Why don't old people run?

I did not expect to become a runner as I commenced my preparation for retirement but this new development, this new interest, has been both exciting and dare I say it not a little challenging. I can see two solid reasons that I began running, and the first is I believe a common occurrence in our troubled times: with the closing of gyms and pools during the Covid lockdowns of 2020 I took to running in the street as one of the few options available to me for exercise. The second reason is perhaps the one that will keep me running long after the ending of the Covid troubles: my granddaughter asked me: "Grandpa, why don't old people run?". An excellent question and a great challenge! And so on this page I will write in some details of of my response to this challenge and in particular my running experiences with the Galloway method of training for a 10K run, a training method that will hopefully keep me fit and injury free as I slowly become the "old person" that so worried my granddaughter!

A running program...

As it turns out apart from some experiences at school, which involved desultory participation in sports, I had not been an active runner for some 40 years. And so following the Covid lockdowns of 2020 it should not surprise anybody (although it surprised me!) that when I started energetically and recklessly pounding along on the road, with high speed and long distance being my two best friends, I had my early running career cut short by two painful injuries. This left me with a choice of giving up running completely or remaining with running and training both more cautiously and more wisely.

And so here I am with a nice Garmin Forerunner 935 watch, a GymBoss and a goal of becoming a strong runner with a more than decent running base. I had already met the free adaptive Garmin Coach programs and successfully completed a 5K program but a 10K program with Jeff Galloway attracted me as it promised what I was after: success at completing a 10K run, a better chance of avoiding injury as well as the establishment of a non-ego based solid running base. I will write up this 15 week program in real time, as I actually undertake the program, in part to keep my own goals and plans solidly formulated but also so that perhaps others may profit from my own examples, successes and failures.

Week 1...

Setup on the Garmin virtual coaching plan was pretty straightforward and the details I gave of a regular 15K per week running at an overall average of about 8:0 min/km (12.87 min/mile) with an expectation of three runs per week for the plan gave me a 15 week program. I am going for completion rather than time as I confess, Gentle Reader, that my longest run so far has only been 8K (4.97 miles); there will perhaps be opportunities in the coming years for time based runs once I am a more established runnwe. But now for the first week:

  1. Benchmark Run: So the direction is to run strongly for five minutes, with a suitable warmup before and cool down after. I took my normal flat route for this one and did not sprint, but certainly pushed things along a little and covered 0.79km (0.49 miles) in the five minutes with a run pace of 6:19 min/km (9.96 min/mile). Pretty good for me although I did have to resist the urge to then go for a longer run. Total workout distance was 1.23km (0.76 miles).
  2. Drill Workout: This was my introduction to both Cadence Drills and Acceleration-Glider Drills and fortunately for me there were two short videos to explain the general idea. I enjoyed the cadence drills and the idea of moving the feet quickly and lightly is a concept that carries over to Yoga. I managed to get my cadence up to about 175spm but more work needed there. My Acceleration-Glider Drills were not very graceful but I get the idea anyway! Total workout distance (this includes a 10 minute warmup and a 10 minute cooldown) was 3.10km (1.92 miles).
  3. Run Walk Run: My first long run with the Jeff Galloway Run Walk Run method and the little GymBoss made the timing all very easy. There was the usual 10 minute warmup and 10 minute cooldown with the main run 4.02km (2.49 miles). The main run I covered in an average of 8.25 min/km (13.27 min/mile) with a run/walk setting of 4:1 min. I suspect that, based on a few twinges from the old injury, I will alter that to 3:1 min for the next long run. It was a great run on a cool Spring morning with a total workout distance of 6.22km (3.86 miles). I chose to run the route that I will use for my eventual 10K 'race', it runs by a busy road and has some hills but it runs on forever and thus sets a path for any future hopefully even longer runs.

First week done and so far a cautious thumbs up to Jeff's 10K plan which has taught me a few new skills already and also taught me the value of slowing my running down. Next week's plan has already appeared automagically on my watch and I look forward to week 2 of 15 coming up after a two day break. Total distance covered in the first week was 10.55km (6.55 miles). And in case you think that I am something of a sluggard with this distance, Gentle Reader, I can tell you that I also swam a total of 9.5k (5.90 miles) in 3 pool sessions between my running efforts!

Week 2...

