The Starting Line

You have to start somewhere. As the first post of this training blog (how clever is that?) it felt right to start by explaining how I got from not running 1 year and 8 months ago to where I am right now.

Between the years of 2003 and 2017 I really did not run with any consistency. Most runs were about 3-4 miles long and sporadically dispersed throughout the week around happy hours, softball or volleyball games, or whatever other fun thing were scheduled.

Winters were ignored completely.

I can’t remember exactly how I got invited or how the topic came up, but I was having a conversation with a college friend who lives in the Wauwatosa area. He mentioned that some guys met up and ran on Monday nights and then grabbed a few beers afterwards. I was reluctant at first, but after attending a few of these, I was hooked.

Getting back in shape took awhile, but it was worth the pain to run with people again and to earn that delicious beer afterwards. That encouraged me to start running more often during the week so that I could “perform” better on Monday runs. (In other words, so that I could keep up.)

In late 2017 I started having problems with my achilles tendon so I had to take a couple months off until that healed. Once that healed by February of 2018, I began to build up mileage again in March and April. By May, I was running about 40 miles a week. Something made me decide that I wanted to train again. It was fun for the first time in years and I wanted to keep riding this train. And so began my running journey.

A goal that I have had for awhile but was never really motivated enough to stick with was that I wanted to break 5 minutes in the mile one more time. My high school freshman year PR was 5:03 and it seemed like a good round number to go after. I also decided that trying to break my high school 5K PR of 16:06 was also something that I wanted to do.

The goals were now set. Short term goal was beat my freshman year mile time. Long term (well, 2-4 years) goal was to beat my senior year 5K time.

I spent the next few months continuing to just build mileage with mostly easy runs. There were a few tempo type runs thrown in, but nothing was very structured as far as running workouts or anything like that. Just get out the door and run miles. I did this every day until August.

To keep things fun and interesting, I decided that I would schedule my training in blocks similar to high school. August through October would be more cross country type training and then March through May would be more track type of training. Most of the training I set up for myself was fairly simple. 3 big workouts a week with the rest being easy runs.

The first workout was some sort of tempo run in the form of 20-25 minutes steady or some sort of cruise intervals (4 x 5 minutes, 2 x 10 minutes, etc). The second workout was generally faster intervals such as 4-6 x 800 meters at 5K, 3 x mile at 5K, 8 x400 at mile pace, etc. Then the last piece was a Sunday long run of 10-14 miles. So far, I’ve knocked out 2 Fall seasons and 1 spring season of actual, formal, structured, consistent running.

Under this sort of training, I managed to get down to a 19:05 5K in 2017 and then 18:08 in 2018. In Spring I was very close to reaching the mile time goal when I was able to suffer through a 5:08 mile (though I ran it alone on a track as a time trial).

So as the calendar now turns to 2019, I have 20 months of solid and consistent mileage (1 year and 8 months for you math majors). It’s still early in this process as far as a good base goes. I’m told that it’s about 2-3 years of training before you really start seeing great improvements. I’m not sure how that applies to someone who just turned 40, but the point of this blog is to find out!

Where do I go from here and what is this blog all about? I’m hoping to chronicle what I’ve been doing at least once a month and also provide updates on the progress. Writing about it should help keep me accountable and I think it will be really cool to look back and see all the steps I took to reach my goals. I’m also going to try to do a better job of making these posts more fun instead of just rattling off workouts.

Hey, if anyone’s actually reading this… thanks for reading and hopefully you’ll learn something or just find some sort of entertainment in my running stories.


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