Some people greet the dawn like a steady friend they can’t wait to see again. I wake up at dawn ready to throttle the person who decided long ago that “normal working hours” should start so shortly after the sun has made his daily appearance to the east.
So it seems highly improbable that someone like me would arrive at the Coleman Sports and Recreation Complex at 6:30 a.m., willing to take instructions from a person young enough to be my son but also fit enough to be a drill instructor.
Yet that is exactly what I’ve been doing for several weeks now as I prepare to tackle my first ever 5K run on June 22. My early morning rise on Tuesdays, paired with an early evening course on Thursdays, is part of the “Couch to 5K’ interval fitness training offered through UALR’s Fit/Well program. (A third training each week is done on our own.)
Geared primarily towards those who have never run before, the program’s six-week goal is as already stated–to enable participants to get off the couch and complete an optional 5k at the end of training.
Having paid for a personal trainer in the past, I appreciate the value of the expertise we are provided as part of our training. As a new employee, I was pleasantly surprised to find UALR’s fitness and aquatic center is free to employees and students, unlike previous higher ed campuses where I’ve worked.
I’ve learned that I didn’t just lose muscle mass when I stopped exercising, my muscle fibers converted to easily fatigued “couch potato” muscle fiber types. And the fitter the muscle, the slower it will atrophy.
I’m long past the age where I’m consumed with a slim belly or gorgeous legs that go on forever. Fitness is now my prime motivator. I’ll never be an Olympic athlete, but running a 5K in about 20-25 minutes without falling out would be so cool.
Well, and gorgeous legs wouldn’t be so bad either.