Since I run Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have had 2 days rest from running (admittedly one day is for strength training and swimming) so I am well rested and ready for another week of the 10K program! But now for the running:

  1. Drill Workout: So this drill workout was a mirror image of the first week's drill workout: thus consolidation time. It was a beautiful cool early Spring day and the late afternoon run was very, very nice and my old injury seems to be finally releasing its grip on my stride. There was a 10 minute warmup and a 10 minute cooldown with both Cadence and Acceleration-Glider Drills (3 of each). I spotted a 179spm for the Cadence Drill, very happy with that. The total workout covered 3.28km (2.03 miles) with an average pace of 7.40 min/km (11.90 min/mile). A good, solid effort in marvellous weather and beautiful surroundings!
  2. Drill Workout: A mirror image workout again from the first workout of this week and this time I was running much more comfortably in yet another cool Spring evening with light rain. The Cadence Drill saw a maximum of 181spm and I am definitely feeling much lighter on my feet. Distance covered was a little less with this session as there were some hills: total distance of 3.05km (1.89 miles) with an average pace of 7.46 min/km (12.00 min/mile). A sneak look forward in the schedule reveals that next week there will be extra Cadence and Acceleration-Glider Drills.
  3. Run Walk Run: This is the second of the long runs using the Run Walk Run method and I made a few changes this time. Firstly I altered my GymBoss to give a 3 minute run and 1 minute walk as well as getting rid of vibrate and dropping back to a double beep. Much better! I also incorporated the Acceleration-Glider drills into this run with great success. This run was on a warmer day, but early in the morning so not too hot yet, and the run section was 4.83km (3.0 miles) which I ran/walked at a steady 8.23 min/km (13.24 min/mile). Adding in the 10 minute warmup and cooldown this gave a total of 6.90km (4.28 miles). A nice run with the first few hints in place for the coming Australian summer.

The end of week 2 is here and I can see already that I have made a good choice with Jeff Galloway as my virtual coach. I am running well and I have not aggravated the old injury with this gentle increase of workload. An observation in one of the documents that comes with the coaching plan is that the long runs can never be too slow or have too many walk breaks and I think I have now found the best recipe for that, for myself. Total distance covered this week was 13.23km (8.22 miles) which is elegantly up from last week's 10.55km (6.55 miles) and a total of 9.8km (6.08 miles) in the pool. And now for a couple of days with no running...

Week 3...

So week 3 commences and according to the weather forcasts I will be running through some rain. I should probably get used to this as the east coast of Australia will be experiencing a La Niña weather pattern with cooler weather and more rain over at least the beginning of summer. Hopefully no fires, some might remember Australia burning last summer!! Anyway less talking and more running...

  1. Drill Workout: Once again a sequence of 10 minute warmup, Cadence Drills, Acceleration-Glider Drills (this time an increase to 4 of each) and ending with a 10 minute warm down. The Cadence Drills went well although it is sometimes hard to move the legs and feet faster! Peak cadence this time was 185spm and I noticed that this had me running at 5.49 min/km (8.83 min/mile) which is fast for me. Incorporating the Acceleration-Glider Drills into my normal running has meant that these drills are now quite pleasant to do. Total distance for this workout was 3.22km (2 miles) which is pretty standard for the drill workouts. There is a mini-heatwave at the moment but a combination of an early morning run and my incredible Patagonia Airchaser running shirt meant that it did not feel all that bad!
  2. Drill Workout: Great run this morning in the cooler weather that followed the high temperatures we have experienced over the last few days. The drill workouts were the same as day 1 for this week and while the Acceleration-Glider Drills are going along well I ran the Cadence Drills with a marked improvement. Peak cadence was 187spm and briefly on my watch I saw 4.59 min/km (7.38 min/mile); not sustainable in any shape or form but great to see this newest possible burst of speed! Maintained a slow jog for both 10 minute warmup and cooldown so total distance of this workout was 3.43km (2.13 miles). Good to see some solid progress and this only week 3 of 15!
  3. Magic Half-Mile: This was my first experience with a 'Magic Half-Mile' session and I enjoyed it immensely. There was the usual 10 minute warmup and 10 minute cooldown with 10 minutes being a good time interval for this 60 year old man. After the warmup there was a steady Run Walk Run of 2.5km (1.55 miles) run followed by an 800 metre (0.49 mile) harder effort. This harder effort (Magic Half-Mile) was meant to be run hard but not sprinted with the subscript of: 'Push yourself!'. Which I did with the quite pleasing speed of 6.01 min/km (9.67 min/mile). Good news I felt that I could have pushed a little harder here and even better news was that my cadence during this trial was a maximum of 173spm. I look forward to testing myself with a full Magic Mile which I believe may pop up in a couple of weeks. This session 5.24km (3.25 miles).

One deliberate strategy I am utilising in this slower starting running program is to run on as many different surfaces as possible. Previously I would only run on pavements or roads as with these I could get greater speed, this was an ingredient to my eventual injuries. I have some good choices of rough bush tracks, firetrails, grassed sidewalks, pavements and roads and I distribute my running efforts amongst these without worrying about loss of speed. Always something to be learnt from injuries. Total distance for this week was 11.89km (7.38 miles), a little down from last week but a peek forward shows me that the next long run will be 6.44km (4 miles) so distances will start building up again!

