Last week I started a new walking program. At least, it is new to me. I did a little reading and decided to walk Jeff Galloway's 5K training plan. I looked at his and Hal Higdon's and decided that I like the simplicity of Galloway's. Neither is overly hard considering it is all walking and the times just get changed up. However, I plan to workout 3 days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. I can following the Galloway 5K training plan by simply shifting the whole schedule forward one day. I would need to add a 4th day to follow the Higdon 5K walking plan and I'm just not ready to commit to a 4th day in the gym yet.
Having already walked three 5K's this year, I've been resisting backing up and trying one of these programs. The first 5K was completed through force of will. I was only a few weeks into PT and really should have backed out of the race I'd planned on running. Completing that walk was painful and exhausting. And cold!!! It had snowed that morning.
The second was the MS 5K Walk 2 months later. That 5K was a slow walk with friends. We talked and walked and stopped and dawdled. It was a day I will never forget. I know I've not written about it here. Some day I might, but there is one moment from that walk that I will share now. Hitting the last quarter of a mile my hip started to cramp. I was wet and cold and ready to be finished. Rain had pelted us the entire walk. The approach to the finish line was, of all things, uphill. As I approached the finish line, I saw my oldest daughter waiting. She was wearing her Hawaiian rain jacket and matching boots cheering me on. Even better than that moment are the many moments since then when she's told me that she is going to do a 5K when she grows up and she wants to run it in the rain too.
And most recently I walked a 5K on the treadmill in the gym just to see how I felt. As with the first two my hips started to cramp in the third mile. I worked through it and it wasn't nearly as bad as during the first 5K, but still... I'm not pleased. I feel like all my time in PT and hard work are simply not paying off. How long is it going to take? How many leg lifts in various directions are required to get these muscles in working order?
While my two official 5Ks left me needing a week to recover, each had moments I won't forget. I begin to understand why people race over and over. Why they keep moving. I can see that getting out there and moving will make a difference. However, my last unofficial attempt left me frustrated and knowing I shouldn't sign up to make a third official. Exercise is supposed to be about moving and nourishing a healthy body. My body is getting healthier, but it is not ready to walk 5K. I'm not sure why this distance means so much to me. Maybe because running it will always be the first goal I made for myself.
Versus trying again and again with the same painful results, I'm doing a walking program. A slow progression to walking a 5K. It's 15 weeks, 3 days per week. At week 11 I actually walk 3.5 miles. Which is more than a 5K. As I approached Couch to 5K, I'm going to keep repeating each week until I can complete the walk without pain. Maybe this is the answer I need for getting past this hurdle. At a minimum, I now have a program to follow, a specific online to progress along. That is something I've wanted and needed lately. Best case, I might actually whip these stubborn muscles into shape.
For now, I'm mostly working on being thankful to have yet another chance. And more time to practice patience. Practice makes perfect right?