headfullocrap

Some of the nonsense in my head in a readable format ;)

Month: October, 2013

Moving up (very) slowly towards an hour, but not just yet…ouch.

I’ve not written a blog entry in over 2 weeks, and I’ll be honest that is just down to a small element of laziness on my part.

It’s not that I’ve stopped training or anything, but simply that I’ve not made the time to write about my running.

My most recent runs have been stepping up in total time for the week on a steady basis, still abiding by the rule of not increasing total running time for the week by any more than 10%.

Winter is certainly closing in now, and the clocks are now due to go back this weekend when British Summer Time officially ends in the small hours of Sunday at 2am. All this means for me, is that all the time I’d like to be out running will be in the dark, and what a load of crap that is.

The longest run I have managed to do so far has been 43 mins 51 secs and I’d also managed a flat 40mins a week before, which just served to prove to me that I can do it if I want to. If anything that’s proof of a more than 40x improvement from the heady days back in July/August when I struggled with the 60 secs running intervals in the first week of C25K, so I’ve that to be proud of. I now have the fact that I can manage a constant non-stop run in excess of 40 mins, when I remember a 90secs run leading me to think I was going to drop dead from exhaustion. 😀

Sadly, I’m currently injured (thankfully it’s only for the 2nd time since I’ve started) – this time it’s my right ankle and actually more at the front of my foot, which may be nothing more than a strain or maybe something as simple as having laced up my shoes too tight for two runs in a row (something that one of my trusted running gurus had suggested! ;)) . I was experiencing some discomfort on Tuesday evening this week (after my run on Monday) but felt fine again on Wednesday morning. Last night (Thursday) my foot was sore again, and this morning it was much worse, and led me to cancel this morning’s run.

I’ve decided now having skipped today’s run that if I also pass on Monday then, when Wednesday morning rolls around, that will have been a full week off so the one week rest theory will have been applied again, which worked for me so well with the knee injury last time. My left foot and ankle feels fine and I don’t recall any slips or stumbling on Monday to blame for the pain in my right. R.I.C.E as another of my gurus has recommended again – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. That certainly did the trick last time, and I can testify that it already feels more comfortable than it did this time yesterday evening. I’m looking forward to running again next week and coming back stronger as I did last time.

I still haven’t been tracking distance at all but instead using my step counting method with the Fitbit (of tracking my time per 500 steps and checking in each one as a lap on the stopwatch app) and I’m fairly consistent being only varying by around a maximum of 15 seconds throughout my whole run on a regular basis. I’ve also noticed that certain sections of my running time better than others and I’m strongest around 25-50% of the way through the run, and definitely tail off towards the end of the run pace-wise. I’ve done some of the runs differently to mix things up, and I really have three types of run that I’m choosing between now.

Type 1 is when I just run at a normal pace (for me) for a pre-defined time – say 40 mins – just the same as some of the final runs on the C25K. Just running for time.

Type 2 is when I run for a shorter time – say 25 mins or 27mins 30secs at a more intense pace in my current schedule. It’s much more tiring, but balances out by doing less time.

The final type is the one where I just run at a comfortable pace for as long as I can, also bearing in mind where I am as I have to still get back to the flat. The last one of these runs resulted in my longest time 43mins 51secs

Music is still playing a part in my runs and I’ve also found I seem to run better on some days with no music at all as it seems to keep my pace more constant, whereas with music on, I think I’m pacing (maybe even subconsciously) to the track that’s currently playing. I have managed to decide on some days whether I’m going to have music or not in advance, but the option always remains there as the iPhone is with me regardless 🙂

My healthier diet is still on track perfectly, as I’m still happily playing slave to my OCD and stats obsession by tracking every last gram of food I eats in the MyFitnessPal app. The weight loss has slowed but I can see a difference in the way I look now with a lot more muscle, less fat and close to 24kgs lost. I’m feeling trimmer and the running is getting easier. The weight loss is still an aim as I know I’ll find running even more enjoyable with even less weight to cart around 😀

Smoking’s done and dusted and no longer even something on my radar – just a dim and distant memory, having given up over 4 months ago, and not touched one since. I’ve had no cravings at all, and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now without having given up the tobacco. I’m most proud of that achievement, and having managed to lose weight as well is a great bonus. I hadn’t even intended when I gave up smoking to take up running, but I was wary of the fact that the increased appetite when giving up smoking would lead to me piling on the weight, so I’m glad I decided to get into fitness just a few weeks later and managed to carry it on until now.

My target now is to be able to run non-stop for an hour, just because 🙂 It’s not something I’ve ever considered being able to do, and I’ll be chuffed if I make it. I’m already over 2/3 of the way there. The colder and wetter weather isn’t making it easy though, but I’m managing to keep my dedication and enthusiasm, setting my alarm for earlier in the mornings as required. One day I’ve been out of the door at 6:15am. Me? Yup. Me.

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33! (minutes) Go go go :)

Increase total distance by no more than 10% a week. That’s the rule you are supposed to abide by. Makes sense…

No point in overdoing it. That’s where the vast majority of injuries stem from. Other than the obvious falls and trips or stumbles, over-exerting yourself, trying too hard or even merely pushing yourself when you shouldn’t (like trying to run through pain), are all the leading causes of injury.

Trust me, I know. I’ve been there – took note of pace, tried to speed up, stumbled on a poor kerb and ended up taking a full week off. Pretty devastating right at the end of C25K.

So where and how does the 10% rule apply to my running when I’ve made the conscious decision for the time being to ignore distance and concentrate solely on timed runs?

