Every K Counts

Yesterday I made a promise to myself to try to run at least one kilometre per day. It’s not much, I know, and hardly counts as proper training, but it does count nonetheless. It counts because for ten minutes or so when I would have been sitting around doing nothing, I was pounding away on the treadmill getting hot, sweaty and making my heart work harder than usual; it counts because even though I didn’t really feel like running this evening, I’d made a promise to myself and I kept it; and it counts because that’s two days in a row and when you go from one to two, that’s called counting.

So, yes, it was only one kilometre and it was slow and it was indoors, but if I can keep this up for a week or so then maybe it will help me to get back into a regular running routine again, which is the first step towards what any kind of proper training.

How’s your training going? How easy or difficult do you find it to get back into a proper routine again after a break from training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Routine Stuff

One of the hardest things about getting back into training over the last few months has been my inability to get into a good routine. Lack of running aside, my life was fairly unstructured over the summer and, even though I had plenty of time to get out and run, I just never got around to it.

Ironically, now that I am working full time again, I seem more able to get it done. For some reason, it’s much easier for me to tag a quick run on to the end of a day at work than it is to have the whole day to think about it. But then again, maybe that’s been the problem. Me thinking about doing anything usually ends in procrastination.

So, this evening, when I got home from work, I quickly checked my emails, got changed and headed out for Week 2 Day 1 of Couch to 5K without giving it a second thought. Even when I opened the front door to a sudden downpour of ice cold rain, I didn’t hesitate. I just stepped out, switched on the Garmin and headed to Hove Rec for six reps of 90 seconds of running and two minutes of walking.

The rain only lasted for a few minutes, but it didn’t really bother me. I was wearing my waterproof running jacket and a baseball cap (keeps the rain off my glasses) so it would be bearable, and besides, I was only going to be out for about half an hour anyway.

The run itself went pretty well. I kept the pace fairly slow on the running sections and didn’t really notice the extra 30 seconds. So much so that I even managed an extra little run at the end so that I would finish back at my starting point.

As for the stats, 2.85 kilometres in 21:39 with an average pace of 7:36 per kilometre – pretty slow, I know, but the running sections were still under 6:00 per kilometre, which puts me on track for a sub-30 5K… if I don’t slow down too much as the weeks progress, that is.

How’s your training going? How do you fit your running into your general routine? Do you find it harder or easier to get a run in when your time is less structured? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Getting Back To A Routine

My routine has been all over the place recently, not just with running but with life in general. I’m not complaining though. It has been good to change things up a bit, but when it comes down to it, I guess I like to have a plan – particularly when it comes to training.

So, last week I decided to re-write my training plan, starting from C25K Week 4, or thereabouts.

The problem I find with the middle part of C25K is that the run/walk segments can vary in a single session. For example, today’s session was walk 90 seconds, jog 5 mins, walk 2.5 mins, jog 3 mins, walk 90 seconds, jog 5 mins, which is fine if you want to use the app as it tells you when to run and when to walk. However, I prefer to use my GymBoss as I don’t like having my iPod strapped to my arm when I’m running, which makes programming the segments a bit trickier.

In the end, I decided to just adapt the workout and use a 3.5:1.5 ratio – 3.5 minutes running and 1.5 minutes walking. I realise that I should be able to run for 5 minutes this week, so I’m going to up the ratio slightly so that I use a 4:1.5 ratio on Thursday and a 5:2 ratio for parkrun on Saturday, which should get me to where I need to be.

In terms of this evening’s run, I felt pretty good. The ratio was fine and having the extra 30 seconds of walking probably helped a bit too, In the end, I completed 3.4K is 23:30, which is pretty slow but I felt good at the end of it so I’m happy with that for now.

How’s your training going? Do you stick to your training plan or adapt and tweak things as you go. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Cure For Lazyitis

I seem to have been suffering from a particularly debilitating strain of Lazyitis over the last week or so, although it had been coming on for a while. I’d been making the usual excuses for delaying my training… it’s too hot… it’s too windy… it’s too much hassle to program the GymBoss for those weird C25K intervals and I really don’t want to strap my iPod to my arm…

Fortunately, someone from the Virtual Running community reminded me that there is a very simple cure for this particular affliction – a firm kick up the backside twice a day, preferably before meals.

So, straight after work and just before tea time, I decided to head out for what can only be described as a bit of a run – although I do take some poetic licence with the use of the word ‘run’.

As I really did mean the whole thing about the GymBoss and strapping the iPod to my arm, I decided to adapt Week 3 of Couch to 5K and run for 20 minutes using a 3:1 ratio. To be fair, this was a bit more challenging than the C25K workout, so I was fairly pleased that I managed to stick to it until the final running segment. By that point, the wind was killing my lungs so I took an early walk break and improvised the rest in order to complete the 20 minutes.

In the end, I managed to cover 2.82 kilometres, which isn’t much (I know) but it’s better than nothing. And, more importantly, it puts me back on track to get back up to running 5K again.

How’s your training going? Do you suffer from lazyitis or other debilitating run avoidance conditions? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

3K – No Walking!

I’ve not been doing too well this week with my resolve to run three times a week. I keep thinking about it, putting it off and promising to go later, but later never comes. The root of the problem, it seems, is thinking about it.

