13-Week Learn to Run Program

Posted by Maria on August 11, 2011 under Fitness, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Uncategorized, Weight Management | 5 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I’ve signed up to participate in this year’s CIBC Run for the Cure and I’ve got 8 weeks to get in shape for the 5-kilometre run.

My Jazzercise instructor, Donna, gave me a 13-week “Learn to Run” program and I thought I’d pass it on to you as well. Although I have run the 5k twice before, (please see my blog post entitled, 5K all the way) I figure I should start my training from scratch this time round because I haven’t been keeping up with my fitness as much as I would have liked this past year. I realize this is a 13-week program and there are less than 8 weeks to go before October 2, 2011, but I think this will still be helpful. Donna said, “Follow this program until you can comfortably run 10 minutes and walk 1 minute at least 6 times [in the next few weeks]. That will get you through a 5 km! :>

You might think that running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes isn’t going to do much to help you train, but your heart rate will definitely notice the changes of pace. Interval training is an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular fitness level. Also, if you keep this up for the next several weeks, your body won’t know what’s going on from one day to the next and that surprise element is a really good thing in terms of getting in better shape. Predictability isn’t going to win any races, but shaking things up will.

To enhance my training, I’ve got my Run for the Cure playlist on my iPod already to go. Music makes a difference when it comes to running, for sure. Do you have any favourite songs you like to run to? Last year, I had the “I Believe” song by Nikki Yanofsky (which was CTV’s 2010 Winter Olympic Games theme song) as my warm up song and I really felt quite emotional as I moved through the crowds of people on the University of Victoria campus and I couldn’t wait to pick up the pace to start running.

I’m also keeping a food journal and I’m going to 4 or 5 Jazzercise classes per week. I did session 1 of week 1 of this program yesterday and then I went off to my Jazzercise class and that went better than I had expected. (I had more energy for the workouts than I thought I would). Two workouts in one day is a new thing for me.

I’m so glad I have a treadmill because it helps me keep track of time and it also tells me how fast I’m going. Note to self: wear a heartrate monitor. Yesterday, I chose to run at a 4.5 rate and walk at a 4.0 rate which is faster the my normal running pace and I think that will help me in the long run, too. As much as I like my treadmill, I will try to go outside a few times to get used to running on the road. I already have a partner who is also training for the Run for the Cure who will be joining me once a week.

I’ve also set a goal of raising $300 for Breast Cancer Research and if you’d like to contribute to my fundraising efforts, please follow this link to my personal page (I’m Maria with Team Bosom) where you will be able to make a donation online. Your contributions and donations and support are most appreciated. If you’d like to read more about my background and why I’m participating in the Run for the Cure, please read my blog post, “Who am I Running for?”

Anyway, here’s the Learn to Run Program. See you at the finish line!

13-Week Learn to Run Program

Always walk 5 minutes, slow and easy, before and after your sessions to warm up and cool down. These extra 10 minutes are included in the session times.

Week 1

  • Session 1 — 34 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 8 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 28 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 31 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 2

  • Session 1 — 38 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 31 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 34 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 3

  • Session 1 — 45 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 34 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 40 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 4 *EASY RECOVERY WEEK*

  • Session 1 — 40 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 30 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 2 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Do this 5 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 40 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 2 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 5

  • Session 1 — 46 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 9 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 34 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 8 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 42 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 8 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 6

  • Session 1 — 52 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 38 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 50 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 10 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 7

  • Session 1 — 54 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 40 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 4 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 52 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 8 *EASY RECOVERY WEEK*

  • Session 1 — 54 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 38 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 3 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 7 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 46 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

CIBC 5K Run for the Cure Event, Sunday, October 2, 2011

  • Session 1 — Warm up 5 minutes. Run 40 to 50 minutes or so. You’ll be surprised at your running ability on the day of an event since the people around you will boost you to new heights! Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch. Enjoy!
Running through the finish line at the 2009 CIBC Run for the Cure in Victoria, BC.

Running through the finish line at the 2009 CIBC Run for the Cure in Victoria, BC.

