Friday, August 29, 2008

When to Run

Some are morning runners and some like to run later in the day. Having run at both times I can now say I am an afternoon runner all the way. I like to run in the afternoon because:

  1. I am more awake and am not so afraid I will fall off the treadmill and make a fool of myself.
  2. I can run faster because I have been awake for hours and am warmed up.
  3. I don't feel exhausted all day because I woke up at 4:30 am.
  4. I can get all the thoughts from work out of my head and vent my frustration in a positive way by leaving it all at the gym.
  5. When running outside early I am always afraid I will trip on the sidewalk because it is so dark.
  6. I worry about the creeps lurking around at 5 AM maybe waiting for runners. It is just not safe for females to run by themselves in the dark, even in my comfy suburb.
Just to name a few. Of course when racing my only option is morning 99% of the time. This is OK every once in awhile. I am just really crabby when I don't get my sleep. So that's all I have to say about that!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

To Tread or Not to Tread?

OK so one of my favorite blogs brought about this entry. I know many runners feel strongly one way or another about the treadmill. What follows are my thoughts and experiences on the subject. I am definitely a fan of the treadmill for several reasons. When I first started running I had two really small kids and this was the only way I could run on a regular basis. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I first tried to run at a 12 min mile. I kept it up and I developed my own mind games to get through the miles like two slow laps then two fast laps. I started raising the incline whenever it got easier. I ordered a few treadmill videos like Treadmill Challenger to break up the boredom. When I could finally run three miles I decided maybe I could join a group. I had been doing longer runs outside around the neighborhood by myself with no watch. I really had no idea what pace I was running when I was not on the treadmill so I thought I would probably be the slowest member of any group. I really didn't know anyone else that ran. Before I joined the group I tested myself in a local 5K. I got behind someone that looked about my age and size and stuck to them. The pace felt fine. We breezed through the first mile in 9 something and I got scared. That was three minutes faster than my normal pace. I kept going because it felt good (the course was completely flat). As we made the last turn I picked it up and passed my pacer. My finish time was 27:30 or something. I was so happy to break 30 min in my first race and not be last. I had no idea how fast people that raced were so I thought I probably needed to run at least under 30 min. Later my husband told me the overall female had run 20:40 or so. I wondered if I could ever get a time like that. I went back to treadmill training focused on getting faster and improving my times. I knew if I could run within two minutes or so of my goal time on the treadmill I would be there. I also joined a running group and found out I could run more miles with a group than on my own. I started training for the Houston Marathon because that was what they were doing. I secretly wanted to qualify for Boston there so I could run Boston as my second marathon. I ended up running a small marathon first before Houston and was so slow I almost gave up then and there. I think my finish time was 5:13 which is respectable but way off what I needed for Boston. When I went back to the group I had a new goal to run Houston and qualify or die trying. The coaches were very doubtful that I would ever make my goal and told me so. There was only one guy in our group that had qualified and he thought he walked on water. I knew I could keep up with him on the shorter runs but just needed more endurance and speed. I skipped the marathon that year and got to work for the next time. I did treadmill training during the week and longer runs on the weekend. I usually ran 16 or more miles every week to get used to the miles. My longest run before Houston was 24 miles. I knew I had to get close to the whole milage or I would crater in the race. This was more for mental reasons. My treadmill training consisted of 4 or 5 miles at no slower than 8:30. I needed to keep an 8:20 pace to qualify. This was hard at first but I started with 2 miles and worked up. I also kept the incline at 2% all the time. Lots of training programs say to run 1-1:30 min slower per mile on long runs. This has never worked for me, I have to run goal pace or faster or I will never be ready to run a marathon and hit the time. When I deviate from this I always miss my goal. I qualified that year with a 3:39 (needed a 3:40). After that I stopped treadmill training as much and tried other popular programs and methods. I listened to others and questioned what had worked for me. None of the other things really worked as well as the treadmill . I don't race much but I would like to do the warm up series this year. I have learned not to listen to others and go with what works for you and your body. Only you really know when to push it and when you need to back off. People who tell you things are not possible have their own issues and are probably just wishing they could be in your shoes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Maybe Not

I had a good 9 miles today and I hurt the last 3.5 or so. I was looking to run a strong 13 the whole way but couldn't pull it off today. I knew it would hurt when I added miles and kept the pace up so I should not be too surprised. I heard the usual you went too fast comments. This is just the way I do it and it hurts until I adapt to the speed. Maybe I am crazy but maybe I'm not...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another Long Run (Maybe I'm Getting Used to This)

The long run seems to be getting more tolerable. I went faster than last week so that was good. The legs feel good and I seem to recover from the longer workouts pretty quickly. Tomorrow I head back to the gym. I am so ready to see summer get out of town!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hard Workout (I'm Tired!)

More progress but I am tired! I guess progress will do that. I have become quite addicted to my gym workouts. Lately I only run outside 2 out of 6 running days per week. One of those is my long run which would be dreadful on the treadmill. I am greatly encouraged since my daily workouts are getting faster every week. I am sure if I gave away my paces every day like some other bloggers people might think I was crazy to run like that several days per week but it must be done for me to improve. I am feeling good so I think I will just ride the wave. Many times when asked I say I do not do speed work. This is true because I hate traditional repeats like 400s and 800s. Some runners think track is fun and I will never get that. I push myself on 99% of my daily workouts so pretty much everyday is speed but not in the traditional form. I have to fool myself otherwise I would never do it. So now I am looking at the race calendar and trying to decide where to test myself in the next few weeks. I may run this weekend or wait another two weeks. Decisions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Bright Side

Let's see there are some good things about today...

A light day as far as work (no one is open)

Not so darn hot

The rain has stopped just in time for a calm afternoon run

No stalling storms so I can meet the Clear Lake group tomorrow

Just to name a few and the kids got a day off from YMCA Day camp (which is growing tiresome to them). I called the Y in hopes that they opened this afternoon but it was no so. No treadmill for me today so I will have to start back on Thursday. This Sunday I need to step up the miles and go for 13 or so. I have not ventured beyond 11 in a really long time. This is not much more I know but I have been really struggling to keep pace. The treadmill is working so I will keep on chugging along.