August 2011: Stockholm Midnattsloppet, a 10k race through the nighttime streets of Stockholm. This is us working to get there.
So, it took me precisely four weeks to falter. Completely blew off running for the last few days, and skipped the gym. Current guilt level very low. I blame it on Spring and a raging desire to be in the sunshine.
Sunday, I’m back in the game - 8k, outside trail running. Absolutely. Rah rah. Siss boom bah.
There was a lineup at the gym for the treadmills. A LINEUP. In the time it took me to do a general strength workout and 20 minutes on a stationary bike, two people got spots - I would have still been waiting.
So, I took my metaphorical ball and went home. Never going to the gym from 5pm - 6pm ever again.
I stepped up the pace today, but didn’t go full-out. Still, I managed to shave at least 3 minutes off my previous best time for 6.5k. At this pace, I could finish a 10k race in just under 1:09:10.
Feels good to know the race is over four months away, and I’m already within reach of my target time (60-70 minutes). Here’s to shaving another nine or ten minutes off that time!
There comes a point in just about every run I do where a little voice pipes up and says, “For the love of God, STOP. Please, just stop. Now.”
I can tell it’s a good day - nay, a day as magical as unicorns - if this voice never comes. I’ve only had a few runs like that, and certainly none recently.
I can tell it’s a bad day if I’m only one or two kilometers in, and already this voice has piped up.
And, on a perfectly average day, this voice pipes up without fail 3/4 of the way into my run. I have no idea exactly how this happens, but it is alarmingly regular. I think my mental odometer is much more accurate than my little gadget.
I had a good realization yesterday during my long run. I’m up to running 8k, which is getting close to the maximum distance I’ve ever run (9k), so I’m getting to a point where I’m starting to test my limits once again. Usually I can comfortably say to myself that I’ve done this distance before, this is nothing new and I know I can do it. Moving into new territory, I have to find new mental ways to motivate myself.
This particularly whiny voice hit me around 6.5km yesterday, and I found myself struggling. I started to lose my focus, and lose my pacing. Then, I stopped and asked myself why exactly I felt that I needed to stop. Were my legs hurting? Too tired to go on? Was my chest hurting? Heartbeat racing, uncomfortably high? Headache, dehydration?
The answer to all of these was no. I was doing well, in good shape, doing fine. My heart rate was decent, my breathing comfortable and regular, and though my legs were getting tired, I wasn’t hurting.
So, I kept going. And I made it. My time wasn’t anything spectacular (57 minutes, blech), but my pace was rock steady for practically the whole run.
I think most of my challenges in the weeks to come are going to be mental ones. If I can overcome the little voice, or at least push it back, I’ll have fought and won a major battle. And if I can’t, then at least learning how to ignore it or refute it will be a good skill in and of itself.
Now that I’m running over 5k each training run, I’m starting to really resent the treadmill. 45 minutes is a bloody long time to stand there like a hamster in a wheel.
That said, I had a really good run today on the treadmill. I managed to find my stride and kept a steady pace for the whole time. Definitely an improvement over my last run, where I never found a comfortable pace.
One more run, and I’m done week 3. I am at a very low energy spot right now, but I’m hoping it’ll pass soon. I may try an earlier bedtime, see if I can squeeze in an extra hour of rest. I may also need to dredge up wisdom and encouragement from other friends who run - I’m feeling a bit draggy and lacking in motivation.
This Sunday is an 8k run, and I’m looking forward to getting outside again!
A friend of mine is starting the Couch to 5k program, and asked me what I wear for cold weather running. I started running in the summer in Montreal, and continued through the fall and early winter in California, so until recently hadn’t given much thought to cold weather running gear. When I went for a few runs in British Columbia while visiting family, I quickly realized I’d have to pick up some new clothes.
Currently, I wear long fitted running tights for the bottoms. I bought Nike’s “Elements Windless Running Tights,” as they’re so magniloquently named. More to the point, they were on sale and fleece-lined, and quite comfortable. They have a bit of extra lining on the thighs, which I think helped keep me from getting too cold.
For the top, it’s a long sleeved running shirt, plus a shell overtop. I wear my cycling windbreaker from Mountain Equipment Co-op, since I used to be equipped for all-weather cycling in Vancouver and it’s what I happen to have. It has elastics to loop over your thumbs, which is nice for preventing the sleeves from riding up.
