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My 5K Failure




I like setting goals. I love checklists. I love feeling that sense of accomplishment when I finish a task or when I achieve a goal. It fills that inner child's need for approval. I can do what I want to do if I just break that goal down into manageable bits.


Last year, my then 15-year-old son set the goal of completing a 5K run. He did all the research. He worked out a training plan and followed it, running a few times a week and working out a dietary plan that met his increased intake needs.


Within a few months, he'd signed up for his first 5K while finishing up his training program and then went out and completed his race on a brutally cold November day. We came out to see him off and then greet him on his triumphant return.


We were extremely proud of his accomplishment.


This spring I began to reflect on how sedentary I'd become. I spend far too much time either at my computer desk working on art or at my favorite local coffee shop when I feel the need for some human companionship. (I have a friend that uses this particular coffee shop as their daily office space.)


Knowing that I needed to do some sort of physical activity, I eased into a walking routine. I increased my distance gradually to a reasonable 3 to 4 km a day. My neighborhood is set up as a circle so I would see the same people out every evening. A few of the regulars seemed to be in training, switching from an easy jog then back to a brisk walk.


I began to think that maybe I should set my fitness goal a little higher and started researching completing a 5K. I watched several "From Couch to 5K" videos. I read all the Google articles on the right kind of shoes and the right kind of training schedule.


I bought the right sort of running shoes (in a cheerfully bright color). I set a date to begin and then I was off.


The first couple of weeks were great. I didn't look forward to the training. I didn't enjoy the process, but, after I finished, I felt amazing, like I could accomplish anything.


I moved into week three and couldn't finish my whole training session. My knees were hurting. I knew better than to push it and cause real damage. I returned home, read all the articles, and determined that I needed to stop running. For now.


Instead, I am taking several steps back. I plan on getting back to walking every other day and filling the other days with knee-strengthening exercises with a goal of trying to get back into 5K training sometime in mid-November.


I am a little frustrated and a little disappointed that my body doesn't want to do what I want it to do, but I am not giving up.


I have a new goal that gives me the opportunity to make new lists and check off brand-new accomplishments which, for me, is half the fun.


Sometimes it can be about the destination, but there is no reason why I can't enjoy the journey as well.


Wish me and my knees a healthy, happy journey from the couch, even if we don't make it quite as far as I originally planned.




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