Back on October 22nd I decided that the only way I was going to be the kind of cyclist I wanted to be (and the kind I used to be) was if I got my weight down.  I changed my diet (more on that later) and upped my workouts.  That included a decision to try and become a runner (and I use that term loosely).

I started with a program called “Couch to 5K Running Plan” from the Cool Running web site (  This 9 week program took me from alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking up to being able to comfortably run a 5K 3 times per week (OK, these are pretty slow 5K runs, but I survive them).  Survive was definitely the right word.  At the end of a run I had terrible knee pain and was more than happy to have it be over.  That’s when I decided that I needed to learn how to be a better runner.

Somewhere I had stumbled upon an interesting book that talked about an unusual approach to being a better runner.  The creator of the ChiRunning program is an ultra-marathon runner and a T’ai Chi student for many years and has developed a running style that utilizes the body mechanics of T’ai Chi to allow you to run relaxed and pain free.  I went to Kettering, OH to take a class from Brenda Gibson.  She is an excellent instructor and I left feeling like there was hope for me.  Since then I’ve been trying to focus on all of the things that ChiRunning teaches and I’ve seen my running speed increase and, even better, my knee pain is gone.

So, this week I agreed, along with my friend Ron, to enter an organized 5K race on March 8th.  My goal is to finish and not be the last one back to the parking lot.  You have to know, Ron is an top-notch, experienced runner and I told him that he should plan on doing the course twice so that we can finish together.

I know that  5K is a far cry from the kind of distances that people can justifiably brag about.  But, 3 months ago I was glad for those 90 second walking intervals after 60 seconds of jogging.  I’ve been a cyclist for 33 years.  Maybe, if I work on this, I can be a runner too.

Filed under: Fitness