How I went from zero to a 5mile jog in 6 weeks

Six weeks ago, I couldn’t event jog a mile.  This past Thursday, I ran 5miles!! Well, I did four sets of jogging 15 minutes and walking 5, so I didn’t RUN the whole time.  I did complete 60 minutes of jogging and 25 minutes of walking.

Besides my determination, love of the lakefront and burning desire to lose 35lbs, I have to give credit to a few very important tools that helped me achieve my goals

  1. Cool Running’s Couch to 5 K program. This is a free podcast that you can download onto your ipod – I mentioned it in my April 18th post as I was just starting the program.

What I love about the podcast: I’m overall very delighted with the program – who doesn’t love jogging to a cheesy, retro beat!?  Having music to jog to makes such a difference and the run/walk method helped me ease back into jogging with overexerting myself and becoming injured (this has happened before.)

What could be better: I did have to make a slight adjustment.  I’m a VERY slow jogger.  I go at about a 13 – 14 minute pace.  I’m ok with that for now.  I’m not really built for speed and I do get my heart rate up to a very good slow burn of 145+.  The podcasts are definitely created for faster joggers.  So I do the warm up and the middle part twice, then to cool down.  It would be cool if they had similar tapes for slower joggers so we didn’t have to listen to the middle portion twice

  1. Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch

I’ve had this watch for years and typically use it for hiking out west.  It costs about $350 and you can find out more at www.garmin.com I decided to use it on my runs to track my progress.  The watch tracks distance, pace, time and if you are wearing a Garmin heart strap, calories burned.  It also displays your path, which is ideal for hiking, not necessary for most jogs.  You can enter splits, which is helpful for sprints or multiple jogs.   You can also download information to the computer, but I have yet to figure how to do so.

What I love about the Garmin: Accurately tracking distance is such a huge help with my training.  The data geek in me likes to see the progress.  The pace feature be helpful as I work on increasing my speed.

When I hike, the map feature is totally helpful, especially when trying to backtrack.  The watch also has an elevation feature – definitely not necessary for Chicago, super useful when hiking out west.

What could be better: The watch is very clunky and I tried the heart strap, which had an accurate heart rate reading, but I felt the calories were low. It would also be cool if the watch monitored steps – the I wouldn’t have to wear my Garmin, Polar AND pedometer.

  1. Fit Bit! Love, love, LOVE my fit bit! It’s like a pedometer on steroids.  You can see from the pic that it’s a tiny, black clip on device that tracks steps, mileage and calories burned.  You can purchase them at www.fitbit.com for about $100.  I purchased mine on Ebay when they were backordered at the Fitbit website – I paid $175 for mine, and event that was worth it.  All of your information is synced onto your personal fitbit.com webpage.  You just have to have the fitbit usb device plugged into your computer.  If you walk within 15 feet of the device, the info is transmitted to your  web page—sooo cool.

What I love about the fitbit: it’s very convenient to just clip on and go.  It’s also helpful having a visual representation of how many steps I’ve gone each day.  I was so floored to discover that on days when I’m just sitting at my computer I go less than 1,500 steps – floored to the point that it was like a slap in the face.  No wonder I gained 35 lbs!! If the average person should go 10k steps a day and I’m wasn’t event going 2,000 the mystery started to unfold.

Now I make a conscientious effort to walk / jog 45 minutes or more each morning and then in the evening if necessary.  I also try to make time to take public transportation, which increases steps as I get myself to the el / bus

What could be better: I’ve almost lost the fitbit several times while working out.  It would be really helpful if it had some sort of eye hole on the back that I could attach a string through and then tie to a belt loop.  The accuracy on mileage is also off compared to the Garmin, which I’m assuming is more precise because it bases mileage off the gps

  1. Polar heart rate monitor:  I’ve been using a Polar heart rate monitor for years! It tracks my heart rate and calories burned while working out.

What I love about my Polar: Tracking my heart rate during workouts has been essential to my weight loss progress.  When I first starting using the polar, I found that I was actually working out too hard!  I learned that by keeping my heart rate in a fat burning zone rather than a cardio zone, I would burn more fat. I also get in a few cardio workouts a week as that helps keep my heart healthy.

What could be better: It drives me BONKERS that you have to send your polar in to get the battery changed. What drives me MORE BONKERS is that I can’t figure out where to send the stinking watch.  I have about three of them because the batter keeps wearing out and I don’t want to be without one, so I get a new one.  My last one lasted less than a year.


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