From zero to 10k in just three months: The plan is in motion

As a personal trainer and group exercise instructor it can be challenging to get people motivated. I can help them achieve their goals, but ultimately the decision to do it, the drive and the desire can only come from them.  Once someone is motivated, my job is easy.  I offered to help get Bobbi to the Monument Avenue 10k taking place at the end of March and I’ve never met anyone so enthusiastic about getting a program started.

Bobbi Thanksgiving 2010

Bobbi in November 2010. Follow along as we chronicle her trip to the finish line!

Bobbi previously trained for a Half Marathon several years ago.  Unfortunately, she ended up sick, unable to finish her training or lace up for the run.  Life got in the way and she found herself a non-runner once again.  Fortunately, running is forgiving and you can pick it up at any stage in life. With a pair of shoes and a little time for yourself, you’re ready.  I love that running welcomes every age, every level and doesn’t keep track of past disappointments.

Knowing Bobbi’s experience with running, I set up a moderate training schedule.  I wanted a plan that wasn’t intimidating, would allow small victories to keep her energized and would help her cross the finish line with a respectable time. Knowing she’s a super busy girl with a full time job and graduate school on the side, I figured she didn’t have a lot of time to train and needed this for some stress release.

While Bobbi has done the mileage before, it’s been quite some time, so we started out with a run/walk ratio.  Several days a week, we planned for her to run/walk for a set time and finished the week with a mileage marker.  We included some strength work and cross training too, since it’s not all about hitting the pavement, or in her case the treadmill.  I knew right away Bobbi was serious when I received an email immediately after I sent her the training schedule. She let me know she had never run a 7 minute mile in her life and there was no way she was going to be able to do that the first week of training.

After realizing I hadn’t clarified RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) with her, I made sure to note that I wanted her running between a 7 and 8 on a scale of 1-10.  The panic turned into relief when she knew I wasn’t expecting a 7 minute mile, which turned back into excitement to get it started.  Such excitement, she couldn’t sleep the night before.

I texted Bobbi the next morning to get an update and hear about her first workout. I received a discouraged text back that it hadn’t happened.  Technical difficulties with her alarm clock.  Stuff happens, life gets in the way and there are all sorts of things that will try to keep you from your training.  This first day was a perfect example of the type of things that are going to happen in the next 12 weeks, as she prepares for her run.  You cannot quit with small setbacks, we all have them and, honestly, I think the more challenges you have, the stronger runner you become.  It’s important to have a training plan in place, but there has to be some wiggle room.  People get sick kids, projects are due and we have a lot on our plates in this day and age.  A little flexibility gives you some breathing room and makes you want it THAT much more.

Bobbi was excited for her first day on her schedule and that excitement only increased into day 2, after missing the first day.  I was proud of her for a number of reasons.  First off, I’m excited she’s decided to run this in the first place, in some ways that’s the hardest decision.  Secondly, I’m relieved she didn’t allow her first day mishap to begin a downward spiral of excuses.  There hasn’t been a second alarm mishap, we learned from that and moved on, which is what it’s all about.  Little hiccups in life and bumps in the road can’t prevent us from moving forward, we must use them to make us tougher.   I can’t wait to see what we learn in the weeks ahead as Bobbi gets closer to the Monument Avenue 10k. I’m not sure who’s more excited.

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