Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Me, Lola, & PBS

Christina asked about tips on running. I’ve run twice now, so clearly I’m an expert on running for office fitness.

Oh all right.
All I know is what Theresa told me:

1. Wear the right shoes.
2. Wear a sports bra.*
3. Start out slower than you think you can.

(Not mandatory for most men.)

Does anyone else have any other tips for a beginner? I'd love to hear them.

So far, following the steps above has worked out well. I’m starting off with a very slow walk/jog schedule, which hopefully will let my knees adjust gradually to the new demands being placed on them. I also invested in a heart monitor/stopwatch thingie, so I can check whether I’m getting too little, too much, or the Goldilocks version of a workout.

I don’t know why, maybe it was all this $$ spent on exercise stuff, maybe it’s a delayed reaction to the uncertainties of house hunting, but last night for some reason I decided to have a bit of a panic attack. Jogging around the park in the dark was a useful way of dealing with anxieties, especially since I’m not sure how else to address the panic. (Still not sure why I was feeling panicked in the first place.) So I jogged a bit more than before, still slowly, and at least that way my heart rate was elevated for a healthy reason.

The Beginning Runner’s handbook has what seems to me to be some good advice:

  • Don’t expect it to be fun at first.
  • Train your mind as well as your body (psyche yourself).
  • Don’t panic if you can’t keep to the schedule religiously, but don’t let the occasional slip up stop you in your tracks.
(Note: the rest of this post is a shameless promotion of PBS. But don't I segue into it neatly?)


Nova has gotten on the running bandwagon as well. To quote Kate Becker, from WGBH:

Six months ago, a team of rookies stepped to the starting line of the Boston Marathon. As members of Team NOVA, they were part of an experiment: a test to see what it takes to mold a batch of non-runners into a team of marathoners. Tune in Tuesday to find out how this diverse group of hopeful novices transformed physically and mentally to meet the challenge.

While you're waiting, why not click over to the Marathon Challenge Web site,, where you can meet Team NOVA and its coaching group, get training tips, and explore the physiology of fitness.

In case you’re in a country that doesn’t get Nova, she goes on to list other ways you can check out the action:

There are two podcasts and a vodcast scheduled to launch this week in conjunction with the show:

  • * On Wednesday, meet Sama Elbannan, a 28-year-old novice whose "Oh, it's just a marathon!" attitude evaporates almost as soon as she laces up her shoes. Then elite runner Uta Pippig, advisor to Team NOVA, describes her philosophy on running in "Taking the Marathon Challenge," also hitting iTunes on Wednesday.
  • * On Friday, "Coach Don" Megerle, director of the Tufts President's Marathon Challenge and a coach of Team NOVA, shares the adrenaline rush he gets from watching his runners achieve their marathon goals: "After the last person is finished crossing the line, it takes me several days to come down from that."

These 'casts are all available on iTunes. Or, visit our podcasting page to find out how to get them delivered directly to your computer:

I’ve got myself scheduled to run a marathon immediately after I start ice skating in Hell, but this program should help me to get mentally geared up to run any distance. Worth a try, anyway.


Theresa said...

One thing I did invest in besides a pair of running shoes and good sports bras was a sports watch. I found that it quickly became a pain to keep track of the running/walking intervals on a regular watch. The watch I bought wasn't that expensive, maybe $25-30 at Target, but it does let you set different intervals to repeat. This makes things like e.g., 1 min running, 4 min walking, repeat 6x, much, much easier to keep track of.

marie said...

ITA with a sports watch for intervals. I use my garmin for my 10:1s which is WAAAAAAAY fancier than you need, but you can get something for around 30 buckaroos. It will save you a lot of trouble. You can also download running podcasts that do the couch-5k running series that will get you from a couch potato to running a 5k in a few weeks that will tell you to walk and run and you'll only need your MP3 player!

The first few minutes are always the hardest. Do NOT talk yourself out of it. It will eventually get better. Slow is good.

I am soooo looking forward to that nova special too!!

C said...

You're the best, Mary. I'll definitely be checking out those podcasts.

Keep on keeping on. It's motivating me tremendously. :)

Heather said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

In RYN: no I have never been told that. Actually its recommended that you exercise. they have different plans based upon your level exercise. So if you exercise more, you get more food,etc.

Its probably just misinterpreted as LAWL doesnt focus on exercise, only food. The counseling you receive is in regards to food so while they dont discourage exercise, they just dont provide guidance to it since they are more geared towwards food and the plan.

soapbox girl said...

Pasta Queen over at Half of Me left a comment on one of my running posts about the Marathon training program on Nova. I'm glad you reminded me, because I nearly forgot! (Aren't the video's posted on the website great?)

soapbox girl said...

videos. videos. videos! Not video's. It's going to be a long day!

Anonymous said...

you go girl... this is a subject near and dear to this innkeeper's heart having been a competitive ultra runner.
Come up with a plan...but the two operative words ... be flexible... without slackin' of course:)

If you 'd like more info on training plans i used... drop on inn :) The photog was taken on Hwy 2 :)

GP in Montana

Diana Swallow said...

I think the watch is a good idea too, I like to mix walking with jogging and tend to do a pattern of walk four minutes, run 1 minute, walk three minutes, run 1 minute, walk three minutes, run 2 minutes, walk the rest of the way home. I believe its called HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. I'm sure if you google the topic you'll find lots of information on this.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Good for you, both for getting started and for doing it sensibly. So many folks aren't realistic about what you can do at first and end up burning out or injuring themselves.

The Merry said...

Thanks for all the good suggestions!

Theresa, I was following the Beginning Runner's Handbook's training schedule, but I think they've changed it since you tried it. They wanted me to start out jogged 1 minute, then walking 2, repeat 12 times. Seems like maybe it was designed for people who were thinner and have better knees. I'll try it and see how it feels.

Marie, I think I will have to get me an I-pod and try the podcasts.

Christina, want to try with me?

Soap Box Girl, at least you caught the typo. The Apostrophe Protection Society would be proud of you :)

GP, thanks for the invitation. I love dropping by your blog; whatever part of Montana you're in, it's beautiful!

Scale Junky, I think I need to research different jogging schedules. I'll look for HIIT.

Crabby, I appreciate the encouragement. You're always nice even when people call you a shameless hussy.

The Merry said...

Heather, I think maybe those people who were advised by their L.A. Weight Loss counselor not to exercise maybe just had a bad counselor. It still floors me that they were told not to exercise so they could lose more weight without worrying about gaining muscle and going off of their 2-pounds-a-week schedule.