Week 4...

It is hard to believe that I am now into week 4 of this 15 week program! I am very happy with this return to running after injury and although I retain an awareness of the injury location it is hampering my running less and less, my stride is becoming a lot more free and without trying I can see my speed and distance slowly increasing. But now for week 4:

  1. Drill Workout: No change in this drill workout from last week so I have concentrated on improvement. The Cadence Drills went very well and I saw a maximum cadence of 187spm, so on the second workout of this week I will see if I can move my legs a little faster and break 190! Courtesy of this increased cadence I saw a best pace of 5.00 min/km (8.04 mins/ml) and I am keen to drop below this. In a small variation I extended the 10 minute cooldown at the end of the workout (by selecting 'Resume' on the watch) giving a total distance for this workout of 4.36km (2.70 miles). I was running easily and it was a beautiful warm but overcast Spring day, so why not...
  2. Drill Workout: Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. It was a cool Spring day but with humidity a little higher than Winter it was a little bit sweaty at the end. The Cadence Drills went very well in part because I re-read the directions for doing these and ran the first drill as a warmup and then cranked it up after this. My maximum run cadence was 195spm which was exactly what I was aiming for, and this generated a speed that I never seen before: 4.29 min/km (6.90 min/mile). Most satisfactory and a sign that I am definitely moving in the right direction. Again I ran on after the final 10 minute cooldown giving a total distance for this workout of 4.33km (2.69 miles).
  3. Run Walk Run: After the 10 minute warmup the schedule calls for a 6.44km (4 mile) run and finishing with a 10 minute cooldown. It was an unusually cool, rainy day for this run and I actually started out at 1000hrs, normally I run in the early mornings and late evenings. I ran a new course which looks like at its full stretch will go 10K outward and of course the same return, this run and distance has now been filed away for future use! My mission on this run was to keep to just over 8.00 min/km (12.87 min/mile) and I achieved this perfectly with an eventual 8.12 min/km (13.06 min/mile). A great run that left me tired as there is a mind-altering hill in the middle section! Run/Walk ratio remains 3:1 mins and it looks like this will do me for this 10K program. Total workout was 8.70km (5.40 miles). A great run!

To celebrate my success with this program, and also to acknowledge the warmer weather on the way, I made a few online running purchases this week. I have been using a Patagonia AirChaser shirt and while it is not cheap it is a fantastically light shirt and I have enjoyed wearing it so much that I have ordered another one. And while splashing out I have also ordered some nice, but expensive, lightweight running shorts. I think this is both an investment as well as a commitment to my health and running future. Fortunately my shoes are OK, I added my Asics GEL-Nimbus runners to the 'Gear' section of Garmin Connect back in March 1st 2020 (my first run!) and looks like they have done 274.36km (170.47 miles) and should be right for a total of 643.74km (400 miles). Interesting to see how long that takes! For this week the total distance was 17.39km (10.80 miles).

Week 5...

And so a new week of running and the forecast is again for coolish days and scattered showers which is pretty much perfect for running! I think that La Niña will be my running friend for this entire program as will be cooler and wetter for Spring and Summer, great news when you remember, as I have mentioned before, that Australia burned last season. But now for the running:

  1. Drill Workout: So the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. Being an old hand at this now I went in with a plan for the Cadence Drills and it worked out exactly as I planned: first drill at 175spm, second at 185spm, third at 195spm and go for whatever I could on the fourth run. This was a very satisfactory 200spm with a mind blowing pace (for me) of 4.43 min/km (7.12 min/mile). Excellent!! I extended the cooldown, in part because I was avoiding visitors at home, so the entire workout was 5.03km (3.12 miles). Not sure what my plan will be for the upcoming drill workout now that I have hit the peak goal for steps per minute, I will see how I go on the day.
  2. Drill Workout:A duplicate of the previous drill workout and I am enjoying the chance to not only consolidate but to improve as well. It was a beautiful sunny morning and I took my usual route that I have selected for these drill sessions, a combination of grassed running for the warmup and road running for the actual drills. My legs were a little slower today but I ran the Cadence Drills at 180spm, 180spm, 190spm and frustratingly 197spm! I extended the cooldown again so the total workout today was 5.01km (3.11 miles).
  3. Magic Half-Mile: This time a 10 minute warmup, 3.22km (2.00 miles) run, a 'Magic Half-mile' and a 10 minute cooldown. This workout pretty much went like clockwork except that I forgot to strap on my GymBoss! Never mind, I just had to check my watch a little more often than I had planned; it would be nice if my Garmin had this function, I would pay for that. The Run Walk Run segment went according to plan with the pace kept at just over 8 min/km (12.87 min/mile) which is now my official easy pace. The Magic Half-Mile went well and I concentrated on pushing the cadence up, even though with tired legs I only managed 180spm. The pace for the 800 metres (0.49 mile) was a very pleasing 5.29 min/km (8.51 min/mile) although that was pushing well and truly into Zone 5. Previous Magic Half-Mile was 6.01 min/km (9.67 min/mile) so a great improvement here. Total distance for this workout was 5.91km (3.67 miles).

