Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fitness Assessment and a 5k

Yesterday I met with my trainer, Lauren, to begin general endurance and upper body training as a counter-balance to my running. Lauren asked the usual questions about my height, weight, any known medical conditions, and my daily/weekly nutrition. After the information session, we practiced some general endurance exercises to see where I am currently at and to see what I need to work on over time.

In particular, I realized that I am not amazing when it comes to push-ups (I could only do 10!); My plank format needs to be tighter and I need to learn to hold it for more than 50 seconds; I cannot do good squats, but I will need to learn quickly; my running pace is great and my heart rate is on balance when running. The only thing I need to work on when running is using interval routines to learn how to improve my pace and endurance for longer races. To this end, I am using Runner's World and one of there four week training guides for my half marathon, although I am obviously breaking it over six to seven weeks.

After my light training session, I ran a 5k in about 31:06. Having run 5 miles broken over the two days before (with one day of rest prior to this run), I felt prepared to run this 5k. Although, I must admit that running this 5k was a little rough because I haven't run a full 5k since this summer. Plus, running on the treadmill isn't as fun as running outdoors. Despite these minor issues, I felt quite good during my run. The first two kilometers felt natural and I didn't feel tired or listless. As I reached the third kilometer, though, I took a one-minute walk to catch my self from over exerting my lungs and legs. While I was breathing well, I could feel the strain somewhat beginning to set in. Rather than push myself, which is usually my natural tendency, I slowed my pace, drank water, and slowly eased back into the remaining two kilometers. Bringing my pace up from a 12 minute to 10:15 within a kilometer, I then ran the last kilometer at a 10 minute pace, increasing to a 9:30 pace within the last four hundred meters.

Overall, I felt satisfied with my first 5k of 2010 and I felt well prepared for it. The rest of this weeks runs will be relatively light, however. I am only running two light miles this evening and doing some light arm work. On Wednesday I will train with Lauren, primarily doing resistance exercises to improve my endurance. From there, I plan to run a moderate 2.5 miles on Thursday, a lightly paced 5k on Friday, and a lightly paced 3.5 miles on Saturday. Therefore, Sunday will be a much needed and joyous resting day!

In the meantime, I'm making sure I stay hydrated throughout the day and avoiding sweets (like Krispy Kreme), which tend to be my weakness. Also, much to the chagrin of my fellow graduate students, I am not drinking/socializing as much to help keep my body in shape. It is amazing how much better I feel already! I can't wait for this to continue, despite the inevitable challenges that I will face with training and running.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And So It Begins

As part of the motivational drive to keep running, I've decided to create a separate blog to document my runs, moods, mileage, successes and failures. In particular, I decided to begin blogging because I am preparing to run my first half marathon and I am both extremely scared and excited to do it. As a somewhat experienced runner who has fallen off the track, as it were, I want to document my progress as a reminder of how far I have come and how far I will go.

My race schedule for this quarter of the year consists of three races:

  1. The Tar Heel Trot (5k) held on February 6th
  2. The Roanoke Rapids Half Marathon on March 13th
  3. The Tar Heel 10 Miler held on April 10th

Since I have run 5ks and 10ks before, I feel like I can take on the two big races that I have planned for this quarter; however, I also recognize that they will both challenge me beyond my previous limits. In preparation for these two challenges, I am asking anyone who reads this and runs to give me advice and help me along the way. In the meantime, I've got muscles to stretch and trails to run.