* Continue to follow this program if you want to train to be able to run a 10K in 13 weeks. *

Week 9

  • Session 1 — 68 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 46 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 6 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 54 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 10

  • Session 1 — 72 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 30 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 54 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 57 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 11

  • Session 1 — 71 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 40 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 54 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 57 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 20 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 12 *EASY VOLUME WEEK*

  • Session 1 — 60 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 50 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 43 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 3 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — 52 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Week 13

  • Session 1 — 50 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 40 minutes. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 2 — 43 minutes. Warm up 5 minutes. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 3 times. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.
  • Session 3 — Event Day 10K!! Have fun and take care not to start out too quickly. Warm up 5 minutes. Run. Cool down 5 minutes. Stretch.

Let me know how it goes for you. I’m curious to know if anyone else will be learning to run on this program with me.

5K all the way!

Posted by Maria on October 8, 2009 under Fitness, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management | 5 Comments to Read

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

On Sunday, October 4th, 2009, I reached a new milestone in my life. I participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure for breast cancer with huge trepidation and managed to run the whole 5-kilometre course non-stop. It was quite an accomplishment for me and I’m so glad I did it.

If you’re curious to know what it’s like for a first-timer to run 5K — that’s 3.107 miles for those of you on the Imperial system — here’s a rundown of my day.

I’ve learned that distance running is just as much of a mind game as it is a physical challenge. In this post, I’m trying to recall the types of thoughts I was thinking throughout the morning as I got closer and closer to the finish line and beyond.

Breakfast of Champions

I woke up long before 6:00 am and by 7:00, I ate a big breakfast. Eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast is important every day of the week and on Sunday-Runday, mine consisted of a glass of orange juice and a toasted plain bagel topped with unsweetened, smooth peanut butter, honey and a banana. I also drank a cup of green tea instead of my regular coffee. I haven’t had a bagel in a long time and it was a nice change of pace for me. I think it was a good choice because the meal gave me the energy I needed for the run. In this case, carbs are recommended.

Suiting Up

Emily, my Team Bosum Captain, suggested I wear a long-sleeve shirt under my event t-shirt because the morning air would probably be chilly. (Thank God it didn’t rain or worse, snow, like it did in Calgary! We had brilliant weather!) When I unfolded this year’s Run for the Cure official t-shirt and saw the word “Hope” splashed across the front for the first time, a tear came to my eye and I had to take a deep breathe.

Everyone knows that having the right shoes makes a big difference when running and I’m so happy that the New Balance cross-trainers I bought 6-weeks ago fit me like a glove and presented no issues for me. What a relief!

Oh and how can I forget the pink tiara and the fuchsia tutu? More on those embellishments later.

Getting to the start line

I left my house at 7:30 to give myself lots of time to get to the University of Victoria and to find a decent parking space. It took me longer to get there than it should have because I completely missed my exit onto MacKenzie. I just drove right past it. And it didn’t occur to me for at least 5 minutes. I guess I was more nervous than I realized. My excuse is, I was listening to Coldplay’s “Now My Feet Won’t Touch the Ground [Prospekt's March Edition]” on the radio, a song I had never heard before, and thought, wouldn’t that be a fun way to run this race, running so fast and effortlessly like I was running on air. That’s not exactly what happened although one of the photos below gives that illusion.

In spite of my detour, I was the first to arrive from my team. It took awhile for all of the team members to find each other in the crowd. Emily asked if anyone else wanted to wear a tutu. I was going to pass — the pink foam crown was goofy enough for me, but Jeanette, my trainer, insisted.

Warm Up

Local Jazzercise instructors, including Jeanette, lead us through the warm up. I’m so glad they picked the 9-1-1 song — “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston — because that’s one of my faves these days.

warmup

Photo by Adrian Lam, Times Colonist, October 4, 2009

There’s Team Bosum right in the front row. And look at all of the people behind us! I heard 4000 of us registered in Victoria! We managed to raise over $500,000 for breast cancer research. Over $5000 of that was raised by Team Bosum and of that, I raised $300 (200% of my initial fundraising goal).

And they’re off

Well sort of. Jeanette, who inspired me to sign up for the run in the first place, made a deal with me and another Team Bosum runner, Peggy. She promised to tag team between us and motivate us throughout the whole 5-K course, which meant she ended up running way more than anyone else did that day. So the three of us had to start together and there was a bit of a delay because they both had to check their bags and use the facilities right before embarking on the run.

