The Wall Part 2

Today was the first day I cut a run short. Session 7.3 was supposed to be a 22 minute run, then after a one minute walk another minute’s run. I started off well, and after 1.5 miles felt pretty good and strong, but out of seemingly nowhere after 2 miles my legs went and I felt cramped in my side and stomach. I am pretty sure it was down to not drinking enough water over the last 2 days and being generally pretty stressed. I am going to try and do 7.3 again at the weekend, and have a 3-day rest, which I haven’t had since I started this routine.


Week 7 and a Goal in Sight

Today I signed up for Run the River 5K, which is in support of the Young Professionals Council. The event is on Randall’s Island just of the east side of Manhattan on October 27th. I ran this event in 2010 with a time of 28:49. Two years older and achier, that’s the time to beat. Of course, 25 mins would be really awesome, but at this point just beating a younger me would actually feel great.

Today I managed a rather feeble 2.3 miles in 23:58 (first mile was 10 mins). That compares to 21:11 two sessions ago and 21:56 last session. I seem to be going backwards. I seem to have gotten comfortable with a certain pace and regress back to it, rather than pushing harder as I get used to the speed and feeling of running. I’ll see how it goes on Wednesday.

Week 6 – The Elusive 3rd mile

Week 6 has shaken things up a little, where previously each week focused on a routine that was repeated 3 times, week 6 had three different routines.

1) After warmup, jog 6:00 mins, walk 1, Jog 12 mins, walk 2
2) After warmup, jog 10 mins, walk 1, jog 8 mins, walk 2
3) After warmup, jog 20 mins

So today was 6.3 and I completed the 20 mins. It’s been difficult to guage my pace until now, as usually I’ll start running after setting up the GPS tracer or have to stop to tie a shoelace (this has happened a couple of times) and walking for 2, 3 or 4 mins out of the total run time impacts the pace a lot.

So after 6 weeks, I feel a little better, look a little better and know I am running a little better. But by how much? Well, not as much as I might have thought.

Today I ran 2.3 miles. The first mile I ran in 9:34, which if maintained for 5K would get me in a sniff under 30 mins. The second mile was 9:04, which if started and maintained for 5K would get me in in just about 28 mins. My fastest 5K in recent years has been 28 mins 50 seconds, give or take. However, I really want to beat 25 minutes, so there is a lot of work to do.

To beat 25 mins, I have to average 8 min miles which means an average pace of 7.5 mph. How fast am I now?

Averaged 5mph

Over the last 6 weeks I have averaged just around 5 mph. There has been a slight uptick in the last week, but not nearly enough. Not only to I have to find an extra 20% speed, I need to maintain it for the 3rd mile. During today’s run towards the end, I was flagging so it’s going to be a few weeks yet.

The June edition of Runner’s World has a section on beating 30 mins, 25 mins and 20 mins respectively for a 5K. Their guidance is 25 mins is achievable by “runners who regularly perform long runs of at least eight miles and can complete one all-out mile in about 7:25 to 7:45”. That feels like one hell of a mountain to climb.

Despite my best run yet, I suddenly feel further from my goal than ever.

Week 5 – A New Milestone

So I was surprised by the sudden speed increase in week 5. Slowly the running is taking up more of the  30 mins, but breaking the 10/min mile seemed like a pretty big achievement, which I did today for the first time.

For week 5, couch to 5k has a run of 8 mins, walk 2 mins, run 10 mins walk 2 and end. The feeling of instant exhaustion right at the start of the run has finally subsided and I am not getting to the point of actually feeling stronger near the end of the second run than I do when starting. I am also gradually increasing pace rather than decreasing pace as the run goes on, which is a good spot to be.

So over 2 miles for the last 3 runs, I have averaged 10:18 min/mile, 10:12 min/mile and 10:09 min/mile. Still super slow, but literally from couch, past ouch to ‘not bad mate’.

Not bad mate.

Week 4 – Effect of Running on Biking

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite mountain biking trails near New York, Six Mile Run in New Jersey. As the name suggests, there is a six mile trail running through it, but thanks to some creative loops and variations, there is a decent 12 – 16 miles or so of mountain biking (and hiking) trails, much of which is really satisfying twisting single-track.

I’ve been about half a dozen times before this year and although have no real difficulty in completing the 12 mile loop, starting out is usually difficult and pacing becomes important. After 4 weeks of running training though, I found my ride yesterday a lot easier. It’s an amazing feeling being able to directly compare my ‘normal’ stamina to how I feel right now after just 4 weeks of training.

Week 4 upped the tempo again from week 3, and the exercise is as follows: run for 3 minutes, walk 2, then run for 6 minutes and walk 3, then run 4 and walk 2. This gets you running about 2 miles in 20 mins, depending on the cool down at the end and any warmup at the start you include in the distance. While week 3 seemed difficult, despite the apparent easy of the exercise, during week 4 I often felt I could do the entire exercise again (although I didn’t!) finishing strongly.

Today’s run will be the first of week 5 and I am at the half way point. This has a run of 5 minutes, then walk for 2, run for 7 minted, walk for 2, then run for 5 minutes and walk for 1 before a cool down. I probably need to pick a slightly longer route as I am expecting to hit more than 2 miles before the 27 minutes is up.

One last thing. Running in the evening in Red Hook is so easy because of the beautiful light – keeping this up when it’s dark before I get home will be tough.

Amazing light an hour before sunset

Film set views at Red Hook

Week 3, part 1 and 2 – More aches and Pains

Week 3 started with a whimper, but it does up the pace slightly.

Week 3 has you running for 2 mins, then walk for 2 mins, then run for 3 mins and walk for 2 mins, twice. Although the overall pace isn’t really much faster, if at all, the continuous running at pace for 2 then 3 minutes is supposed to give you an indication of what your running speed might be.

On Sunday, I only managed a 12:15 min/mile for the first mile and then today for 3.2 I only managed 12:13. On both runs I managed around 11:30 min/mile for the second mile for an average of 11:52 and 11:40 respectively. This is way way slower than I’d like to be doing, as I am aiming for a 25 mins 5K. Obviously the fumbling at the start, including the warm up, cool down and walking times have a significant effect on the pace, and at this point I’m interested to know what I can do – impatient eh?

What I do know is the slow starts are due to various aches and pains – especially in my right hamstring and above and around my right knee. I am pretty certain this is to do with both a lack of fitness and lack of stretching afterwards. I am getting good quad stretches in, but not so good hamstring stretches in – I’m a little worried about my back.

Distance: 2.02 miles
Time: 23:58
Temperature: 73/23