Well, I had been increasing each of my runs by 10% or less in the last 2 weeks with my progression being from 20mins through 22, 24, 25, 27.5, 30 all the way through to today’s 33mins.

So while not sticking strictly to 10% in timing, my relatively steady (read:slow) speed means that each additional minute on the end is progressively slower so I’m not exceeding a 10% distance increase.

This has worked perfectly for me up until now, but I have decided that this week’s other two runs scheduled for Wednesday and Friday morning will also both be 33 mins.

My reasoning behind this is that 33mins is actually my longest ever timed run and I want to feel progressively more comfortable with it before increasing the time which I anticipate will be to 35 mins.

Today’s 33mins run was perfect. Good conditions for me. Not too cold and no chance of being too hot. Foggy and just starting to get light when I started, the time fairly flew by and as is now the norm, no aches, pains or niggles to accompany me whatsoever.

The best way I can improve the same run in my mind is to repeat it, but make a point of somehow making it better.

Whether that means seeing if I go further (in unmeasured distance) as I know my route or whether the number of steps recorded on the Fitbit in the same time is different, I don’t know yet.

I’ll just have to see what Wednesday morning brings. Of course I might simply decide having far too good a run and just run for that extra 2mins 😉

Who knows? Suggestions welcomed…

The quest for 30 minutes…

Into infinity! (run 30 mins) and beyond! (I will see if I want to do any more than 30 mins next time!)

Today’s run was scheduled to be 30 mins, which was a return to match the run I took on the last day of the C25K program last month. With a week of enforced rest due to injury, today was effectively week 11 day 3 of my running (not to any program any more) and I’m actually back where I was exactly 4 weeks ago.

So normal early work shift today so I was up at 06:30 and today straight into running mode. Checked some work stuff I’d done overnight (and forgot to send out an email I should have sent, saying it was all OK!), got dressed, ate a banana and scooted out of the door by 06:45. Plan would be to be back indoors shortly after 07:25 normally having walked 5 mins and run for 30 mins.

So, I was actually back in the door with the run completed at 07:32, having walked to the field across the road, continued until I’d walked 5 mins total, then run for 30 mins, checking in 500 step intervals on the Fitbit (again in 3mins or so intervals)and actually completed around 5,500 steps (about 9 lots of 500 step intervals in running after the intial walk took me up to 800 or so) and then done a really good cool-down set of stretches. Once back indoors I’d run through a set of arm weight exercises with dumbbells, necked an energy tab infused water (500ml), then sat down for 10 mins to sweat 😀

The run itself flew by, so I now know I have the 30 mins stamina nailed, as I got back to it in 6 runs. That was my choice, as having taken a week off I know I could possibly have gone straight back to running 30 mins but I wanted to ease back for fear of exacerbating any potential injury. So I went back in at 20 mins, then up gradually to 22, 24, 25, 27.5 and finally 30 mins. This all seems to have worked perfectly as this 30 mins was easily as good as the last run of C25K a month ago, and if anything, once I’d completed my cool-down I was probably less tired than I was back then. So my recovery has improved.

I think my next step on Monday morning (early) will be to go for 32.5 or 33 mins which will actually be the longest run I’ve done (probably in 30+ years). For now I’ll have a fairly relaxed weekend (that’s the plan!) but keep comfortably active (with kids around that will be easy!) and hopefully set myself up for a good night’s sleep on Sunday and potential PB in “elapsed running time in a single session” on Monday.

Breakfast (at work) was a well-deserved bacon sandwich. So it’s not all about celery since I gained a few hundred extra calories for today with the run, so why not treat myself! 😀

Increased running time from 25 mins to 27.5 mins and…

basically, nailed it.

Back on a normal early morning run, as I had a 10:00 start at work, I was able to get up at the usual 06:30 so no worries about getting up earlier to make more time for the run.

No need for a trip to the supermarket this morning (as I still had bananas left, and the cat still had food!), so I managed to get out of the door by 07:00 for a 5 mins walk to warm up followed by a straight 27 mins 30 secs run.

I can definitely notice the difference when I haven’t managed to eat a banana before running though as I certainly find it more of a struggle further into the running as I start to feel some cramping or the start of a stitch. No such problems if I’ve had that potassium and energy boost. Also I’m never running long enough yet to suffer badly, since my longest run is only the one 30 minute straight session (another one hopefully on Friday!), but I can assure you I notice the benefit.

Today run was broken up again into 3 minute segments which also work out now to around 500 steps or so per “batch”, so along with the audio reminders of time elapsed through the iPhone, I’m also visually checking my Fitbit steps in the app (when it sees fit to work properly since the 2.0 upgrade on IOS7!). I know roughly where my target is in steps and check in every 500 as well.

This helps me to be less concerned about the time, which I’m only listening out for, so I’m not worrying about intently staring at the stopwatch – not that that would actually happen, since the phone sits on my upper arm it would just lead to me running sideways into a tree! 🙂

The parts of the session all seemed to fly by… essentially just up to 9 sets of around 500 steps or until I was told my time was up. No last single minute sitting on its own to worry about either, and boom! there I was over 5,000 steps today before I even got to work.

The weight is still coming off too – I actually weighed in yesterday at my lowest since I did the “get fit, healthy, change my diet and give up smoking all at the same time” program 3.5 months ago.

23kg lost so far and that’s also with a noticeable visual change in my body as I’ve gained a lot of muscle as well as lost fat. So I’m way, way fitter than I was, 104 days off tobacco and feeling unbelievably better.

This fitness lark’s quite enjoyable really 😉