Monday, April 15, 2013

Five and One Intervals

So the day before yesterday, I bumped up my running intervals from four and one to five and one. In addition, I still completed 6 intervals, so I increased the length of my run 6 minutes. As a result, my overall run went from 24 minutes running, 6 minutes walking to 30 minutes running, 6 minutes walking.

It didn't kill me. It also wasn't easy.

I got through it with a few techniques. (I should add in here that I've been battling with either allergies or a mild cold, which has certainly added to the challenge.) So.

Internal boost #1: At the beginning of my run, I told myself that the 6th and final interval was optional, that if I only did five, I'd still  complete a total time of 30 minutes while increasing the challenge by running a bit more. So I said to myself if I couldn't complete the sixth one, it would actually be alright, because that interval would be a bonus interval.

This is a funny way I have of tricking myself. Sometimes, when my muscles are still warming up, my lungs don't seem to have quite caught on to what I'm doing, the beginning of my run is a struggle, so I'll tell myself, "Well, just make it to point X, and you'll be doing alright." Even as I think this to myself, I know that unless I'm feeling pain that indicates overuse or injury, I certainly won't be stopping at point X. I know all the while that I intend to complete the whole damn thing. BUT, by giving myself the option to stop early, I help myself over that mental hump of thinking, "I can't get through all of this today." Also, and this might be funny, but I begin to become competitive with myself with a sort of inner dialogue: "What, you think I need to quit early? Pssh, you quit early, I'm in this for the long haul."

Internal Boost #2: Sometimes it helps to have a mantra for those tough minutes when I just want to look at my watch constantly to see if I've made it to my minute of walking yet. So I saw this once, maybe on Pinterest, and it has become my mantra when I hit my second-to-last interval and feel as though I'm running on fumes:

"Your mind gives up before your body does."

Pretty simple, right? But it is the equivalent of saying, hey, even though you think you're exhausted, you're body is still capable of a helluva lot more. Because running, or any physical pursuit, is not just about training your body. You are also training your mind.

So there you have it. I have some other exercises that I use to help me through runs, things like visualizing running along the ocean or imagining someone I love running beside me cheering me on. Sometimes just the act of building those mental images distracts me enough from the physical discomfort. But, ultimately, it is basically all mental. I mean, I do physical things, like warm-up walk, brief stretching, plus a cool down walk and more elaborate stretching, and I try to keep my core tight while I'm running and adjust my gait when I need to. My point, however, is that the mental work is just as important (sometimes moreso) as the physical work.

And that is where I'm at now, up to five and ones for this week. I'm proud that I am staying consistent, and I'm feeling so motivated by the 5K coming up. My goal is to finish it in under 40 minutes, which probably doesn't seem like a lot, but it will be a great accomplishment for me.

As an added bonus, I've lost 5 1/2 pounds and moved in a notch on belt, which is pretty exciting as well.

I love the idea that running is becoming a basic fact of my life, and I am feeling lighter, both mentally and physically.

More to come as I add some cross-training, work to make sure that I am eating right and enough, and build some much-needed body confidence, so stay tuned!

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Signed Up for My First 5K Today

On April 27th, I will run in the Wild Goose Chase 5K Fun Run to help raise money for a Wetlands Education Center here in Kansas.

This will be my first 5K.

I am excited and nervous.

Let me let you in on a little (not-so)secret: I'm not going to be able to run throughout the whole thing. I'm not quite there yet, but you know what? I got tired of putting off signing up for one, and I love the cause and scope of this one. So. Want to know where I'm currently at in my running?

My intervals are currently 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking. Tomorrow when I run, weather permitting, I will bump that up to 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking, which, hey, might just kill me. Kidding. We'll see. So, the way that I'm going, the best I can hope for is that two weeks from now I'm running 6 and 1 intervals, which means, depending on my speed, I'll run around 30+ minutes of the race and walk 5+. Not too damn shabby if I say so myself.

And you guys. Seriously. Who cares if I have to walk a bit because I'll be participating in my first 5K!!

I've been talking about doing this for years, and now I'm following through. Hu-zzah. :D

And. AND. Care to know what I'll be building up to from there?


A small town color run on June 1st!!!! That's right, a color run. Despite my English degree, I can't think of the words to describe how psyched I am that that is on the horizon.

In one running book I have, the author advises the reader to have a few races lined up at a time so that you're always working toward something. To that end, I have one last race to mention that I might give a go if the first two are as fun as I hope they'll be: a bigger city, official Color Run in September!

That's right, I just can't wait to have colored powder thrown at me while I run 3.2 miles. Seriously though. I CANNOT wait.


So, I'm revamping this blog. I'm not sure what my intentions are for it yet, but in the immediate future, if you're reading this, expect to hear about my adventures with my newest pair of New Balance running shoes.

Have a lovely weekend!