After four and a half months, I finally completed my 8 week training program to run 20 minutes this morning. I’m still in amazement. I’ve never been an athlete, and I’ve always hated running. But man, now it feels good to run, and reaching this milestone feels even better. I used to get out of breath running for about 15 seconds. Now, I don’t get out of breath running for 20 minutes. I’ll repeat: I’m still in amazement.

Of course, you may be wondering why it took almost 20 weeks to complete an 8 week program. There were the occasional missed days, which just pushed out the schedule a bit. But the major setbacks were my two injuries. Twice I got a minor case of iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. Here’s a Runner’s World article and an article about ITBS. It usually occurs because of overtraining (probably what happened in my case). And both times, rest (i.e. no running) and ice healed it. Given I probably haven’t run since grade school, I should have started running at a much more gradual pace. Something more along the lines of CARA’s pre-running program. When I first started training, I was too proud and stubborn to do the pre-running program. I figured that since I can walk a lot (I walk an hour every day to and from work), so I must be in decent shape. That was a wrong decision. In the end, I would have achieved my goal in less time and without injury had I started slower.

But that is all behind. Now, I need to work my way up to 30 minutes of running, and maybe even do a 5k race in spring. My goal has been to run for 30 minutes, 3 days a week to keep in shape. I really have no plan or desire to do any more, like, say, a marathon. Maybe an 8k would be fun later in the year, but that’s really the most I want to run right now. Any more than that would take up too much training time, I think.