A big shoutout to Pat on the Garmin Coach Runners Community Facebook page who steered me towards some great running socks: Feetures. I no longer wear my sweaty cotton socks and it has been a real game changer with a much more pleasant running experience. Pretty much kitted out now with a Garmin 935, GymBoss, 3 running shirts, 2 pairs of running shorts, 2 pairs of Feeture running socks and a single pair of running shoes. Once I have finished this 10K plan (January 2nd 2021) I will invest in some trail shoes and start hitting the Blue Mountains trails. Upcoming retirement is looking very good! Total running distance for this week was 15.95km (9.91 miles).

Week 6...

A special week of running this week as I now have my retirement date set, so I have 6 weeks to go until I end my working career. Both exciting and a little scary! So this week I am running with the mindset of not just running for the 15 weeks of this program but preparing myself for running for the next 20 years. If things are a little slow and careful this is to set my bones, ligaments, tendons, lungs and heart for the long haul. But now for the running...

  1. Drill Workout: So again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. It was cold and raining with the result that I felt more than a little hard-core going out in the rain! I am back at work for the next few weeks so I was tired and a little flat but still had a good run. For the Cadence Drills I achieved 180spm, 190spm, 190spm and 199spm; and yes that last number was a painful 1spm off my goal. Best pace here was 4.11 min/km (6.61 min/mile) which although attained for a very small time was my fastest pace ever. Total distance for this workout was 3.42km (2.12 miles).
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. But I confess, Gentle Reader, that I intended to go a little 'off plan' with this workout. The warmup was standard and I then approached the Cadence Drills a little differently and rather than pushing hard each time for a quick turnover of my legs I aimed for a steady 170spm with each round. This turned out well and I will try the same again next week with perhaps a higher number. I took my GymBoss along for this workout with a plan of extending the warmdown somewhat, the weather was nice and I was keen to snag some of those nice Halloween Garmin badges! So I appended a longer Run Walk Run section to the end of the workout to give a total distance for this workout of 7.02km (4.36 miles). I enjoyed the extra run and if I pull up well enough I may repeat this next week.
  3. Run Walk Run: Standard 10 minute warmup, an 8.04km (4.99 miles) and ending up with a 10 minute cooldown. A definite reminder call today that I am still a beginner runner! A warm, pre-storm sort of afternoon with some heavy clouds building and I was tired to start with as I had just done a dreaded 'late-early' shift. I headed out on the highway on what will be my eventual 10K race track. And, Gentle Reader, it was a hard run with me still managing to keep the 8.04km (4.99 miles) at an average of 8.18 min/km (13.16 min/mile) as planned but I confess that after the cooldown I was completely wrecked. My endurance over longer distances is obviously still a work in progress, but this is still only Week 6 of 15 so still lots of time to improve. Total workout distance was 9.99km (6.20 miles).

So a very interesting week with a reminder during the week that I still have a lot of work to do. Energy levels down at the moment because I am back at work but only for another 5 weeks now. Total distance this week of 20.43km (12.69 miles) so a definite increase in distance from last week. More work to do and I am more than ready to undertake this work!

Week 7...

Looks like the rain is off for the week which should definitely make running a little easier. Intensive Care has been a little draining I confess and this has taken a little of the energy that I normally give to this running prorgram. I just have to remember that I only have 5 weeks to go and then I will have plenty of time and energy for completing this 10K program. My plan was to finish the plan on January 2nd and then simply run for the hotter months of January and February. If all goes well I will start a half marathon plan in Autumn / Winter 2021. But now for the running:

