About a year ago, I started trying to run regularly. I’m kinda sorta trying to lose weight, though that’s just a nice-to-have; mostly I’m in it for the general health benefits, having noticed several mornings in a row that my resting heart rate was well over 100 bpm.
I was going to run my first race, a 5k, this Sunday, but a spur-of-the-moment trip to Cedar Point is going to be taking its place instead. Still, I’ve been in postmortem mode just thinking about this race, so here goes with the babbling.
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I tried to do some regular exercise with Wii Fit and EA Sports Active, and while those workouts can be fun and intense — and, most importantly to me, measurable, the running-in-place aspect always felt a bit wonky.
(I suppose I could, on my non-running days, do upper body workouts with EA Sports Active, though we do have a real weight bench now for that sort of thing.)
What really got me doing this regularly was getting my first smartphone and a RunKeeper account — so I could go out running, have the phone’s GPS track me, and view my progress on the RunKeeper site.
I can track my elliptical training there too. I highly recommend RunKeeper.
RunKeeper can tell you your pace, speed, total distance, etc, at regular intervals if you want while you’re running. I tried that a couple times, listening to little progress reports every minute over earbuds. It was kind of cool, but ultimately, I think it’s more useful to just develop a feel for that sort of thing while running.
Which brings me to my next blurb.
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When I started, a friend pointed me at this couch-to-5k training schedule. I appreciate the help, but in the end I sort of ignored it.
Learning how to make good decisions about how far I can push myself is just as important to me as actually making forward progress. It’s about listening to my body; knowing when to take a break from jogging and just walk a bit; being honest about when it’s really time to for the break to end.
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Looking at last year’s race results, if I went to this race with my current best case, 10-11 minute mile, I’d most likely come in pretty close to last in my age & gender group.
While I do lots of things just to do them, and babble about my progress here, I’m skittish about being overly vocal about it until I’m particularly good. (In my head, this here blog is in this weird space where I’m fooling myself it’s private but it’s actually public.)
I’m trying to get over that skittishness, and just enter more contests, not to see how I rate, but as more motivation to do good work.
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I still don’t have a great sense of pacing. If I run fast and take long breaks, it still feels faster than jogging slow with short breaks… but that’s totally not the case. I need to work on that.
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Nothing is more important, it seems, than eating properly before I go running. Pasta is good. Burgers are bad. I’m getting better about picking the right meals before I go.
Beverages, though, are a bit confusing. I’m trying to drink less soda pop, but I get the vague feeling the lack of sugar is hurting me both in terms of performance and the willpower necessary to push myself harder.
There are, of course, better ways to get sugar I suppose.