Take this morning for example. I woke up and my brain said ‘you’re awake nice and early – go for a run!’; but then I started thinking about it, which made me think of other things and I ended up checking my email instead. And, as generally happens when I start the day by checking email, the day was gone in a flash.

I felt pretty bad about it, to be honest. I really want to get back to running without walk breaks, but to do that I need to practise and get into a regular routine, otherwise I’ll just keep going backwards, which isn’t much fun.

So, this evening, once I’d finished work for the day, I decided that I had to go for a run if I was going to get three in this week. I didn’t think about it either. I just got changed and got myself out the door. Simple as that!

It wasn’t until I was half way to the seafront that I started to plan my run. This week, I’d hoped to be running 3.5K without walk breaks, but as I’d only managed 2.3 last week (should have been 3) I decided that I would be happy with anything more than that, and run/walk the rest to make the 3K or maybe 3.5 if I felt like it. We’d see – this is me not thinking about it!

The breeze was pretty warm down on the promenade, but it was comfortable enough to run nice and slowly. I wasn’t worried at all about picking up the pace; if anything I made myself back off to make sure that I could beat last week’s distance.

Surprisingly, as I approached 2.3, I felt pretty good. Yes, it was hot. Yes, I was sweating like crazy. And yes, I did almost choke on my water while I was running. But I felt ok. As I passed 2.5, I even considered the possibility of going for 3.5; but when I reached 3K I knew I’d had enough and decided to stop there.

Even though it was after 6:30 in the evening, the sun was still pretty strong, so I headed for some nice shaded side streets and made my way back home.

I realise that if I’m going to get my three runs in this week, I’m going to have to do two days back to back. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll make it out of bed and out the door before my brain kicks in? Here’s hoping!

How’s your training going? What strategies do you use to get yourself out the door. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Two Down…

I managed to get another run in this evening. That’s two down and one to go for this week if I’m going to get my three runs in, so I’m feeling pretty good about getting back into training.

Of course, it was only 3K and I took a bit of a walk break at 2.3, mostly for water but also because I’m just not as fit as I was. Still, I only walked for about 100 metres and then ran the rest, so it’s a bit of an improvement on the last one.

I’m really not putting any pressure on myself at the moment though as far as running is concerned. Yes, I want to run faster and without stopping like I used to, but I know it will come as long as I get out three times a week and do a little bit more each time. Patience!

I’ve also decided to start taking exercise other than running to try to help with my general fitness. I got an exercise bike before Christmas, which I really ought to start using more, but I also need to do something for my core and upper body strength.

So, the other night when I was procrastinating on You Tube (as we do!) I came across ‘Insanity Max 30’. As far as I can tell, it’s basically just an exercise program that you can buy, but they also have some free videos that you can use on You Tube. There’s a playlist with a few different videos on there, so I just chose one at random and decided to have a go.

To be fair, I wasn’t jumping around half as much as the people on the video and some of the moves they were doing were completely beyond me, but I gave it a go nonetheless. If you watch the video below, there’s a woman on the right of the screen who adapts the workout to make it a bit easier for those of us who aren’t quite there yet… or in my case, nowhere near there yet!

Anyway, I gave it my best shot and was absolutely drenched and exhausted by the end of it, but I felt great! Definitely much more fun than yoga (which I just don’ t have the patience for) and something that I would be happy to do a couple of times a week – although I might watch more of the videos first and choose one that has some easier moves than this!

How’s your training going? Have you tried Insanity or other workout videos? Do you find they help you with your running? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Getting Back To It

So, that thing I said about liking a bit of drizzle on run days? Perhaps I should have mentioned that it doesn’t count if it’s blowing a gale, which is pretty much what it was doing yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, a I quite like a good strong breeze, but when I find myself jogging on the spot in a headwind, I know there’s not much point.

Needless to say, yesterday’s run was postponed but, since I’m determined to get back into a regular routine again, I went out today instead. In the sunshine! I know, but I need to stop making excuses and just get on with it.

Fortunately it wasn’t too warm when I headed down to the seafront this evening and the breeze was nice and cool so I was happy enough to have a go at a slow 3K. I wasn’t sure if I could manage without a walk break but, determined to drop the ratios, I left my GymBoss at home so that I wouldn’t be tempted to go back to run/walk for this session at least.

As it turned out, it wasn’t too bad. I managed to run the first 2K without any problems. My leg felt fine and the new shoes felt really good – a bit warmer than the old ones, but the cushioning felt great.

Still, after 2K I did take a short walk break as I was feeling a bit more out of breath than I would have liked, plus I really needed some water – I seem to have forgotten how to run and drink at the same time without choking myself!

After the walk break and a bit of water, I felt a lot better and plodded on to finish the 3K in 20:19 – not terribly fast, I know, but not terribly terrible either. Besides, the main objective for this week is to start running regularly again, so it’s a step in the right direction.

My plan for the rest of the week is to do another 3K on Friday and either parkrun on Saturday or a 5K on Sunday using run/walk ratios to get the distance in. I can’t wait!

How’s your training going? How do you get back into a regular routine again after a break? Please share your thought in the comments.