  1. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. I confess to a little exasperation at this constant repeat of the drill program! Nevertheless I worked hard on the Cadence Drill and peaked at 195spm with the 200spm eluding me yet again. The Acceleration Glider Drills are getting smoother although the 'glide' could do with some work still. I took my GymBoss and extended the cooldown somewhat and allowed my run rate to bubble along at just over 7.20 min/km (11.58 min/mile), so a little faster than my standard Run Walk Run pace. Total distance for this workout was 5.75km (3.57 miles).
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. It was a beautiful morning for a run although the threat of a hot day had me running in the early morning. Once again I took my GymBoss with me so I could extend the cooldown, a practice I think will keep with while also keeping a close eye on the weekly total distance. The Cadence Drills took me from 180spm to 197spm and felt a lot easier as I deliberately shortened my stride and relaxed my whole body during the drill. The Acceleration Glider Drills seemed to have more of a 'glide' so I was happy with this. With the extended cooldown the total distance for this workout was 6.41km (3.98 miles).
  3. Magic Half-Mile: This time a 10 minute warmup, 4.02km (2.49 miles) run, a 'Magic Half-mile' and a 10 minute cooldown. Yet another cool but sunny day so I set out again with the plan of extending the final cooldown. The Magic Half Mile was pretty much identical to my previous effort with a pace of 5.32 min/km (8.56 min/mile), I had hoped for more but I confess that work in ICU has been draining my energy big time. With the extended cooldown the total workout covered 9.05km (5.62 miles).

Almost halfway through this 10K plan and I have taken a moment here to write up a deliberate pace strategy for myself. As it stands I currently have three reasonable well defined speeds:

I am hoping that in the near future I will look at these speeds and have a quiet chuckle at how slow I was in the early days! But for the moment I am very happy with these numbers as a new runner and a man only a month away from 60 years old. Total distance covered for this week was 22.66km (14.08 miles) so I am still slowly increasing distance covered week by week.

Week 8...

So this week I have a focus on increasing distance so both drill days will have a longer distance than usual with a slow, steady pace. Hopefully the total distance will be about 25km (15.53 miles) which will represent a reasonable increase from last week's 22.66km (14.08 miles). But now for the running:

  1. Drill Workout:The identical pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. I am beginning to suspect that the Garmin Coaching plan might be stuck in the loop that I have been reading about online? Anyway I am making my own arrangements by adding a longer run onto the end of the workout and this is keeping me happy and also slowly increasing my total mileage. Cadence drills went well with 180, 180, 190 and 200spm so I am happy with this careful increase; Acceleration-Glider Drills also going well. I ran on an old firetrail so once again varied ground was the go and this is part of of my grand plan for avoiding injury. Total workout distance was 7.00km (4.34 miles).
  2. Drill Workout:The drills remain the same and I confess that I am starting to feel that Jeff is 'asleep at the wheel' with the plan stuck in a groove. Nevertheless I ran the drills as required and once again found a cadence of 200spm tantalisingly out of reach! It was a glorious early summer day and the beginning of the heat had me stripped down to a lightweight singlet top for the first time this season. The cicadas were absolutely deafening which always seems to me to be the quintessential sound of summer! As I am planning on a 10% increase in distance from here on in I extended the cooldown and turned it into a longish run with a total distance for the entire workout of 8.00km (4.97 miles). This puts me on target for a 25km (15.53 miles) week!
  3. Run Walk Run: So this workout has a 10 minute warmup followed by a 8.85km (5.49 miles) slow run and then a 10 minute warmdown. I felt more than a little hard core today as I ran through rain and wind on a day when thunderstorms were forecast for the upcoming afternoon. A nice course with only one mind-altering hill on the way back, a hill that is such a heart breaker that one comedian in a car offered to drive me to the top! And for the record I refused the offer and ran up the hill.I extended the run slightly as I was feeling quite strong but still kept the entire run slow. Total distance for this workout was 12.01km (7.46 miles).

My main goal for this week was to get a gradual increase of total distance and in this goal I was successful The total distance run for the week was 27.01km (16.79 miles) which means that I will aim for about 30km (18.64 miles) next week. Very happy with my progress on this 10K training plan which is now well and truly in its second half.

Week 9...

I have been concentrating pretty solidly on increasing my total running mileage per week and I am using this week to consider my eventual goal for this program, which finishes at the end of 2020. At the moment I think that I would like to be running a solid 35-40kms (21.74-24.84 miles) per week in 3 sessions. This would be a great and very solid base for fitness as well as providing a good springboard for subsequent training for a half marathon distance or even getting a decent 10K time in the New Year. Looks like at the moment I can probably run a comfortable 10K at about 7 min/km (11.26 min/mile); lots of possibilities! But now for the running:

