Warming Up

running in Wittlich, Germany last year

Thinking of running? It’s the season to begin 10 week programs. Most people seem to use the Couch to 5k plan, but I’d like to recommend another plan.  The Couch to 5k plan is popular and I have used it twice with my Weight Watchers members to train for a 5k, but the First Steps plan from Runner’s World is the one I’d recommend. It’s the one I used myself a few years back and it’s the one I’m using with the kids and a few of the judo students and coaches we’re training with for this year’s YMCA 5k Run.

The time intervals are clear and easy to remember. And remembering the intervals in the middle of a training session is pretty important.  The weeks build endurance steadily, with no sudden jumps. The Couch to 5k plan has at least one week that contains an abrupt shift.

When I did the plan, I was explicitly not training for a race. I wanted a no-pressure entry into the world of running. I took about 16 weeks to complete it since I repeated any week that felt hard.  But the plan will train you enough for a 5k: being able to run for 30 minutes + the excitement of the event= all that you need.

We’re one week into the plan for the kids.  The rain, the snowstorm, and now the oodles of meltwater have made this an exciting week to be training as a family.  But the kids are excited, remembering how wonderful and powerful it felt to finish the races they did last year.  We’re warming up for a great season of running, and possibly even triathlons.  Tias is definitely doing some of the Kids of Steel events again, and Sandra and I just might put our toes in the water.  Rainer’s got races and travel plans coordinated and cross referenced all over the prairies.  He’s training to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a true achievement in the amateur world. He needs to shave 11 minutes off his marathon time. We’re all crossing our fingers for him.

Simmern Triathlon
triathlon in Simmern, Germany last summer


12 thoughts on “Warming Up

  1. Annie says:

    Sarah, your running posts are so good to read. Do you know about http://www.kidsrunning.org? It’s probably too basic for your kids, but it’s a marathon (or ultra-marathon) program for kids, in which they train running and then run the last mile of their 26.2 miles at a city marathon– it might be a good way to get Sandra’s toes wet.

  2. Chrissy says:

    Thank you! Thank you!

    My family has decided to participate in our annual 5K next February. We are also trying to find a way to get the kids conditioned to walking long distances since we are going to Disney World this December.

    Thank you again.

  3. Gudrun says:

    Wow! I’m so impressed….I’m a terrible runner but every now and then imagine myself actually completing something like a 5k…so great that your kids are into this too!

  4. Charity says:

    What a great way to pull together as a family! And thank you for the link to the First Steps plan – I’ve been looking at the Couch to 5k plan, trying to gear myself up to give it a go, perhaps checking this one out will motivate me to get out there (soon. It’s still dangerously icy here. Sigh.)

  5. Jimena says:

    Wow. I read your running posts and it’s like a glimpse into another world, and I wonder how anyone can be so dedicated to something that requires such effort and causes such physical discomfort.

    …and then I remember that we spend a great deal of our time in a dojang, running and jumping and kicking and sweating, and realize your world isn’t that different from mine after all 😉

  6. Rainer says:

    I enjoyed running with the kids and Judo people this week. I actually thought a lot about running in Germany over the last week.
    List of events for me:
    2 Marathons
    2 Half-Marathons
    2 Sprint Triathlons
    2 Olympic Triathlons
    1 Indoor Triathlon

    Love Rainer

  7. Lisa says:

    I had no idea there were kid’s Iron Man events. What an awesome thing for your guy to do. I trained for marathon back in 2000 [before my knees went] it was an amazing thing to do. The discipline involved equals that gained from Latin or formal logic any day!

  8. Constance says:

    I also used the Runner’s World plan and thought it was great! Just thought I’d let people know that the May 2009 issue of RW is a beginners issue. Good luck with your events!

  9. renee @ FIMBY says:

    Wow, way to go. My parents (in their 50’s) are marathon runners and have both competed a couple times in the Boston Marathon. For years they lived on the AB prairie and ran races all over that part of the country. Now they live in NS and run in that part on the east coast. My mom writes about running and life on her blog:


    You might enjoy it. My parents fitness level puts me to shame. I’m no slouch, I love hiking and such but I can’t imagine running marathons!

  10. Sarah says:

    Hey! I just wanted to tell you that your suggestion of the RW program came at the perfect time for me. I’m on week five and so, so proud of myself. I can’t believe that I can run for eight minutes straight! The thought that in five more weeks I might be able to run for thirty minutes straight thrills me, and I’ve never found *any* thrill in *any* exercise before – especially running!

    Since this post of yours is older, I don’t feel like I’ll be comment spamming to post a link to my blog post about it for you to read – http://localfoodblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-am-beyond-proud-of-myself.html

    Here’s to 5 1/2 more weeks!

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