Tag Archives: jogging

Gotta Run One: So Far, So Good!

Howdy, ya’ll!

I’ve been working on my “Gotta Run One” challenge for, as of today, nine days. How has it been going? Has it been increasing my motivation or detracting from it? How are my little victory sticks doing with no official extended downtime? (Disclaimer: Every knowledgable runner I know said that I would be OK running daily as long as my rest day runs were short, slow and gentle.) Read onward to find out those answers and more!

1. How’s it been going?

So far, so good! I’ve really been getting used to the process of getting out there every day, which surprises me. Why? Certainly not because I lack an interest. Moreso because some days I genuinely do only have time for a single mile — and before this challenge, having only 15 spare minutes or whatever would mean that I just didn’t get my run in for the day. With this challenge, though, I am forced to take those 15 minutes and make it happen every single day. No excuses. And, to my delight, what’s been happening on days other than those time-crunch days? I find that once I’m already out there pounding the pavement, I’m usually inspired to stay out for more than my owed mile. Often it’s 5K for a shorter run; one day, it was 5 miles. I’m trying not to overdo it and overtrain, considering that I am a relatively “new” runner and my long run mileage is really ramping up quickly — I want to avoid injury! So I’m trying to do, out of 7 days, 2 “one or two” mile runs, a medium-length 5 miles or 10K, two shorter 5Ks, a “whatever I feel that day” run, and of course one long run. So far this little challenge has provided great reason to get out and stay out.

 

2. Is it increasing my motivation or decreasing it?

Yanno, I was really interested to see how this would pan out. I figured one of two things would happen: either 1) the mandatory mile-a-day would lead to me resenting running or 2) it would become the type of habit that I loved even more than I had previously. Thankfully, at Day 9, so far the latter seems to be the case. Rather than it being optional, it’s mandatory — that’s the point — and so instead of waging war with myself about “Eh, but this HEAT/HUMIDITY” or “Eh, but I only have time for like two miles which is barely worth it,” I’ve been happily going out there and doing what I can do, knowing that at least one goal — the goal of running every day – is being met. I actually think that’s where a lot of the joy in this is coming from: I’m being freed from my self-hewn prison of thinking that I MUST log bigger miles or I MUST try to keep a good speed every time I run. Of course, I don’t run as fast as I can every day or always run 10K or more. I have speedwork days, short run days, hillwork days, etc. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been hard on myself — and, 30 lbs later, it seems that it’s been a good strategy — and that I’ve been disparaging of running very short distances. For example: the lone mile. This challenge is helping me reclaim that and is helping me find joy in the corners and hollows of the sport where previously I’d either not been looking or never noticed.

 

3. How do I feel?

This was the part I was concerned about before the challenge began. The good news is that so far, I am totally fine! Having rest days where I just jog a solitary mile has really been fine as a recovery method. Otherwise, because I’m tempering my speed and my courses, running hard(er) 5 days a week has been no problem. This week alone, on Monday I ran 5.2, on Tuesday 3.19, and Wednesday 8.18. No real soreness to speak of. Of course, today will be a 2 or 3 mile recovery run. The weekend will likely hold some shorter runs and maybe one longer one. Keeping it switched up. And on the shortest running days, I’m doing yoga as crosstraining. Gentler yoga one day, and more intense yoga (the P90X yoga actually) the other day.

4. So overall?

I’m happy, and not sore, and finding a lot of joy in the process. Stay tuned for more to follow! I’ve heard some people keep patterns like this up for a year or more… We’ll see where this journey leads!

Project Speed Demon: Week 3 Update

It’s hard to make consistent updates when I’m not changing up my hustle!

Here’s the weekly plan, as it’s been standing so far:

Every other day, a 1-hour, 5+ mile run.

The “other” days, a 3.6 mile run (40 minutes, usually). 

Today, I stayed on for 66 minutes, ran 5.7 miles and burned exactly 700 calories.

I did take my 30-second rests between sets, but whatever, man.

5.7 miles later and I ain’t much care what you think about my 30-second breathers.

I’m a girl who couldn’t run a mile in January.

So there. 

Rest Days: A Reckoning

I am both pleased and unsurprised to say I finally need rest days on occasion.

WHAT?

Hah, no, really.