  1. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. So again I am focussing on increased distance and this time I did increase the cooldown run but I also consciously worked on using a faster cadence during this run and also worked a little harder on the Acceleration-Glider Drills during the run walk changes on this run. It was an early, Sunday morning run and I enjoyed the quiet, lack of cars and the bird and cicada music! Total run for this workout was 9.00km (5.59 miles) with an overall pace of 8.08 min/km (13.00 min/mile).
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. I confess that I am moving a little further away from Jeff's plan as although I certainly went through the required drills my focus was on having a reasonable run added on to the warmdown at the end of the workout. This run was aimed quite deliberately at a pace just above 7.00 min/km (11.26 min/mile) which I suspect will be the pace I will aim at during the 10K run at the end of this program. This should give me a time of 70 minutes for 10K and this will be a good beginning for my future 10K runs. Total distance for this workout ballooned out to 10km (6.21 miles).
  3. Magic Half-Mile: This time a 10 minute warmup, 4.83km (3.00 miles) run, a 'Magic Half-mile' and a 10 minute cooldown. To make my target of 30km (18.64 miles) for the week I need this workout to be 11km (6.83 miles) and I will be aiming quite deliberately for this distance. A much warmer day today so I did not push as hard with the Half Mile while continuing to push the distance element. A pace of 6.27 min/km (3.89 min/mile) for the Half Mile and a total workout distance of 11.00km (6.83 miles). The cicadas were so incredibly loud that several times I did not even hear my GymBoss go off while it was clipped to my shorts as usual and I had to resort to holding it!

A fascinating week running where I am starting to move away a little from the Jeff Galloway plan somewhat while still using it as a general guide. The raw distance is coming up quite nicely with an overall plan of adding another 10k (6.21 miles) to the weekly distance over the next 5 weeks. This will leave me with a mid-summer running plan (post 10K program) of 3 runs per week: 10K, 10K and a long, slow 20K. Ready for a half marathon plan in Autumn! Total distance for this week was 30km (18.64 miles) which was exactly as planned.

Week 10...

And so I seem to be coming towards the end of my plan and you can mark me down as a solid convert to the Run Walk Run method which has seen me running well post injury and really enjoying the increasingly longer distances! For this week I am aiming for a total of 32km (19.88 miles). But now for the actual running:

  1. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. A forecast very hot day and a morning shift meant that I actually commenced this run at 0415hrs in light rain and complete darkness. I took advantage of the lack of traffic and ran through the deserted main shopping centre and then headed west towards the top of the Mountains. Beautiful run! The Cadence Drills I capped at 180spm and the Acceleration-Glider Drills were very smooth.I extended the workout considerably and used my 10K race pace with Run Walk Run to take the total workout distance to 10km (6.21 miles).
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. So the plan for this run was to run the drills and then start working on some gentle hill work and I can mark this down as a mistake Gentle Reader. The Cadence Drills went well with me using less effort and achieving a maximum 192spm and again the Acceleration-Glider Drills went well. I planned to extend the cooldown as always and towards the end I incorporated a little hill work. Wrong way to do this and at the end of a longish run this tired me too much and I accomplished only a total run of 9km (5.59 miles). A nice video from Jeff when I got home pointed out that hill work was intended purely to increase speed and of course I am after completion of 10K (Jeff's goal) and an increased total distance (my personal goal), with speed increase a long way down the list of wants. Lesson learned and I have reaffirmed my goal of achieving 40K running per week by the end of 2020.
  3. Run Walk Run: Standard 10 minute warmup, an 9.65km (5.99 miles) run and ending up with a 10 minute cooldown. Having dropped a kilometre during the week I aimed for this long, slow run to have a total distance of 13km (8.07 miles). So with this run I used my 'Australian summer hot weather strategy' which is working well for me. I started the run at 0500hrs and wore a lightweight singlet top, lightweight shorts and the amazing Feeture socks! Plus I did not push the run as hard as I have done in Autumn and Winter. A great long slow run with a total distance of 13km (8.07 miles), exactly as planned and at that hour of the morning not yet too hot...

So a total distance for the week of 32kms (19.88 miles) which was my target. A special running bonus this week also as I followed more advice from Pat in the Garmin Coaching Plans Facebook Group and purchased another pair of running shoes to alternate with my existing shoes. I am hoping that this, along with my other strategies, will help me avoid any more running injuries. My local running shop (The Blue Mountains Running Co.) had a '25% off everything' Black Friday sale and my 60th birthday is in one week, see how it all fits together? The Shoes are a pair of Hoka ATR6s which felt very comfortable as I ran up and down in front tof the running shop! The owner of the shop claims that the locals are used to this...

Week 11...

