Just a few days ago my city was filled with over 40,000 runners, joggers, and walkers – all participating in the Ottawa Race Weekend. With a wide range of race lengths, there really is something for everyone, from a kids 2km race to a full marathon.
Many of my friends participated in the events but something about running with such a large number of people makes me anxious – so I chose to cheer from the sidelines. The energy in the city is incredible during the event and I quickly became disappointed in myself that I let my nerves get the best of me.
On Sunday evening, I was feeling beyond inspired and set out to run a 5km route – which turned into a 10km in a personal best time of 55:38. This was only my second run of that length ever – needless to say I was kicking myself for not entering the Ottawa Race Weekend event.
But, let me give you a bit of background. My father is a runner, has been for more than half of his life. He just finished his 8th marathon this weekend – and his first marathon at age 60 [sorry for outing you dad!] placing 10th in his age category and qualifying once again for the Boston Marathon. Now I know he is my dad which makes me a little biased but you must admit – it is pretty amazing. He has always been my inspiration to run, but running does not come easy to me. One day I will run a half marathon – mark my words – I just don’t know when yet.
Over the past few years I have run distances of 5km fairly consistently but it isn’t often that I push the envelope much farther. I had not been progressing much in my training, and to be honest, I had pretty much given up on running. As many of you know I have recently turned to weight lifting and HIIT for my workouts. I cannot stress how much this type of exercise has helped me. I am in the best shape of my life, I am stronger than ever and I feel great. But what really impressed me was that I could go out, with no “training” and run 10km in quite a respectable time. This just goes to show that my new workout routines are really paying off. So I’d like to share a few ideas with you, in case you were thinking of switching things up at the gym.
I lift weights and do cardio 4 times a week, usually on the same days [that way I get 3 active rest days each week]. My schedule looks something like this:
Monday – TABATA cardio session and upper body weights (routine A).
Tuesday – HIIT run and lower body weights (routine A).
Wednesday – Active rest day [I usually bike to and from work every day and go for walks at night].
Thursday – TABATA cardio session and upper body weights (routine B).
Friday – HIIT run and lower body weights (routine B).
Saturday and Sunday are active rest days.
Sounds easy right? It is. I follow a workout from bodybuiling.com which can be found here. I do not emulate it completely because I try to do what feels best for my body, but at the beginning it is great framework. Make sure you lift heavy weights to see the best results – and NO, you will not look like a body builder just from following this plan so don’t bother worrying about “bulking”. For my TABATA workouts I do 20 seconds of work 10 seconds of rest for a total of 20 minutes. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I dare you to try it.
My advice, start slow and listen to your body. If you miss a day, don’t worry about it, make it up the next day. Once you find a routine that works for you you’ll catch your stride. I am by no means a personal trainer so take my advice with a grain of salt – but I hope you enjoy it!