Monday, November 19, 2012

Halfsies, Part 8: How I Run

I considered titling this "How To Run"...but that seemed a bit presumptuous. Besides, as evidenced from my conversation with the Husband as we went on a walk yesterday, not everyone works with the same running theory.

I've been making sure to time myself on my long runs. My method of timing involves checking how much of my running playlist I've gotten through on my iPod, then dividing my time by the distance I've run. Let me just say, I've surprised myself with the results. About a month ago, I seemed to be averaging a 12:08-minute mile. At least, that's about what I did when I went on that 7-miler one weekend back in October. Since then, I've done two more long runs: a 9-miler a few weeks back, and a 6.25 on Saturday, just to keep myself ticking over. My pace over 9 miles was a 10-minute mile; my pace over 6 was 9:30 per mile!

Now, to go from 12 minutes to nine-and-a-half minutes is a huge deal. That's nearly 25% less time spent covering each mile I run. So, to the best of my ability, I'll tell you what I try to do with my runs. I'll also mention where the Husband and I differ where it's relevant. See, he's been a runner for much longer than I have and has a very different mentality when it comes to training and racing.

1) I do a lot of walking. After having E, my pelvis felt pretty much shot. The symphysis pubis joint at the front of my pelvis had moved apart waaaay too much when I was pregnant, and then it took its sweet time moving back, so for a long time it hurt to walk more than maybe half a mile at a time. With that being the case, running was definitely off the table for a while, and when I did start running again, I had to make sure to really listen to my body and take as many walking breaks as I needed to avoid that just-got-kicked-in-the-crotch feeling. Now, I keep up the walking, just so that even when I can't fit in a run, I'm still logging plenty of miles for each week.

via, Wikipedia

2) I run (and walk) with the jogging stroller. If anyone is a mum who wants to run, I highly recommend this piece of kit. It's even great when I'm not when I needed something with big tyres and sturdy suspension to go over the rough terrain of the MOD grounds where we went walking yesterday. What I've noticed, running with the jogger, is that you quickly adapt to the extra exertion required to push it along and maintain a good pace. If you check the links on my Pinterest page, there's an article and a video on Runner's World that give some good tips on how to run with a jogger. Plus, the extra weight that you're pushing off in each stride by having your kid and a stroller helps build up the muscles that you use to maintain your stride & power during long runs. Think of it as weight training combined with cardio.

via, Livestrong

3) I don't worry about my pace on long runs. Back when I lived in London and could regularly run along Regent's Canal up to Camden Town or traipse down through Hyde Park, I ran about 20-23 miles a week. Before I got pregnant, I ran about 15 miles a week while we were living here in Hampshire. Until I started doing my long weekend runs the past few months, it had been nearly a year since I'd run anything like that distance in one go. I certainly hadn't run for 9 miles since the first time I ran the Grim Challenge 2 years ago! For me, long runs right now are about finishing the distance. I deliberately remind myself to slow down for the first 2 miles or so just to make sure I don't overexert myself and wind up too tired to finish the distance. After those 2 miles, I tend to settle into a decent pace, and maintain it for the rest of the run...though I do like to put on something obnoxiously upbeat and speed up for my last mile.

The Husband's take on pacing: He runs as fast as he can for as long as he can. He'll go at about 90% perceived exertion, then kick it up to 110% for a bit...especially if he's passing someone in a race. That way, his thinking goes, it averages out to him giving 100% effort over the course of a run. He likes to push himself and give as much as he's got.

4) I do short runs and long runs. I used to always try to run about the same distance every time I went out. When I was averaging 5 miles on each run, I finished the Grim...but just barely. I was knackered, I was slow...I apparently swore I'd never do it again. (I don't remember this, though the Husband insists...) Now, by doing short and long runs, I still average a decent distance over the week, but I give myself a chance to recoup from the long runs, and then - when they come round again at the weekend - my legs are relatively fresh since I haven't pushed to do too much during the week.

The Husband's take on distance: He only runs 2 days a week, but he does 2 runs on each of those days: 6 to 10 miles in to work, and then 3 miles back home (half of which we do as a family). So, he does the long-short thing as well, but they both happen on the same day, and the 3 weekdays in between are lower exertion because he cycles for his commute instead of running.

Mon Rest 
Tue 1M jog, then 5 x 800m (or 5 mins) fast with 200m (90-sec) recoveries, then 1M jog 
Wed 6M (approx 65 mins) steady 
Thu Rest 
Fri 3M (approx 32 mins) easy 
Sat Rest 
Sun 8M (approx 86 mins) steady
(A sample week from an RW training programme)
5) I have a running buddy. Ever since we first started dating, the Husband and I have occasionally gone on runs together. Yes, a lot of the time I enjoy running by myself with my headphones in, but sometimes having an accomplice is just as much good motivation as some kicking tunes. (Did I really just say, "kicking tunes"?) Not only is it nice to catch up on our respective days when we run home together with E in his jogger, but having someone to talk to breaks up the monotony and makes the run feel a bit easier. Of course, I am running with a guy who did nearly a 7-minute mile when he ran the Prague Half Marathon a few years back, so it's not always a walk in the park to run with him! But then, that's half the fun: he can push me where I might not push myself. I'll let him set the tempo and then work to keep up. In my more juvenile moments, I've smacked him and then run away, inciting a brief sprinting race in the middle of our runs. I know: I'm incredibly mature. But sometimes, to keep yourself running you have to make it fun.

I love my buddy. <3 nbsp="nbsp" td="td">
So that's how I've been handling it so far. To be honest, I'm pretty pleased with how my training plan has been working out. And pretty soon, we'll sign up for our half marathon! Once I've proved that I can get through the Grim again, I'll definitely be ready to up the ante a bit.

No comments:

Post a Comment