Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The First Morning Run

Now that the sunrise is creeping earlier and earlier, running in the morning is becoming a viable option. We had a warm front come through yesterday so this morning was in the low 50s, and I was up early so I decided to give a morning run a try. It started off pretty well, but went down hill from there. I don't know if I should have had more to drink before hitting the road to be better hydrated or if it was just an off day. I mangaged to run the first 10 minute segment but couldn't pull off the second one. I ran for 6 1/2 minutes, walked a bit, and then did one more block before rounding the corner to home with a bit more walking to cool down. I will probably try to repeat this run before moving to W6D3.

On the plus side, I saw the first tulip and daffodil flowers of the season on this run, so that was a nice boost for my spirits.

W6D1: 2.23 miles, 30.50 minutes
W6D2: 2 miles, 27.01 minutes

Saturday, March 27, 2010

20 Minutes!

I just did Week 5 Day 3 -- the first non-stop run of the training. Hard to believe that it was just over two weeks ago that running 3 minutes at a time was a big deal for me (which it really was). Today I ran for 20 minutes. Straight. It was slow, but I did it. I tried the battery visualization technique again, but it was not quite as successful this time. I didn't attain that light, floating feeling of the last run, but it did at least help me keep the pace moderate and steady. I started a little too fast after the warm up walk but was able to settle down pretty quickly. I'm starting to believe that I may actually be able run the whole 5K!

W5D3: 2 miles, 25.53 minutes

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Am A Battery

Bill over at Shredheads had a post earlier this week about an "epic run" that he had. He used a visualization technique imagining his legs as batteries with the goal of not depleting their charge. I tried this with tonight's run, and it totally worked!

I was quite nervous about tonight's run because I had been struggling with running for five minutes at a time, and tonight I was supposed to run for eight minutes twice. However, the battery technique helped me have an ease to my running that has never existed before. I almost felt like my hips were pulling back as I ran and like there was an element of floating to my movement. After the first eight minute segment, I felt like I could have kept on running, which is good because my next outing calls for 20 minutes of running.

W5D2: 2.23 miles, 30.10 minutes

Monday, March 22, 2010


Since I've ramped up my C25K training, I haven't been so good about cross-training. Last night I wasn't able to get in a run, so I took advantage of that to do a core workout on the exercise ball.

I have a few main cross-training options that I try to work in: the 30 Day Shred, workouts recorded from FitTV (mostly from In Shape with Sharon Mann), riding the exercise bike, and yoga.

I discovered the Shred in December, shortly after I decided to start training for a 5K. I find it very motivating and challenging. Plus, as someone who is not good about making time for exercise, the short workout length is great. I don't like doing it every day, as I think that is too repetitive and hard on my body, but as a workout to integrate into my overall training, it's definitely a keeper.

I started recording FitTV shows several years ago, and after a lot of trial and error discovered that Sharon Mann's shows worked really well for me. Good, short workouts that are high on challenge, but low on annoying host patter. My favorite is her ball/yoga combo, which is a terrific core workout that ends with a segment of yoga poses.

One of my favorite exercise sites that I've found combines the 30 Day Shred and running, which is ideal for me. I will try to add a button for the site on the sidebar, but it can also be found at Shredheads.

I did manage to do the first day of Week 5. The weather was nasty on Saturday so I ran at the fitness center. I think that helped me stay on track with the 5 minute runs. I also experiemented with listening to a podcast instead of music, hoping that would make the time go a bit faster and it did. I don't think I would do that running outside, but for the treadmill, it's a good solution.

W5D1: 2.1 miles, 31 minutes (treadmill, includes warm up and cool down)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 4 Plus 1

It took four runs, but I finally did the full cycle proscribed for the Week 4 runs.

On the first run, I couldn't do five minutes of running at all.

On the second run, I did the first five, but messed up the last five when I miscounted the time. (Simple oversight or my subconscious taking over? You be the judge.) In my defense, when I realized the error, I did run for another minute. I also had a slight rest in the second five getting stuck at a light.

On the third run, I took advantage of daylight savings time to run after putting my son down for bed. However, his stalling tactics delayed my start enough that I couldn't do the whole run because of darkness. The first half of the run felt great. Terrific warm up walk, the three minute run was a breeze, and even the five minute run was tolerable.

Therefore, I decided I had to do at least one more day of Week 4 before moving on. Tonight I had enough daylight to get in the full run, and I did the whole thing. It was hard, but it's amazing what concrete goals can do for you.

Prior to starting Week 4 I peeked ahead to Week 5 so I know what's ahead of me and how impossible it seems, but for now I am going to bask in the accomplishment of tonight's run and leave the dread of what's to come far behind.

W4D1: 2 miles, 27.09 minutes
W4D2: 2.3 miles, 31.30 minutes
W4D3: 2 miles, 25.42 minutes
W4D4: 2.14 miles, 29.00 minutes

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I was in Saugatuck, Michigan this weekend and was able to get in a run each morning. I was able to avoid the huge hill in town by staying in the residental areas on the top of the big hill, but there were still smaller hills to deal with, which was new to me since our neighborhood is pretty flat. I still managed to do the 90 seconds/3 minutes sets for Week Three, so the hills did not deter me, but they did slow me down a bit.

I just took a peek at the Week Four workouts. Yikes! Two sets of 3 minutes and 5 minutes of running?! Who thought that was a good idea?

W3D2: 2.08 miles, 26.30 minutes
W3D3: 1.97 miles, 26.17 minutes

Friday, March 5, 2010


Today was Week Three, Day One so I was scheduled to run for three minutes twice in the run. I have not run for three minutes at a time since PE class in high school. But I did it! Twice. It was not easy, but it was not as hard as I had feared. I used incremental goals to get me through. "Get to the alley. Get to the next street. Get to the end of the song." I'm sure (I hope) that before too long that running three minutes straight will be no big deal, but right now it feels like a great accomplishment.

W3D1: 1.78 miles, 23.08 minutes

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Running in the Winter

Week Two went pretty well in hindsight. I still wasn't feeling back to normal and wasn't sleeping well with the travel and time difference, but I got in three runs with a strong last run. This week really showed me that my good run in Florida wasn't a fluke and that I do run better outside. Running on the treadmill provides structure, but I'm definitely starting to prefer the organic pacing of running outside.

Not that Chicago winters necessarily give you the option to run outside. I know plenty of people do, but I have a lot of concern about getting injured. I know two people who have suffered serious broken bones from slipping on ice and that's a real mental block for me. I struggled to come up with a good answer for winter running once I decided to embark on this journey. After exploring several options, I decided to join the Chicago Park District fitness center. Reasonably priced and very close to home. It's been a good solution for these nasty winter days, but it has also only reinforced the idea that I don't like going somewhere to work out. I feel like the time to and from the gym is wasted time, and I prefer the privacy of my own home or the solitude of the outdoors for working out. Fortunately, daylight savings time is right around the corner, so there will be more daylight to get runs in during the week, and the weather should be continuing to improve as well.

W2D1: 2.0 miles, 30 minutes (treadmill, includes warm up and cool down)
W2D2: 1.67 miles, 25 minutes (treadmill, includes warm up and cool down)
W2D3: 2.12 miles, 29.01 minutes