First Strides Starts This Week

In my continued effort to lose weight and get in shape I registered for First Strides which begins all over the Lehigh Valley this week. I’ll be at the Sand Island sessions, which start this Thursday.

Basically First Strides is a running program for women that is sponsored by  Lehigh Valley Hospital, Aardvark Sports Shop (Bethlehem), and The Finish Line Running Store (Emmaus). I participated two years ago and I’m determined to get back into running again so I joined up again this year.

Basically you meet up with a swarm of other women to run, in my case at Sand Island (one of my favorite running spots), each week. After a few weeks you break out into groups that run at a similar pace. Groups have names like Jaguars, Giselle’s, even Jack Rabbits. If there was a turtle group that would have been perfect for me. In all seriousness though it is a great way to meet people with similar goals and challenges.

But in all seriousness this is perfect for first timers and even experienced runners, especially if you need some motivation. You follow a program that gradually builds  in time and speed each week, switching between slow and fast intervals. Each week the fast intervals gets longer and the slow intervals gets longer. For newbies or people like me who are coming off of a hiatus you can walk the slow interval, and run the fast interval. If you are already running or are somewhat in shape you can run both intervals, slow run and fast run. The first week the run intervals are only ONE MINUTE long. Seriously, you can do this. Each week there is also homework, at first two additional runs before the next meeting, eventually three additional runs.  By the end of the 12 week program you are ready to run a 5K. For many in the group this will be a first 5K. It was mine 2 years ago and I survived (barely). And not because they didn’t prepare me, but because I didn’t always keep up with my homework. Now I know better and I WILL keep up with the homework this time.

You can even enter the program intervals into Runkeeper to help you with your homework runs. Hopefully you picked up the pro app when it was free in January. If not, it is worth every penny. The free app is also good, try it first and if you like it get the pro version.

There is still time to register on-line. Go to the First Strides homepage and click on the location you want to sign up for and then go to the registration area. They’ll ask if you want to join Active.com, unless you are really interested, skip that part, it costs extra and is not required for joining First Strides.

I also plan to work in a few P90X routines each week because I did notice running was much easier last summer when I was on the program. I still need to find my motivation again, I’ve been extra lazy in the morning lately, only getting in about 2 P90X workouts a week.

I also tend to think I can eat a lot more (more than burning off with exercise) when I’m active so I’ll also be on the weight watchers program during all of this to keep me in line. I managed to lose 3.2 lbs at my 2nd check-in. Woo-hoo. I’m hoping to earn my first 5 lb gold star this week. Fingers crossed – I was kind of bad this weekend – I’ve burned through my extra weekly points. I must say that I like the points plus program much better – I’m eating lots of fruits and vegetables instead of crappy pre-packaged foods with artificial ingredients just to make point calculations easy and points low.

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6 responses to “First Strides Starts This Week

  1. Ugh – I just back on the running bandwagon too, after taking the winter off. It took me a good couple of weeks to finally get back into the swing of things…

    You want to run a 5K in the fall with me?

    • Missy, yeah I haven’t run regularly in over a year, with a few (maybe a dozen) runs here and there since then. Looking forward to getting back into to. I did notice the few times I ran last summer while I was doing P90X that I felt great and ran faster than even when I was running regularly. I think it was the muscles I gained from it that helped. So starting yesterday I’m back on P90X full time too.

      When/where is the race in the fall? I’d like to run it with you!

  2. Congrats on your determination! I joined a gym 6 weeks ago and am finally kicking butt on the weight loss. One word: elliptical. I was losing weight so slowly because I was only doing the treadmill. Still, I was proud of that because I hadn’t really been walking much since October. I think what’s happening now is that I’m older and have to work harder. Only walking isn’t doing it for me anymore.

    Good luck on your 5k goal, and lemme just say I tip my hat to you for even trying the P90X. Are you insane????

    Oh, and I got off the processed frozen dinner things (Lean Cuisine, etc). I’m making high-protein lunches and dinners now, with more veggies than meat. My God. Everyone’s right. That really works.

    You go, girl. I’m rooting for you!

    • Hey Kathy! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I go in and out of determination like Bret Favre goes in and out of retirement. This one feels like it may stick though! P90X is serious but you shouldn’t be afraid of it. I was for years and I’m sorry I didn’t do it earlier. There are a million ways to modify it and it isn’t boring. But it is time consuming, that is by far the hardest part. I first did it last summer and within two weeks my chiropractor was shocked by the amount of muscle I put on! I didn’t lose a ton of weight because I didn’t do anything with my diet. If anything I ate more because I thought I could because of the exercise. So I’m hoping that weight watchers keeps me in check.

      The only good thing about that processed food things is the portion control but that’s not enough to keep me eating that junk. What I’m trying to do is to eat out of my daughter’s bowls or dessert plates instead of the big ones. And I even use small glasses as bowls (for low fat ice cream and stuff). Serving sizes are soooo small. It’s the only way I can keep myself from eating like 2-3 servings.

      I also through vegetables in where ever possible. Instead of just pasta sauce and meat I put in more veggies than I do meat now and it tastes great!

      Good luck! I’m rooting for you too!

  3. I just came across this post — I’m considering joining First Strides for their next session. Glad to know that it’s worth it!

    I’m on Weight Watchers, too, and attend meetings in Phillipsburg. It’s a great program.

    • I recommend it, it’s a great program for beginners. I ended up doing the running mostly on my own this year though because I was having a hard time making there from work it each week by 6pm. But it is definitely worthwhile.

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