I was losing patience. I just wanted to get this thing over with. Jeanette said to me, “You’re panicking; I can feel it.”

I would not have used the word “panic.” But now I know what “Chomping at the bit” means.

And then she said, “I do this every year. Trust me, we’ll fly by everyone anyway. Just follow me. First we’re going to walk for a few minutes to warm up and then we’ll run. And it’s not a race.”

Challenge #1

I was surprised by the amount of people who were participating. Jeanette, Peggy and I walked briskly along the grassy median past all of the walkers on the road. Within a few short minutes we starting running. Keep in mind that I trained on a treadmill for the past several months and running outside with people was a totally different experience.

The first challenge was to keep up with Jeanette and Peggy, who is a grandmother by the way, and dodge past all of the people. There were women, men and kids of all ages walking and running at various speeds, shoulder to shoulder, along the campus road. We had to maneuver around dogs too. It was an obstacle course!

We mostly ran along the outside edge of the circuit which also meant we had to occasionally jump over the odd, orange pylon. Later Jeanette said she prefers weaving in and out and forging a path because it distracts her. I think in this case, distraction is a good idea.

imgp5580Soon enough, Jeanette and Peggy started pulling further and further ahead of me. I just clipped along at my own pace, which was pretty slow. Slowest runner in the west, I think.

I enjoyed meeting other Team Bosum members at various moments along the way. The pink tutus were easy enough to spot and the spontaneous high-fives were a huge boost.

Challenge #2

I barely noticed running downhill which apparently can be hard on the knees. Running up hill was a completely different story. It wasn’t a steep hill — it was just long. That’s when I really slowed down. I simply chugged and chugged and plowed my way up. I realized when I finally crested the top, my heart rate escalated too. Jeanette caught up to me at that point and I was breathing heavily. A little too heavily for my liking — somewhere in the 170-plus beats per minute I’m sure and I was having trouble catching my breathe. I told her I was at the top of my zone and she agreed.

And then an interesting thing happened. Jeanette said to pick up the pace. I thought about that afterward and I realized it was a make or break moment. Most times when you think you’ve hit your physical and psychological limit, you slow down and maybe even stop things altogether. The natural tendency is not to increase your effort or over exert yourself. Although counter-intuitive, pushing myself that much harder at that critical moment did the trick and I was able to continue. I applaud Jeanette for reading my situation and for catching that.

And then she felt confident enough to leave me and find Peggy who was out of my sight by that time. I rounded a corner and one of the volunteers yelled, “Less than two kilometres to go.”

“Whaaattt???”

I thought I was so much farther along than that. Ironically, that’s when I started to actually add a little stride to my run.

The Home Stretch

Somewhere in the last kilometre, I had a thought. It occurred to me that this whole thing was a given. It was a given that I would finish this run. It was already a fait accompli. A done deal. It was just a matter of a few more minutes. I also remembered hearing someone else say, “Never slow down in the home stretch.” And those thoughts somehow made the last steps so much easier.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted my friend Debbie running out to meet me. She and I have been sharing Jeanette’s treadmill for months and she knows the journey I’ve been on better than most. Grabbing my hand, she said “I’ll run in with you.” And then Jeanette came out of the crowd and grabbed my other hand.

imgp5582e

Debbie said, “I know you don’t think you can do this, but you can. I want you to sprint to the finish.”

Somehow, I gave it everything I had and ran all the way home. See, our feet aren’t touching the ground!

All in all, I’m guessing it took me about 50 minutes. And remarkably, my body bounced back well afterward. I felt my quads for a couple of days and that’s about it.