This isn’t a “You told me so” moment — in fact, the opposite in some ways.  Plenty of negative Nancy’s were like OH MY GAWSSSHHH THREE MILES A DAYYYY YOU WILL NEED KNEE REPLACEMENTS YOU WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE PLEASE RESTTTTTTT AND BY THE WAY DEFINITELY EAT TWICE YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN PROTEIN IN CASE YOU NEED IT CAUSE YOU WORKED OUT A LITTLE.

Can you tell by my tone how very much I disagree with those offers of advice?

I’ve always maintained I would eat what I felt I “needed” to eat, and would take a rest day if/when one was needed.

When I was averaging 3 miles a day on the treadmill, I never needed a rest day. I was never sore. I just kept on with my life. Same went for my eating habits; I ate bananas and extra protein near running time, but never felt the need to eat more. In fact, for the purposes of weight loss (and within reason/proportion) it makes no sense to eat back all the calories you just burned. That only really works as a strategy if you’re seeking to maintain.

Now, that being said, things are changing. I run about 4 or 5 days a week now instead of 7. I also tend to run 4-5 miles (usually 5.2) instead of 3. I find myself much more full-body-tired after I run (not immediately after, but in the evening and next day). I am still never sore (no achey legs!) except for in my shoulders and upper back — largely because I have shoulder problems.

FINALLY, the day I knew would come, has come: I can tell when I “need” a rest day or two. Logging 20 miles in four days usually requires a full weekend of rest, depending. I can also tell when I need a little more food. Yesterday evening, I had two “peanut butter spoons” (slightly heaped tablespoons) of Better ‘n Peanutbutter that ate up 2 of my activity points. I felt like I needed it.

It’s not that I didn’t think I’d need rest days. It’s that I got frustrated that everyone else thought they knew what was best for my body. Anyone who knows me should know that I am smart; I research EVERYTHING; I do nothing without thinking it through over and over and over. And so constant reprimands to rest more when I am trying to explain that my body doesn’t need it (or didn’t, at the level I was at, then) and demanding I eat more/suggesting I’m eating too little when I’m trying to explain that I had been feeling GOOD eating the way I was eating — well, those things were pushy, rude, and unhelpful. I know there’s plenty of people who want to support me on this journey, but I’ve done my research and if I’m not soliciting advice, perhaps I don’t want it.

In the end, yes, I now take rest days. But that’s because I’m running 5+ miles, not 2 or 3. And I eat a couple activity points (though never ALL of them — what fool would!?) when I feel it’s needed. And I can tell when it’s needed, because I’ve learned to listen to my body.

That, I think, is something I’m more proud of than anything else specific about my journey: I’m doing what I do without fat-burning pills, without supplements, without fad diets or bad habits. As a result, I’m really learning to listen when my body speaks. Knowing its ebbs and flows, the things it needs, the things it doesn’t. Knowing the ways and limits to which I can push it, and the ways to back away or be gentle. A huge part of Weight Watchers (and wellness) is coming to learn yourself — if you’re doing WW right, you too will be becoming friends with your body, and understanding its intricacies.

My advice to you, dear readers, is to work hard on doing the same. Know when others are being helpful, too, and when (conversely) they might just be contradicting your vote of confidence in your body. THIS IS NOT ME SAYING TO DEVELOP BAD HABITS OR UNSAFE HABITS OR TO STARVE OR TO OVER-EXERT YOURSELF. Moreso, this is me saying: “If I wouldn’t accept someone’s unsolicited advice about my very personal, intimate and private emotional relationship with Chelsea because, well, ‘how would anybody else know better than Chelsea or me?’ then why would I accept what someone else tells me about the relationship I have with my body?”

My body and I.

My body and me.

Me and mah bod.

Awhile ago, we didn’t need rest days or peanut butter spoons.

Now, we do.

I know it, because she told me.

And I listened.

Stress, And A Joyful Run

Sorry for my absence on Tuesday! It was a roller coaster of a day.

Taught three 1.5 hour classes back to back, one of which got observed by my supervisors. Terrifying. But my students knew I was nervous and they were total rockstars today. It was amongst the most moving experiences I’ve had in a classroom — I could genuinely tell they were trying to 1) make me look good and 2) impress the supervisor.

So that was great.

Then the stress of waiting all day to see if I would get an interview to teach at the summer program I applied to teach at. All day comes and goes. 5 o’clock comes and goes. No email. Sad and defeated I went to go hop ok the treadmill to improve my mood. I refreshed my email one more time — AND I HAVE AN INTERVIEW!