Add a toque and some magic gloves, and I’m set. I haven’t gone out in anything below freezing, but today’s run at +5C was perfectly comfortable. By the end of it, I had to take my gloves off because I was too warm.
How many clothes you need to wear in cold weather probably is a personal thing, depending on your fitness and the amount of body fat you have. I find I’m usually warm, but I’m probably carting about an extra 20lbs of insulation, as well as falling somewhat short of the pinnacle of athletic talent. Still, my general finding seems to be that as long as most of my skin is covered by something to break the cold wind, I’m quite comfortable.
Over +12-15C, I just wear my regular gear - shorts and a t-shirt. More than that and I’m too warm.
First run outside of the season! Hell YES.
I love running outdoors so much more than I do on a treadmill. My average speed was up to 7’11”/km, and I got to soak up some beautiful sunshine. After a dark few months in Sweden, it feels good to get some vitamin D.
The snow hasn’t melted yet, but the roads and paths have mostly cleared. There is the odd icy patch here and there which necessitates caution and the odd walking break to get past it, but for the most part the conditions are lovely.
My route takes me towards Tyresta National Park, a huge nature reserve where many people go skiing, hiking, and exploring. There is a long cross-country skiing track, and as I was running along many people were skiing out towards the park. It is a little surreal to be jogging along and pacing people on skis.
Today’s run was 6.46km, and I managed it in 46’30”. Looks like I have speed work to do if I’m going to finish my 10k in the time I’m hoping (60 minutes to 65 minutes), but I’m feeling pretty good about it. There are lots of weeks left of training still.
Today’s run marks the end of Week 2. On to Week 3!
And in even better news, my husband has now started running off and on. He’s up to 3 to 4k at a crack, and feeling pretty good about it. Much easier to feel motivated to run when it’s a family affair.
The biggest thing I’m noticing right now, after not having run for several months, is that my average pace is way down. I’m running 7’30” to 7’45” per km, rather than the 6’50 - 7’15/km that I was pulling off before.
I think I need to recallibrate my nike+ gadget - I’ve definitely been setting the pace on the treadmill higher than the little beast is recording.
Also, in general I’ve noticed that I run faster outside than I do on the treadmill. I still find it a bit disconcerting to run on the treadmill, as though I’m about to fall off the back or charge off the front any moment. I never seem to be able to find my groove.
Oops. Radio silence. That can happen when you spend three months spread between three countries and two continents.
I finished training and did my 5k race in October 2010 - went brilliantly, had a finish time of 30:54, which was just a minute off my goal. Aaaand then promptly stopped running.
It was meant to be just a short break, but ended up having a string of moves and family commitments, and getting back into a training program was not in the cards. I probably managed about one run every two weeks, but nothing over 3k.
I’ve got five months until Midnattsloppet (just registered today! Woo!). I’ve decided to put myself through another of the Nike+ training programs, since I had great success with it last year. Since it’s been a while, I’m starting with the 5k training program. Come May, when I’m finished this one, I’m going to start the 10k training program and see how far I get into that before the race. I may try to find a 5k run in May that coincides with the end of the program.
I’m one week into the program. Today’s run was 6.5k, and I can certainly see that my speed and stamina have dropped over the last few months. Even so, I was able to complete it - more than I can say for myself at this same time last year.
If you ever told me I’d be able to run 6.5k, and was training up for a 10k race (with idle contemplations towards a half marathon sometime in 2012), I’d have probably laughed in your face. I don’t think I even believed I could do it at that point. The whole “couch to 5k” idea hadn’t even crossed my mind.
Funny how times change.
…because I have signed up for a 5k race in Stanley Park on Dec 4!
RunKeeper started a new training feature, including a program developed by Jeff Galloway with the goal of completing a 5k in less than 30 minutes. Which I figure is a good step along to my overall goal of completing a 10k in less than 60 minutes :D This training program is set to start in a week and finish on the day of the race, which I figured is just too perfect to pass up. I’ll use the intervening week to continue making these much-needed tweaks to my form.
(Darnit, I wish you and I were on the same online running tracking thingy - that would be much more fun. Stupid Nike+ not working on iPhone! I really do like its features and interface better. At least RunKeeper is catching up in functionality.)
Anyway, looking forward to reading a race recap, if you’re planning on posting one, or what your next goals are.