Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My New (Invisible) Running Partner: Robert

It's a new year and resolutions have been resolved (and even broken, sadly). Mine was to get back into running. After my peak of running the Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf 10K last summer, my running fell off a cliff. I don't even really know why. Somehow I went from training for a 10K to not running at all, except for the occasional slow plod on the treadmill at the gym while watching the wacky women on The View.

A friend and her sister told me about their new plan to get in shape and lose the last blobs of baby weight. It's called "From Couch Potato to 5K". It's a beginner's training program that has you walk and jog in slow intervals and takes you from doing no exercise to being able to run 3 miles in about 2 months. You can find it on, but even better, you can download a podcast of it on ITunes. I somehow got my better half to agree to try this with me. Luckily, he did the hard technical stuff, like unearthing our Ipod, charging it up again and downloading the Podcasts. A warning to those of you hitting the gym again after a long break: It turns out the Ipod Shuffle is not machine washable! Left mine clipped to my gym clothes and it came out of my washing machine looking shiny, new and totally broken.

The great thing about doing a training program with a podcast playing in your ears is how little you have to think or even wear a watch. Needing a watch to time my workout intervals is tricky since I can never find it. The digital running watch I've had for years recently became part of Boy Wonder's superhero costumes. Ever since he began strapping it onto his wrist to talk to Commission Gordon, I can't find it.

I turn on the Ipod and there's Robert, my mellow 43-year old friend who decided to take up running again on his birthday. Go Robert! He has selected all sorts of dubious techno music snippets that he plays for the right length of time while I run. He usually ends the running intervals with little encouraging words about how great I'm doing. Really? I am? All right then. This all may sound cheezy and simplistic, but you won't know until you try it. It's refreshingly mindless to have someone talking you through a workout, and it even saves me from my own bad workout music mixes. An example: I ended up running Wharf to Wharf alternating between Madonna and the 8 Mile soundtrack.

Time will tell if I can stick to this program. But for ease of use and the slow build-up from lazybones to running wonder, it's hard to beat the couch potato to 5K plan.

1 comment:

jstinmn said...

Erica, you crack me up! I did the same exact thing. Ran a 10K in October and then got reacquainted with my sloppy self. How is it so easy to just stop exercising? I'm signed up to run a 10K in April. I had to or else I'd continue to be a sloth. Unfortunately, I'm off to a very slow start. Thanks for introducing me to Robert. I think he and I will become friends too! And, maybe I'll be able to run all of the 10K!