So today’s run (3.5 miles) was supremely joyful. The stress of the observation, the stress of the waiting — all over. I did a dance while running. I fist-pumped. I grooved. I smiled the whole time. I rapped. Oh, it was a sight. Tag approved though, because he loves a good campy show.

It was the first time I felt “runner’s high” WHILE running — and it was a glorious feeling.

Today was the first time I got to celebrate with a run, instead of deflect with a run. Now, I know how it feels to run with joy in my heart — and I am hooked.

Project Speed Demon: Week 2, Day 1

Well, if you count Sundays as “Day 1,” anyway. I ran Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Was irritated at myself for not running Tuesday and Wednesday.

So, my current running pattern:

— Walk at 4.0 for five minutes to warm up.

— Run for 5 minutes at 5.0

— “Sprint” (such that my slow sprints are) for 2 minutes at 6.0

— Rest 30 seconds

— Repeat, ad infinitum.

Today, I stayed on the treadmill for over 60 minutes. If you take out 5 minutes for warmup and about 4:30 for resting, I still ran about 51 or 52 minutes out of the 60 which is pretty good. If you ask me, anyway.

Today is a huge leap forward and PR for me. I am pleased!

I don’t really know if it counts as “cheating” to rest for those 30 seconds every 7 minutes. It’s not even like I’m dying and NEED the break, but it makes running so long seem like it’s broken into chunks which is good and helpful for when I get bored.

Lastly, the internet didn’t work yesterday so no Netflix while running for me. I listened to music instead and actually much preferred it.

So that’s that.

Goal: To keep running with this pattern until it becomes even more comfortable. And then to decrease rests to 20 seconds. Later, to 15. Later still to 10. Eventually, none.

Alternatively, I might run at 6.0 for 3 minutes instead of 2 each set.

Who knows?

20140406-123927.jpg

Project Speed Demon: Week 1, Day 3

I hit four miles today!

There were a few very brief ten second pauses today to switch shows, strip off a longer sleeved shirt, and adjust a strap.

So I ran an extra 0.1 to make up for it.

I walked for 5 minutes to warm up at 5.0, then ran for 5 minutes at 5.0 and 2 minutes at 6.0 over and over until the very end, where I ran at 6.0 for the last 0.2 miles so I’d hit 500 calories on the treadmill.

I know those counters aren’t always accurate! I do know. But sometimes little numbers games like that keep me engaged when my motivation starts to wane.

But yes: 4.1 miles! A new record for me.

On average, including the fact that I WALKED the first five minutes to warm up, I was doing about an 11:40-minute mile. That’s 20 seconds down from my precious best!

NAILED IT.

20140404-131950.jpg

Project Speed Demon: Minor Update

Woke up this morning feeling quite tired and still a little sore.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not the type of soreness that indicates anything is amiss — it’s just typical workout sore. But when running at 5.0, I’d avoided nearly all discomfort. So this is a little surprisising! Six minute-long “sprints” at 6.0 have done a number on me. Weird.

I’m definitely hydrated enough (I drink about 100 oz of water every day) and eat appropriate pre-run and post-run foods, etc. So I guess I’m just mentioning this to say: Yep, indeed, my little legs do feel challenged by this increase in speed.

Provided that the soreness doesn’t escalate into anything else, I don’t mind it at all.

In fact, I take it as a sign that I am doing something right.

 

 

Project Speed Demon: Week 1, Day 2

Welp, minor change of plans.

Today I was just going to run 5K at 5.0, but ended up changing my mind.

Instead, I ran 5 minutes at 5.0 then one minute at 6.0, and repeated the pattern for 45 minutes. The breaking up of the time kept me from getting bored, which was pleasant.

It really wasn’t bad at all!

However, I’m pretty sore now. I wonder if that extra push towards faster minutes here and there really made that much of a difference. I wouldn’t suspect that it would — but last week I didn’t hurt, and today I do.

To be clear: I’m not really THAT sore! Just, previously I haven’t been sore at ALL and today it certainly feels like I went for a run.

All’s well that ends well, though, and I had fun on my run today.

3.7 more miles in the books.

Project Speed Demon: The Beginning

HOKAY GUYS obviously I am not — and likely will never be — a speed demon.

But the next phase of my running life is about increasing speed and ability and endurance in various ways and I needed a pithy title for this next set of goals and so there you have it.

What ARE my goals? So glad you asked.

1. I want to run between 3-5 miles a day (typically 4) comfortably and without stopping.

2. I want to run at a 10 minute mile pace (goal #1) and then eventually a 9 minute mile pace (goal #2). If those get accomplished, we’ll discuss more speed when we get there.