This is my last week of work before I retire and I can say now that I am very, very happy to be able to keep running in retirement. I still call myself a new runner although I am not sure when the 'new' drops away? As for this week: I hope to either run the same distance as last week or add 1-2 kilometres to the total. So the goal, if all goes well, is to run 34km (21.12 miles). And now for the running:

  1. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. A fantastic run today with a cool afternoon that is neatly bookended between two absolutely scorching late Spring days. Cadence Drills peaked at 189spm and Accceleration-Glider Drills very comfortable now. But big news, Gentle Reader, is that I have found a grassed oval to run on and on this flat surface my times were pretty amazing; I am too used to doing all of my runs on hills so this was a bit of an eye opener. I may very well run my final 10K on this surface to give myself every possible advantage. Total distance for this workout was a very satisfying 10km (6.21 miles) with a larger part of it run at a comfortable 10K pace. Great run!
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. I confess that I was a little tired for this workout as the pre-retirement preparations have been pretty wearing. Even so I gave the workout a good go and with the Cadence Drills I saw a maximum of 195spm and a peak speed on these of 5.08 min/km (8.17 min/mile). I extended the run at the end but as I was running on an old fire trail it was hilly, rough ground and generally hard going. Anyways a total workout of 10km (6.21 miles) which was my target. Hopefully a bit more energy on my final run of the week!
  3. Run Walk Run: This time a 10 minute warmup, 11.26km (6.99 miles) run and a 10 minute cooldown. A special run today as not only do I turn 60 today but I have retired from work! Special as well as this was my longest run ever. A nice cool morning and I stuck like glue to my selected pace for a long run and the whole run went very smoothly. The distance was enough so I did not extend the run at all with a total distance of a little over 13kms (8.07 miles).

An important week for me where I have celebrated my 60th birthday and also retired from the Intensive Care Unit where I have worked for the last 33 years. I am very, very happy that running has become a part of my retirement strategy and I owe a big debt to Jeff Galloway and the Run Walk Run method that is keeping me running well and injury free. Total run distance this week of 33kms (20.50 miles) which takes me a careful 1km (0.62 miles) over last weeks total distance. A big week!

Week 12...

So week 12 is here which is pretty amazing as it means I have been working on this plan for three months! Some great improvements in my running and importantly my old injury is almost a distant memory, I can still feel the spot like an old memory when I am tired though. So this week the aim is to run a solid 30kms (18.64 miles), run in the new shoes and start really visualising myself running through retirement.

  1. Drill Workout: Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. Cadence Drills showed a maximum 187spm and certainly felt a little different with new running shoes! It was an unusually cool day today and I ran up to the little grassed oval I have discovered so I could get a taste again of a faster pace. There was a Tai Chi class going on and I am afraid that my little GymBoss did not exactly add to the ambience. Total run for this workout, which I extended as usual, was 10km (6.21 miles) and since I was moving a little faster I picked up a fastest 10K of 1:15:00 which means on race day in 3 weeks I should be able to comfortably run 1:10:00. Or faster!
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. Unusually for me this running workout took place away from home and for the first time I was running on flat ground! This allowed a relatively easy 200spm in the Cadence Drills and for a brief mind-altering moment I saw a pace of 4.44 min/km (7.14 min/mile) which I believe is the best pace I have ever seen on my wrist. Running by a river down in the flatlands was very, very nice and as always I extended the cool down to make the total workout 10km (6.21 miles). A great run.
  3. Magic Half-Mile: This time a 10 minute warmup, 4.83km (3.00 miles) run, a 'Magic Half-mile' and a 10 minute cooldown. Back at home again for this workout but I was keen to run the Magic Half-Mile up on the little grassed oval I have discovered. I was a little lucky as I arrived at the oval as the cricketers were only just packing away so looks like I will need to watch the weekend times. The Half-Mile is much more pleasant on the completely flat grassed surface and I managed an average pace of 5.05 min/km (8.12 min/mile) which is a great improvement from my previous best result of 5.32 min/km (8.56 min/mile). I extended this run by a kilometre or two to reach a total workout distance of 10km (6.21 miles).

A good solid week of running and it is no coincidence that I am running a lot better now that the pressure of working in ICU has been removed from shoulders. The new shoes (Hoka ATR6) have been a fantastic purchase and I am hoping that alternating these shoes with my older shoes will be a worthwhile strategy for injury prevention. Total running distance for this week was 30km (18.64 miles) and I suspect that I might be remaining at this distance as a look forward seems to indicate that the 10K plan is entering taper territory. Almost finished this wonderful plan!

Week 13...