Bonus

In the midst of all of this, photographer Adrian Lam of the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper was on hand at the finish line too. I was tickled to learn that a professional photographer captured this intense moment, one of the greatest victories of my life, for posterity and posted them online for all to see. Check out the gallery photos at: http://www.timescolonist.com/health/Victoria+Cure+raises+more+than/2065682/story.html?tab=PHOT.

finish-line

Photo by Adrian Lam, Times Colonist, October 4, 2009

My first run and I get in the paper. It doesn’t get any better than that. It was totally unplanned and unexpected. Pure gravy for me. Thanks Adrian.

face

Photo by Adrian Lam, Times Colonist, October 4, 2009

Thanks also to Team Bosum with a special mention to Debbie, Emily and Peggy for welcoming me aboard. And finally I’d like to thank Jeanette, a very special person indeed. Onward and upward!

Who am I running for?

Posted by Maria on September 7, 2009 under Fitness, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management | Read the First Comment

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination.

My first memory of any formal running dates to age 9 when the higher ups of the school made every student run 6 laps around the school yard to gauge our fitness level. It was a painful experience for me because I was fat. There, I said it. Fat. I remember looking at the skinny girls with such envy as they effortlessly raced around the track as I huffed and puffed and cried and cursed.

Right before I entered high school, my parents sent me and my brother to a sports camp in upstate New York. I remember being laughed at for the facial expression I was making as I was trying to sprint. Shot put seemed so much easier but I wasn’t any good at that either. Long distance running was even more awful for me. I have a clear memory of running through the forest far behind every one else in my group and arguing with the camp counsellor (a good-looking blonde boy who was named after my father and who ended up as an Airforce 1 pilot in the 1st Gulf War — not that that makes any difference one way or the other — I’m just painting a picture). Anyway, he was trying to make me run and I was not having any of it in spite of his army fatigues and drill sergeant tactics. Oh, I hated him that day.

Don’t get me wrong. I like sports. I just don’t like running. It makes me so uncomfortable.

Fast forward 25 years. My personal trainer and I have been working together to get my weight down since July 2007. For the longest time nothing was working and I wasn’t making any significant progress. Then I started my workouts on the treadmill instead of just doing resistance training with weights. Suddenly, as I increased my cardio activity in my target heart rate range of 134 to 169 beats per minute, the weight started coming off more readily. My trainer calculated all of those numbers for me based on my resting heart rate. The more time I spend in that zone, the stronger my heart gets and the more efficient my exercising is.

To get my heart rate up, I started running a few minutes at a time on the treadmill instead of just walking briskly. I’m thrilled to say, on a great day, I can now run 20 minutes non-stop. High 5’s all around.

Now I’m training for a 5-kilometre run. It’s my newest goal. I’ve signed up for the CIBC Run for the Cure.

Thank you for your donation of $5 toward a cure for breast cancer.

Thank you for your donation of $5 toward a cure for breast cancer.

When I signed up for the challenge, they asked me, “Who are you running for?” I had to think about it for a minute. I decided to run for my Great Aunt who died in 1995 around mother’s day after having breast cancer. She had surgery and unfortunately, when they sowed her back up, she lost some range of motion in her arm. She was generous and loving and a beautiful soul. I miss going to visit her in upstate New York where she lived in this gorgeous colonial mansion with pillars and 2 staircases and a enormous pink bathroom and a barn in the backyard where elves used to make shoes, so my cousins said. She also owned a motel and restaurant with a swimming pool 9 miles down the road. What an ideallic, childhood fantasy land!

I’m also running for another friend of the family who beat breast cancer several years ago but is currently recuperating from another cancer treatment for another area. She inspires me, too.

How to Donate to the Run for the Cure

If you would like to donate and help me raise $150 toward research, please visit https://www.cibcrunforthecure.com/html/en/about.asp, find the Get involved menu, click on the donate arrow which will bring you to another page. On that page, click on donate to a participant which pulls up the search for a participant search boxes. I would really appreciate it if you put in my first name, Maria, my last name, Koropecky and Victoria for the Run Location. When you hit the search button, you will see my name next to Team Bosom. Click again on Donate to this Participant and on that page you will be able to fill in all of your information. If you decide on giving $5, then that will work out to $1 a kilometre, which is will go a long way to help fight breast cancer.

Thanks

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And thank you on behalf of everyone else who has been touched by the ugliness of cancer.

Where and When

The run will take place on Saturday, October 4, 2009 in cities across Canada. I’ll be running at the University of Victoria with my personal trainer and Team Bosom by my side.

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