Wednesday, September 5, 2007

0 Run 1, Week 7 (CT5K): Just Keep Moving!


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Tonight was the perfect night for running. The temperature was a clear & cool 68 degrees. There was a slight breeze, which as usual, made the temperature feel a tad bit chilly in the beginning, but then felt just right after warming up. Like the final day's workout of Week 6, tonight's run, (which began slightly before midnight, i.e., it was still technically Tuesday when I ran!), was another 25 minutes.

In fact, this whole week's runs are going to be 25 minutes, so it looks like I better get used to the fact that there are going to be no more "breaks" more here on out! ;-) For some reason, I'm finding that hard to accept.

After 6 week's gradual build-up walking & running interval times, I think that what's harder than running the actual 25-30 minutes of distance is the mental game that's been going on in my head during the whole process.

Even though I know that I can physically run for that amount of time, I constantly question whether or not I'm working my lungs & legs "hard enough" or am running "fast enough." And since I refuse to wear a stopwatch, I have to mentally gauge if I'm arriving at certain "checkpoint" locations along the path, to make sure I'm covering enough distance during the 25 minutes of running. [For example, even though there aren't any mile markers along the path where I run, I've actually tracked the distance (albeit a long time ago) with a GPS. So I know approximately how far along the path I have to be to cover a mile, two miles, etc., which certainly helps!]

As every runner knows, sometimes runs are hard & sometimes they feel almost effortless. I'm not going to deny it, tonight's run had its moments of difficulty for me. I kept a fairly even pace & felt energetic for the first three quarters of the run, but then my legs started to feel like immovable concrete blocks for about the last 5-7 minutes of the run.

Of course, it felt great when it was all over, but I was certainly more winded tonight than I was during last week's runs. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, as I can't exactly gauge whether this means "progress" or "setback." Perhaps it's too early to tell. Or perhaps I shouldn't even bother trying to label it as anything. It is what it is, after all.......

Anyhow, I think what my running analysis makes abundantly clear is that, although I'm loathe to admit it, I need a better system of measurement to gauge my progress. The CT5K program is great for starting out, but now I'm definitely looking for a program which will improve not only my distance but also my speed as well.

I think the reason I've resisted measuring & calculating such data at all for my runs thus far, is that, for the past two months or so, I haven't, really cared that much about my times until recently, since I have been running purely for enjoyment & fitness during this period. But now that I'm starting to get some measure of fitness, I need a different sort of challenge, to balance with the distance increases.

Also, while I value scientific reasoning, I'm generally not a person who cares that much about boring, overly-detailed "measurement minutia," like how many amps per minute flow through a large-scale data center UPS, or how many kilojoules are thermally conducted through my motherboard or other such nonsense. Unless I need to know that sort of thing right this second to fix a related problem, who the hell cares as long as it works! :-) Anyhow, I can always look up most of that stuff online if I need to know it. Knowing how to apply knowledge more than just memorizing facts is a WAY more important skill to have in life anyhow. (Frankly, overly exacting, anal-retentive people get on my nerves! )

So, to address the issue, I'm thinking about possibly creating a post-CT5K podcast, in which I record similar types of music (i.e., electronica, trance, etc.) & then designate different workout series as "the 10-minute mile run" or "the 9-minute mile run." This way, the total time I run won't change too dramatically, but the podcast will make it easier to gauge speed, without having to use a stopwatch. Of course I'll have to figure out how many weeks to do the 10-minute pace, the 9-minute pace, etc., but atleast this way I can say on the recording, "OK, you've reached your first 10-minute mile here," or "you're at halfway mark of your first 10 minute mile, etc." Now of course, if I slow down & get behind, it'll throw the whole thing off, but perhaps in that case I can just hit rewind on my iPod. ;-)

If anyone else thinks this would be useful to them in their training, please let me know & I'll look into recording a post CT5K training podcast. As always, I love to hear from other runners & exercisers. Even if you aren't exercising right now but are considering it, of course you're welcome to comment here as well. Everyone is a potential exerciser. :-)

So, let me know what running programs you've tried, how you like them, & what programs & podcasts you'd recommend, other than CT5K of course. ;-) Perhaps there's already something in existence that solves this issue. After all, there's no sense reinventing the wheel. Furthermore, I don't know if I actually even have the time available to record a podcast, atleast not in the next few weeks! (My upcoming art gallery show at the Sirani gallery is taking up most of my time these days. Aside from my ├╝ber-blogging that is! ;-) I think I might need professional help to keep from blogging so much! LOL!)

Have a good night & good luck with your running/fitness programs!
-C

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