Building My Mileage

I made it my first goal of 2013 to stop doing run/walk, and tell my mind to just be quiet, while I started to do continuous runs. I am building it slowly, just like the experts advise, with just 10% more each week.

My first run ended up being 3 miles, although I had no goal. I just wanted to run as far as I could, at a sustainable pace. The middle of mile two, my brain started telling me I needed to stop. I was second-guessing my breathing, I was worried about leg cramps, all kinds of “you should stop now” thoughts. So I lied to myself, and said I’ll stop after two miles, and then kept running for another mile.

Yesterday I did 4.5 miles, at an 11:00 minute pace. (It’s funny, but indoors on a flat, cushioned track, I can do a 10:00 minute pace. Stupid hills.) And you know what? Every time I go out, the same thoughts start up in the middle of mile two. But now, every time by the end of mile three, everything is starting to click and it’s just not that hard to keep going.

My Christmas gift HR monitor tells me my heart rate is only about 6 or 7 BPM faster at the end of my run, so that must be good. My heart rate recovery Saturday was 25 BPM, but that was after about 90 seconds because I had to dig my iPhone out. Most sites say 15-20 BPM in 60 seconds is good. I’ve been using the iSmoothRun app, which has a cool way of both telling me my HRR and recording it – but I forgot how to use it. After looking it up, I can’t believe I forgot something this simple.

The iSmoothRun instructions say:

“The HRR tool can be found in the settings tab after starting a run. If you tap the button, the App will countdown 60 secs and record the HR drop. That’s your Heart Rate Recovery and it will be logged. The bigger the better. Small HRR may indicate fatigue.

Because the phone might be in an armband or a waist belt by the time you take your phone out and search for the tool the HR might have dropped already 10 beats. So to solve that problem we coupled it with AutoPause. When Auto Pause kicks in it records the time and heart rate of the last step (not AutoPause activation time but last step time), and these values are used by the HRR tool. So after your last interval, or when your HR is high, stop, take the phone out wait for AutoPause to kick in and then tap HRR. Stay relaxed until the measurement finishes.”

I’m not breaking any records at this pace, but I’m 57 years old and off the coach. I’m also enjoying all the by-products of my fitness quest: eating healthy, dropping my blood pressure by about 20%, losing all the weight, and getting to buy new clothes.

My first planned 5k race is February 23rd, and my first 10k is three weeks later. I hope to be up to running 8 miles by the time the 10k rolls up, and be able to do much better than my first 10k before Christmas. The beauty of living in Alabama is you can run all winter here. The bad part is that our 100 degree heat with 90% humidity in July – August is probably worse than winters where it’s 10 degrees.

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