Getting through the training grind with a little help from ChatGPT – The Hastings Tribune

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Updated: September 4, 2023 @ 6:34 am

The act of running had long been a nemesis of mine. I loathed it. Running was my least favorite part of practices in high school and college, and I could never wrap my head around why anyone would do it for fun.
Well, 32 years into my life, I finally started making it part of my lifestyle. My wife is a big reason for that. Actually, she is THE reason for it. When we started dating, I knew she was an avid runner, and I wanted to be able to take part in her hobbies with her, so I started getting into the sport.
Over the last two years, I’ve ran in eight 10k races, one half marathon, and I was part of an eight-person relay team that covered 70 miles in Iowa. My wife and I have four more races lined up to finish this year up, including another half marathon and another 70-mile relay.
Honestly, I didn’t understand the adrenaline rush runners get from the “race atmosphere” until I experienced it the first time. It’s definitely what gets me through those long races and it’s one of the things that makes those miles worth it. Because the miles put in during training, they stink.
Training is tough, especially if you don’t stay consistent in that training throughout the year. I enjoy the time I get to spend with my wife while we train, but it sure can be tough to gather the motivation to lace up those shoes and get the feet moving.
We’re in the midst of training; we’re not overly competitive, but we do have goals for ourselves, especially when it comes to the half marathon in November. The race offers a training plan you can follow, and we’re working on that.
Personally, as a former running hater, I thought the “beginner” training plan was crazy — 16 miles during the first four days of running? Why didn’t they send the training plan that prepares you for the beginner training plan?
Out of curiosity, I turned to ChatGPT (v. 3.5) to construct a running plan. I started by requesting a plan for a beginner, and while the itinerary included fewer miles, it was pretty close to the same regimen as the plan we were given previously. I took things to the next level and asked GPT to build a plan 12-week plan that would get me prepared to finish the half marathon in under 2 hours.
Not only did it give me a mile count for runs but it detailed what kind of pace I should set for myself. Here’s an sample of the plan it gave:
Weeks 5-8: Increasing Distance
Monday: Rest or Cross-Training
Tuesday: 4 miles with the first half at an easy pace and the second half at a slightly faster pace
Wednesday: 5 miles at an easy pace
Thursday: 4 miles with the first half at an easy pace and the second half at a slightly faster pace
Friday: Rest or Cross-Training
Saturday: 7 miles at an easy pace
Sunday: Rest
Going forward, we’ll kind of blend the two plans, incorporating some of the pace techniques in our training. Right now, we have a schedule that allows us to run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, with cross training workouts on the other days.
Wanting to keep active during those “off days,” I asked Chat to come up with a 12-week plan that compliments the running plan, giving me workouts for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I stipulated that the workouts need to be 45 minutes and focus on core and overall fitness, without going too hard on the legs — I need all the fresh legs I can get for running!
I also added that our current equipment repertoire features only dumbbells, resistance bands, and a medicine ball. That way, it keeps the plan manageable for our home workouts.
Weeks 1-4: Building a Solid Foundation
Day 1 (Monday) — Core and Upper Body: Plank: 3 sets of 45 seconds; Russian Twists with Medicine Ball: 3 sets of 30 twists; Push-Ups (or modified push-ups): 3 sets of 12 reps; Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 15 reps (each arm); Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
Day 2 (Wednesday) — Total Body:
Squats with Dumbbells: 3 sets of 15 reps; Resistance Band Chest Press: 3 sets of 12 reps; Resistance Band Pull-Aparts: 3 sets of 20 reps; Bicycle Crunches: 3 sets of 25 reps (each side); Resistance Band Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps
Day 3 (Friday) — Core and Cardio:
Mountain Climbers: 3 sets of 45 seconds; Side Planks: 3 sets of 30 seconds (each side); Dumbbell Woodchoppers: 3 sets of 15 reps (each side); Flutter Kicks: 3 sets of 45 seconds; Burpees: 3 sets of 10 reps
In a previous article, we used ChatGPT to develop a meal plan based on the fat, protein, and carb amounts we wanted as part of our daily intake. GPT makes it pretty easy and entertaining to plan out a healthy lifestyle. The hardest part is the execution, which lies solely on our shoulders.
Training isn’t always fun, but I have to admit that I have some excitement seeing the structure of the plans. Being able to visualize the beginning, middle and end has me a little more motivated to perform well in training and, hopefully, ultimately the big race.

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