3. I want to start experimenting with the treadmill’s incline.

4. Once it’s not disgusting outside (for those of you unfamiliar with Binghamton… If you think your winters are long or your weather is dreary, allow me to laugh loudly and unapologetically in your face), I want to run outside more often.

How will I accomplish these things?

I think 3 & 4 are self-explanatory.

For 1 & 2, I have a plan.

I’m going to re-set my Couch to 5K app, and begin it anew. Except, for the times it says “Walk,” I’m going to run at 5.0. When it says “Run,” I’ll run at 6.0. This will, in my estimation, slowly build me up to comfortably running ten-minute-miles — just as the initial formula got me comfortable running twelve-minute-miles.

Over time, the more comfortable I get, I’ll eventually tack on extra time — in theory, ten more minutes, so that I run four miles instead of three. Although a 30-minute 5K sounds like a plenty ambitious goal for now.

I do want to stay on the treadmill for about 45 minutes a day, so I’ll likely play around until I decide just how to do everything.

But those are the goals, and their implementation starts today.

No looking back.

No slowing down.

Three more miles.

Couch to 5K: FINAL UPDATE

Guys, it happened:

I graduated from Couch to 5K.

Thinking I had more than one workout left because of the “free run” button at the end, I went into yesterday’s run primarily concerned about getting to run in my BRAND NEW SHOES (see post below; they’re glorious). However, at the end of the run, I realized that the “free run” was an indefinite button — I could log workouts into the future.

But that meant that after yesterday’s run, my first stab at Couch to 5K was over. Just like that.

For my last workout, I did what I’ve been doing — I ran for about 39 minutes, using the extra few past 36 to make up for (more than make up for, really) any time I took a sip of water or changed the TV station, and did my five minute walking warmup. This amounted to 3.6 miles, all told.

And so, my last three miles of Couch to 5K and my first three miles in my new shoes were one and the same. The passing of a torch, in a way.

I’ll be updating soon with my plans for how I’m going to continue running (and I am, of course, going to continue) and you’ll be hearing about my adventures. The new “title” for my running adventures?

“Project Speed Demon.”

YUP I REALLY AM GOING WITH THAT.

#srrynotsrry

What’s really amazing to me, though, is that I finished the C25K program at all. When I first started, I thought nine weeks sounded like forever. I also felt very skeptical that I could ever, ever, ever finish that much running. I also didn’t believe I’d do it three times a week — let alone 6. I also didn’t believe I’d ever grow to like it.

But the nine weeks flew by; I not only finished “that much running,” but added 6 extra minutes to my daily routine (because I run 12-minute miles, not 10-minute miles, those extra 6 minutes are needed to reach the full 3.1 miles); I run 5-6 times a week happily; I’ve grown to enjoy it — I look forward to it every day.

It probably sounds hokey to say that Couch to 5K changed my life, but I suppose it did. When I started, I was nearly ten lbs heavier and incapable of running a single mile. Now, even though I run slow, I run steady. And as I always say, “That’s not nothin’.” For most of my life, running has felt like a door that’s been closed to me. Mom is good at it. Matt is good at it. My friends were good at it. I never was, but always wished I could be. What I’ve learned, I think, these past nine weeks is that I AM a runner/can be a runner, and that “good” is relative. I don’t need to be FAST to be good. I don’t need to run marathons to be good — although it would be cool to run one (baby steps… baby steps…). The discovery: All I need to do, to be “a runner,” is to run.

And I do run.

And I like it.

A lot.

And for me, that is nothing short of a miracle.

Really.

So thanks, Couch to 5K. Your terrible voice actors and occasionally glitchy logging feature were there for me every step of the way. Literally. You gave me structure and routine, and pushed me harder than I thought I could go (DAMN YOU WEEK THREE). You made me feel accomplished. You gave me a visual representation of how far I’ve come. You kept count for me. You counted ON me to be there three times a week (at LEAST), and always made me want to be better and to keep going. In your strange little poorly-voice-acted way, you changed who I am.

How can I say “thank you” enough times for that?

(But don’t worry, my little App Friend, I have plans for you… you’ll be seeing me!)

SUCCESS, guys. SUCCESS.

Thanks for accompanying me on this journey so far — we’ve got many more adventures to experience, too, what with me and these great new running shoes.

Three more miles.

And then, three more.

Three more after that.

And on we’ll go.