, lighter eating, and a focus on my pace helped me to get to this level faster than normal.

StrengthMelissa and I walked separately again today. I’m not sure how she did because she knows her performance will end up in this blog, but I’m sure she did well. She walks faster than anyone I know. She’s very difficult for me to keep up with, although my legs are longer. When we’re really in shape and competitive, I have to jog every now and then to keep up with her because she gets so far ahead of me. I just don’t have a very fast walking gait. 4.0 miles per hour is kind of the upper limit for me and I can’t sustain it for long.

My walk tonight was very good. I jogged a bit more and had the usual tightening about a mile or so into the 5K, but nothing so bad that I couldn’t get through it. Tonight’s stats for me were an average pace of 13:58 minutes per mile and a total time of 43:19. I’m quite happy with that. I’d be happy to stay at that pace for a while.

I think a good combination of stretching, lighter eating, and a focus on my pace helped me to get to this level faster than normal.

When you’re walking and jogging, focus on what you’re doing. Think about your pace. Think about how your feet land on the sidewalk, street, or track. Think about your breathing. Keep your head up so that you’re looking forward, because you’ll get more air that way. If you have your head bent over, looking at the ground, you won’t get as much oxygen.

Be sure to share these posts on social media with the hashtag: #5KaDay2017

January 9 – Staggering Results

You have to push yourself just a little bit in order to train.

Watch for ImprovementsI just returned home after a nice walk in my neighborhood and it felt good to return the sidewalks and to the streets for a change. The temperature wasn’t devastatingly cold today, so Melissa and I both went for our walks, but 40 minutes apart. She decided to go ahead and get her walk in because our daughter needs a ride home from school at random times, so we stagger. I guess it’s OK to not walk together once in a while. Neither of us feels compelled to outpace the other. Her pace is usually better than mine, so don’t assume anything.

My stats today were: 48:18 minutes at an average pace of 15:12 minutes per mile. I’m quite happy with that. Only a little tightening and pain today from my shin muscles around the 1.5 mile mark. I walked through it and came out OK. A 15 minute per mile pace is respectable. I did it by staying on level ground–or as level as possible in my neighborhood, which isn’t easy.

Melissa’s pace was off a bit at around 16:48, as best can recall. Seriously, anything below 20 minutes per mile is doing pretty well. That’s just my opinion, though. However, if your pace is much over 20 minutes per mile, you need to adjust something, because that’s a very slow walking pace. That’s more of a leisurely stroll. You have to push yourself just a little bit in order to train. You don’t have to experience excruciating pain, but a little muscle soreness lets you know that you’re working muscles harder than usual, which is the whole point.

I don’t know what your specific goals are for your workouts, but I’ll share mine with you. When I was younger, I was a sprinter. I could outrun just about anyone on two feet. I ran a very fast 100 yard (Yes, yard) dash at 10.2 seconds. I don’t recall my 220 or 440, but they were respectable as well. Now, I know I’ll never get back to my 10.2 second 100 yard dash days, but my goal is to be able to run/jog an entire 5K this year. Additionally, my weight goal is to lose 20 pounds. My current morning weight is 232.6 pounds and I’ll keep you posted of my progress.

January 3 – An ill wind

Suffering the slings and arrows all in the name of fitness and to face this challenge head on. Day 3 done. No blues here.

5KMelissa did her 5K indoors today at a gym on a treadmill, which is fine, considering how cold it was here today. The cold plus the wind makes for a very good excuse to stay indoors. It was so cold and windy when I went out at lunch, I almost didn’t go. I did go, however, and I drove instead of taking my walk to the little diner I frequent for lunch.

By the time I got home, it was dark again, so no picture of me claiming victory over the elements. I did my 5K outside in the wind and cold. My performance wasn’t spectacular today. An average of 14:14 minutes per mile. Not bad, but not great either. However, let me say that I had to motivate myself just to do it at all in the cold. My best pace was 8:14, but of course, that is only sustained for a few minutes during my downhill jogs. In all, it was a good 5K and I’m happy with it. I did it and I finished, so that can’t be bad.

At mile two, I suffered a bit with the cold air. I suggest that you wear a scarf over your face so that you don’t breathe in so much cold air because it hurts. It hurts my chest and throat to breathe it in. Suffering the slings and arrows all in the name of fitness and to face this challenge head on. Day 3 done. No blues here.

January 2 – Dark Days

My basic strategy for this 5K, and all races really, is to jog the downhills to increase my overall pace.

No picture today I’m afraid because it was dark by the time I got home, changed, and hit the road for my second 5K. I decided that today I’m going to do the jog/walk strategy and see what kind of time I can turn in. It is my own personal challenge and is not part of any workout format or online routine. It’s just something I decided to do in the moment. According to the MapMyWalk iPhone app, I covered 3.12 miles in 39:35 minutes, which is approximately 12:42 per mile. Not bad considering that my walking average is somewhere between 15 and 16 minutes.

I also wear my Withings Activite Watch that measure steps by arm swings. It is pretty accurate, but be aware that it isn’t precise. In a 5K walk, I lose about 500 steps, so that’s something to consider. I suggest using a geo-tracking device or app to give you a more accurate measurement. Step watches aren’t bad, but they just can’t compare to their satellite-based competitors.

My basic strategy for this 5K, and all races really, is to jog the downhills to increase my overall pace. I don’t jog fast, but jogging is at least twice as fast as walking, so I use it to get those lower mile per minute numbers. I also sometimes jog level ground, after I’ve caught my breath a bit. No, 12:42 won’t win any medals, but it also puts me far from the back of the pack, so I’m happy with it.

Melissa walked her 5K today on her own. She didn’t provide any details. To her credit, she has been sick for a week and does well to get out and walk 3 miles. Kudos to her for being dedicated to our challenge.

January 1 – The Starting Line

January 1, 2017Our first 5K was uneventful. It was a chilly 45 degrees with a South wind that we were glad to have at our backs at the halfway point. No records broken, but we completed it, although Melissa was sick. A good start, but as we were within 20 yards of our house, Melissa said, “Only 364 more to go.” She always knows exactly what to say.