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Last week, I committed to running a 5K. On New Year’s Day. At 10 in the morning. In Minneapolis. Outdoors. That’s about six weeks away, so I need to figure out how to go about preparing myself in a way that will drown out that little voice in my head screaming What were you thinking! and result in an outcome that does not include cardiac arrest (along with frostbite).

Currently, I figure I could — if you held a gun to my head — run about a mile and a half, or about 2.5K, before I would beg you to pull the trigger. So I’m going to have to ramp up my endurance over the next 45 days or so. But, where does one start? I’ve known people who have successfully trained and completed marathons, and that takes about six months of pretty brutal training. If I do the math — 26 miles = 180 days of diligent training or about seven days per mile — then that 3-mile run should require about . . .  21 days of preparation.

That timetable certainly allows for an adequate window for procrastination, but at some point between now and, say, the first week of December I’m going to have to overcome a particularly daunting obstacle: namely, my disdain for running without a basketball in my hand. It’s not my favorite activity. It’s not even one of my top 50 favorite activities. In fact, the only activity that would rank lower than running 5 kilometers outdoors on New Year’s Day in Minneapolis is swimming 5 kilometers outdoors on New Year’s Day in Minneapolis — even though the lakes here are quite picturesque.

So, why am I doing this? I’d like to say it’s because I believe you gotta push yourself beyond your comfort zone sometimes in order to make real progress on the fitness front. (And I’m extremely comfortable with the idea of not running 5 kilometers.) But I think it had more to do with a brief, but profound, lapse into lunacy.

The good news is that there are some excellent training programs designed to get an running-averse lunatic like myself amply prepared for the challenge. Here’s one from the Experience Life archives that looked promising — until I noticed it takes 90 days to complete.

I’m a pretty confident guy, though. I figure, even at my advanced age, I can muscle my way through pretty much any major challenge. That’s the power of a well-developed delusion.

 

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