It looks like the running program has indeed started to taper with no long run at the end of this week. However there is another challenge on the way for me which is a week of forecast rain. My plan is to simply tough it out and run through the rain, I don't usually wear a jacket of any sort as such coverings always heat me up too much. But now for the rain soaked runs:

  1. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. And yes the rain is coming down now as it will for the next week and I got very, very wet! I held back a little on the Cadence Drills as I stuck to the pavements today and they were quite slippery, so maximum was 180spm. As always I extended the cool down quite a distance and this time ran at what I believe will be my 10K pace: slightly above 6.00 min/km (9.65 min/mile) for a total workout distance of 10K (6.21 miles). Looks like I am well and truly on top of the 10K distance now which takes all the pressure off for the final 10K run early in 2021!
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. I was lucky this morning as it was not raining for a change although there was mind-altering hmidity in place instead! Cadence Drills were solid with a maximum of 185spm. I tried something a little different today with my extended run by not using the Run Walk Run strategy and simply running the distance. I have been reading Jeff Galloway's Marathon Running book and I see there that he suggests that for a shorter training run this is quite acceptable. A good solid run of 8kms (4.97 miles) which left me tired enough that I did not reach my customary 10K (6.21 miles). Overall rate was an excellent 6.58 min/km (10.58 min/mile) which is quite satisfactory on the hilly fire trail that I ran on.
  3. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. Well, Gentle Reader, that is what I was supposed to do! I actually cancelled this workout and went for my first ever parkrun and had a really good time as well as experienced my first time running with 74 other people! Great firetrail run up higher in the Mountains with the usual soft Mountains rain coming down and I made 30:16 for the 5K race and second in my age group. Now I know the course (two hills, one water crossing, lots of rocky ground) I should be able to carve some time off this. Nice to be running with like-minded people with a huge range in fitness levels. Perfect time for me to have received a FlipBelt as a birthday gift as this is my first run where I needed to carry phone, wallet and keys. I would highly recommend this great belt!

A very interesting running week with the highlight being my introduction to parkrun. Overall my total distance is down this week with 22km (13.67 miles) which is fine. There will be the same drop in the coming week as I liked parkrun so much I will be back again next Saturday. Hopefully my daughter will join me (although she will be up ahead of me I suspect). Running is so far being very good to me!

Week 14...

Second last week of training and I feel a little sense of anticlimax as I have already accomplished my goal of running 10K several times. I will continue the training though while modifying the program yet again to include a parkrun at the end of the week. If I had not already been scared by a nasty running injury I would do the parkrun as an extra run but I am using a more cautious approach and substituting one of the planned runs with the 5K parkrun.

  1. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. The drills went very well and for me most useful drill throughout this program has been the Cadence Drills. Especially with the knowledge I have gained that increasing cadence without increasing effort will still give a big increase in speed. I extended this workout as usual with a tempo run, exploring a run I had not gone on before. Total distance for this workout was 13.5K (8.38 miles).
  2. Drill Workout:Once again the same pattern of a 10 minute warmup, 4 Cadence Drills, 4 Acceleration-Glider Drills and a 10 minute warmdown. And for the first time in a long time I had only just the time for the bare workout! With the appallingly wet weather I did not push the Cadence Drills too hard either for fear of coming a cropper. A very short workout with a total distance of 3.6K (2.23 miles).
  3. Run Walk Run:Well, Gentle Reader, I confess that once again I skipped this workout and instead went up the mountain for a parkrun! This time I took my daughter as well as my sister and it was not only a great run but I had the joy of almost catching my 31 year old daughter at the end of the run. The look on her face when she saw me almost catching her was priceless! I pushed a little harder on this run in the usual misty Mountains rain and picked up a parkrun PB which was very, very gratifying.

It is obvious to me on reading back over the last few weeks runs that I am becoming a little impatient with the program. Although I have learnt a huge amount about running from the program I am pretty ready to move off on my own now. Consequently I rescheduled my final 10K race for the first session next week, I have already run the 10K distance many times so I am more than ready! Total workout distance this week of 22.1K (13.73 miles) so like it or not I have officially tapered.

Week 15...

And so the 15 week program finishes this week and it has been a very worthwhile experience. I have gone from being comfortable with 5K runs to being quite comfortable with 10K runs. I have picked up some valuable tips especially with manipulating cadence and also gained some speed and endurance. And of course the knowledge that long, slow runs using Jeff's Run Walk Run strategy are a very valuable tool for any runner. But after all this time it is now time for the race:

So I am now a confirmed 10K runner and this prgram has now come to a close. I am taking a little break from such plans over the rest of the Australian Summer and running free for a while. I will continue with parkrun up the Mountain every week, continue with my amazing little GymBoss to increase my long run distance, start running some of the local trails and just have some fun with easy running. Perhaps in Autumn I will look at preparing for a Half-Marathon with Jeff Galloway and this would keep me busy during the cooler months. Whatever comes my way with running and training I will be open to it...

And in conclusion...

This page is a look at the travels of a beginner runner and I hope that the details of a 60 year old man slowly becoming a real runner will be useful to others who are perhaps on the same path. And I hope also that I have answered my granddaughter's question: "Grandpa, why don't old people run?". Well, Hannah, some of us do! Please feel free to contact me with any errors of fact that you have found on this page, any errors of opinion will probably remain uncorrected. In the meantime I am having a great time running in retirement, what about you?