Posted in Health

Old, Fat People (OFP) Running Plan – 0 to 5k

Download the spreadsheet – OFP Zero to 5K – 30 Second Running Plan

b&w running shoesI used to be an athlete…. thin, fit, kinda fast. When I was “out of shape,” I would start one of those “10 week to a 5K” programs, kinda bitch about how hard it was, knock it out, and get back to running.

Not any more.

Those ubiquitous “X Weeks to 5k” programs are mostly very similar and are all way too hard and kill both my body and my will to live. After the umpteenth time of feeling like a total failure because my middle-aged, fluffy body can no longer pretend to be 25, or even 35, I decided to invent my own running plan.

Welcome to “The Zero to 5k Plan for Old, Fat People.”

Hint: You don’t actually have to be old, or fat to follow the plan, but you should be people. I don’t think the plan would work very well for, say, iguanas.

I’m currently on week 6 of my plan and things are going very well. The plan is based around short intervals, which lets me keep up both my speed and form and provides the benefits of interval training. I walk as slowly as I need to recover, but I run briskly when I’m running. Brisk for me may not be brisk for you, so you need to judge your pace for yourself.

Before I started the plan, I

  • could easily walk 2-3 miles
  • didn’t have any injuries
  • checked with both my doctor and my physical therapist before starting.

You should check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you are Old, Fat, and/or Out of Shape.

color running shoe

The plan should be easy enough for most people to follow. Some key points about my routine:

  • I run three times a week.
  • If it hurts, stop doing it. To be clear, if you are tired, or if your lungs kinda hurt, or you feel like your whole body is about to shake apart because, hey, you are old and fat, that doesn’t count. Suck it up. Getting in shape actually isn’t usually all that comfortable. But, if you have a consistent pain in your leg, foot, ankle, back, etc. that doesn’t go away, or if your body feels out of balance, or if something just doesn’t feel right, then STOP RUNNING and FIGURE OUT THE PROBLEM. I can’t tell you how many runners just gotta “run through the pain” for months on end and end up trashing their knees or worse. Despite the fact that I used to run track and I’ve run off and on for years, I am currently going to a physical therapist to improve my form and strengthen all those pesky minor muscles my body used to use for stability. Newsflash, holding down the couch doesn’t require a lot of activation in your gluteus minimus. It has made a HUGE difference in my comfort and form while running.
  • I run on both paved and unpaved trails through the woods (great for mental health). The
    Running here makes all the difference in the world to my motivation. (Actual picture I took after an actual run.)

    unpaved trails are smooth and mostly covered with mulch. Running on twisty, rocky trails with lots of tree roots is a terrible idea for old, fat people. We fall down a lot on those trails. You should pick a place, or a couple of places, you like to run and go there. I personally hate running on roads, so a drive to a park is totally worth it. If you need to run in your neighborhood or on the treadmill at the gym to get it done, do that. I just encourage you to think outside the box.

  • I walk about a mile as a warm-up, and I walk about a mile as a cool down. I started doing a total of about 2.25 miles. I’m doing between 3 and and 3.5 miles total at 6 weeks.
  • I don’t stretch before I run, but I do stretch or do yoga later or the next day. This will help prevent injuries.
  • My actual pace varies depending on how I feel that day. Some days I run a lot faster than others, and I have decided that’s OK. I just need to do the best I can and let it go.
  • My goal is to walk and run a total of 5 miles. Your goal should be your goal. The only right answer is what makes you happy and doesn’t kill you in the process.
  • I have skipped a week here and there because of time or illness and then started right back where I was without any problem. Your mileage may vary.
  • I have made a conscious decision not to care that I don’t cut the svelte figure I used to in running tights and a jog bra. You shouldn’t care, either.
  • My calculations in the spreadsheet are based on a running pace of about 6 mph, AKA a 10 minute mile. When I’m running short intervals, that’s about what I’m running as confirmed on a treadmill. You may want to adjust the spreadsheet if your pace is different. Also, I’m not sure if I can sustain that pace at longer distances, but I will post updates about my progress and any changes I have to make.
  • If you need longer breaks or shorter running periods, make the change on the spreadsheet.I’ve stuck some formulas in there to make adjustments easier. Let me know in the comment section if you have problems with the spreadsheet. Just remember:
    • Don’t add more than 10% to your total distance each week.
    • If you have a bad day, remember any exercise is better than none and tomorrow is another day.
    • Start as slowly and progress as slowly as you need to. If you need it, repeating days and weeks is a sign of you being smart, not a sign of weakness. Smart people live a lot longer than stupid people, or so I keep telling my son.
    • Who cares if you it takes you a year to run a 5 k instead of 4 months or 10 weeks? All that matters is that you are making progress towards your goal.
  • Download the spreadsheet – OFP Zero to 5K – 30 Second Running Plan

 

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Posted in Getting Started, Life

Setting Goals

nome_area

If you planned to drive to Nome, Alaska, you probably wouldn’t leave the driveway unless you figured out where Nome was, got out a map or plugged Nome into your GPS to figure out what roads to travel, and estimated how long it would take to get there so you could make sure you had enough clothes, money, and snacks to make the trip.

Or, you could think,”Screw planning! I’m going to live my life on the edge!” then jump in your car and take off on the road trip of a lifetime. You will have a great time feeling bold and adventurous until you find yourself somewhere in Canada, or possibly Alaska, and realize there are no roads to Nome. You can only get there by airplane or boat. Or dog sled, if you’re desperate.

