Canned Nerd

Now with extra sparkles.

Stupid experiments

We all love accepting a stupid challenge, when it is just stupid enough, don’t we? I know I do. And a few weeks ago I read about a training plan that’ll make you run a marathon in under <INSERT HOURS>.

But the best thing is: you can reach that goal in only twelve weeks!

“That’s three months”, I thought. And then: “No way!”
But saying “no way” isn’t actually worth anything, if you haven’t at least tried it, is it? But probably that plan is intended for people who have actually been running or at least jogging before? I mean between the running you have to do in school and now? Perhaps one year is more realistic :)

So I decided to make it an experiment: can an untrained person like me (no sports at all for 15 years – yoga for the last two years, no voluntary running. Ever!)  run a marathon after a year’s training?

I don’t want to ruin my bones or change my whole life just for an experiment, so I will take it easy. These are my rules:

  • As soon as I feel uncomfortable, I declare the experiment finished and say it is impossible.
  • I will not change my lifestyle: I keep smoking my 4 to 6 cigarettes a day and won’t start a sportmen’s diet. (And I will not start eating raw meat or something. Just sayin’.)
  • I will not buy expensive gear – a cheap pair of running shoes, but no more than that.
  • I will partake in next year’s Hamburg Marathon with the goal of reaching the finish line before the broom wagon.

Being a geek, the obvious first step was: downloading an app for my android phone :P

First I tried runkeeper, but I couldn’t find an easy way to get a training plan without paying for it, so I settled with miCoach  - their website is terrible, but the app is okay and they have free training plans for, well, almost anything.

To get into that whole “running” thing, I decided to start with the “5.000m” plan. That was on June 2011, 3rd.
My first run was twenty minutes for 2 kilometres.
And just yesterday (i.e. no two months later) I finished my first 5 km run in under 30 minutes! WTF?!

It seems as if training actually works :D

I would absolutely love to get any hints about your experiences and stupid experiments. Would you like to join my experiment? Just leave a note in the comments.
I will keep you informed about my proceedings toward next year’s marathon!

cu, tom

The original plan (the one I don’t actually use) was this one: Marathonplan für unter 4:00 Stunden zu laufen!
The one I currently follow is a 5000m interval running plan customized from miCoach by me answering some questions (how often per week; target time etc). Based on that, a training plan was created, the first training being a fitness test: “on a scale from 1 to 10, run a 4″ etc.

Based on that I then was assigned my “training zones”: blue (slow), green (aerobic), yellow (anaerobic) and red (sprint), each with my personalized speed interval.

A typical training could be: 5 mins blue zone followed by 15 mins green, 15 mins yellow and 5 mins blue.
Another training is: 10 mins blue zone, then 6 times alternating 15 second sprints (red zone) and 3 mins blue relaxation. Finish again with 10 mins blue.

That’s quite neat, although the downside is obviously that it is based on how I felt at the fitness test, not any hard values (heartbeat or so). But that’s good enough for me atm.