Well, as it turns out, I can’t run or work out on a consistent basis unless I have a piece of paper or a trainer to tell me what to do and when to do it. I’ve tried to just be the kind of person who runs whatever distance they see fit, whenever they feel like it, but apparently, I’m the kind of person that sees it fit to run, oh, next to never. And that’s not often enough to make the Health Department or the American Heart Association happy.
So I’ve resorted back to my old-faithful. Where would my running be without Couch-to-5K? I’m still adjusting to the barefoot running, and now, since I’ve been not running for so long, I’m having to re-build my lost endurance, too. I had originally thought I’d just go back through the whole Couch-to-5K program with the toe shoes and ease into barefoot running that way, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The first week didn’t challenge me (read: keep me entertained) or leave me sore, so I knew that I could step it up to the next week and be alright. I decided that I was going to jump a week every time I went on a run until I found the place where I needed to “start” the program.
The next run, I did the Week 2 intervals and when I got done I felt great. I felt awesome. I even called Zack and bragged about how good I felt. I allowed myself the caveat that it’s not how you feel directly after the run that’s usually the problem with the barefoot running. It’s the way your calves feel the next day that determines whether or not the run was within your proper ability range.
But the next day I still felt great. I told Zack that I still felt great. I told him the next run, I’d be moving up to Week 3′s intervals. He asked if we could perhaps do the Week 3 run that evening. I agreed! Not only did I still feel great from the day before, but also the weather had taken a steep drop that afternoon and cooled down about 25 degrees. Any time the summer heat takes a 25 degree nose-dive into “temperate” or “bearable,” it gives me a serious jones to get outside and do something active.
Trick is, I always run faster when Zack’s around. It’s not a conscious decision that I make, it just happens. I’m not sure if it’s because when he’s around I’m paying more attention to the way that I’m running (because I have someone watching me) which causes me to keep a more consistent cadence and pace, or if it’s some part of my ego that forces me to go faster because I know that he slows his runs WAY down when he goes out with me. Perhaps I speed up to meet him in the middle?
Are you guys doing the math, here? 1.) Jumping whole weeks of the training program at a time. 2.) Running two days in a row (which is something I haven’t done in over a year? At least?). 3.) Zack speed. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that Zack and I sprinted the last 90 second interval of the Week 2. Maybe not my brightest idea ever, but it was fun. Sprinting in the toe shoes is just like being 7 years old again.)
If we’re choosing to look at the bright side here, we can celebrate the fact that I have definitively located my starting point for Couch-to-5K: Barefoot Edition. And let’s just choose to look at the bright side. I mean, I’m sure my calves will feel better again eventually, right?