Sucks for you, hot shot.

You can’t get to Nome without a plan, and you are going to have to be lucky as hell to succeed in life without a plan. Success, by the way, isn’t defined as being CEO of some large company, living in some large house, and driving some large car. Success is having the money and time to do what you want to do to be happy and relatively worry free. That’s it. You just have to decide what that happiness looks like.

Happiness is not something ready made. 
It comes from your own actions. 
                                   - Dalai Lama

In 1992 (because I’m old af), I sat on a chartered boat in the British Virgin Islands with my partner and decided, Damn, this is the life! We went home and wrote down a goal to live on our own sailboat and take a year off in five years. I filed the piece of paper and forgot I had written it.

Five years and one month later, I found that piece of paper as we packed up our house to put our stuff in storage. We had bought a sailboat and had arranged to take time off,  and we were about to leave on a year-long trip on our boat.

Money can't buy you happiness, 
but it can buy you a yacht big enough to 
pull up right alongside it. 
                                           - David Lee Roth

My partner’s parents had always emphasized the importance of goals and how crucial itbahamas is to write them down to make them real. I kind of thought that was bullshit until I found that piece of paper. It was like the written goal was some magic spell, working in invisible ways through our lives for the previous five years until we — Abracadabra!! — had a sailboat and the cash to take a year off to sail to the Bahamas.

That’s some pretty impressive magic.

Step 1: Figure out what you want. Not what your parents want, not what you think you should want, not what your friends want. It’s hard to stick to a goal if you aren’t committed, and you are never going to be happy just trying to make other people happy.

Step 2: Figure out what needs to change to make your goal happen and make a plan. Do you need money? Then you are going to have to spend less and save more. That needs a budget, a.k.a. a “money plan.” Do you want a certain job? Go research the job and make a plan to make yourself and optimal job candidate. Want to take off for a year on a sailboat? Research sailboats. Live cheap. Learn how to not kill yourself. And Make. A. Plan.

Step 3: Track your progress and adjust your plan as needed. How are you going to know if your plan is good if you don’t make sure it’s working? Plans needs to be adjusted as time passes to keep them working. Your goal stays the same (probably) but your plan needs to adapt.

Step 4: Achieve your goal!

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Posted in Winnow

Opt Out of Yellow Pages Deliveries

It’s that time of the year when the 20th Century drops off the slightly smelly, useless stacks of paper called phone books.

Since I spent 20 minutes trying to track down how to recycle the damn things, I decided to figure out how to make the deliveries stop. Hopefully.

To opt out, visit https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/ and follow these instructions….

  1. Enter your zip code in the appropriate field.

YP Opt Out 1

2. Register your name and address after clicking on the button shown below. The Directories that are delivered to your area should be displayed on the right hand side. Don’t think that this form will actually get you off the list. Nope, you have even more steps to follow before you are free.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 7.01.50 PM

3.After you enter all of your relevant information, you will be sent an email. Click on the link and a one-time password that is issued to you will automatically log you into the site. If you ever plan to re-visit the site, go ahead and change your password after you log in. If you don’t, then you can just request a new password to be sent to you. Quite frankly, the whole password process the site used is kind of odd, but it works, I guess. Anyway, once you receive the initial email, you have to log back into the site in order to opt out.

Click on the link in the email and you will reach this page. Click on the link circled in red below.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 5.57.23 PM

4. Click the box to Opt out of future publications, set the totals of all directories to zero, then click “Confirm” and you are done.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 5.54.45 PM

NOTE: I just did this in April of 2017, so I have no idea if it will actually stop deliveries for next year. Fingers crossed!

Posted in Getting Started

What Does “Having Your Crap Together” Look Like?

It is a universal truth that everyone wants to feel in control of their life. From the age of two when we start insisting “Me do it” to old age when we want to stay in our homes and live our lives as we see fit, we want to be in charge and feel equal to all of the challenges that life holds. We understand that for all human beings, power over the details of our lives equates to personal happiness.

To me, “having my crap together” means that I understand and am on top of all the messy details of my life. Specifically, I am doing everything I need to do to optimally manage my

  • Finances
  • Health
  • Home
  • Property, likes cars and other valuables
  • Family
  • Relationships

Having your crap together means that you don’t have to lay awake at night and worry about bills, because you have a budget and you know how to stick to it. It means that your home is organized and relatively clean, that your cars are well-maintained and stocked for emergencies, that you are eating right, exercising, and visiting the doctor at appropriate intervals. You have insurance, and a will, and carry only the most necessary debt. You have goals and a plan to reach those goals.

Having your crap together means that you are managing your life like a responsible, dependable adult and that you fully understand the rules and behaviors you need to achieve and maintain a happy and successful life.

I am a happy, middle aged, relatively well-off adult with a brilliantly happy marriage, two great kids, and a pretty well-run life, but I’m also overweight, out of shape, have boxes I haven’t opened since my move two years ago, and a garage I can barely find room to walk through. I have personally put off doing important things like wills, budgets, insurance reviews, and lots of other crap that I know I need to do.

Everyone has aspects of their life they can make better. I hope this blog can be a guide to do all the crap you need to do to help you improve yours.