“Long” run

As mentioned in my last post on shin splints, I’ve been trying to increase my running distance slowly. This weekend I did a 2 mile “long run,” and it felt great.

My goal, of course, is eventually to run a 5k at a 7 minute/mile pace. Since I can already do 1 mile at that pace, I figured I would start by running 2 miles at an 8 minute pace. It didn’t seem that difficult, although I ran into some fatigue coming back home; ended up doing 1.9(9?) miles at a 7′ 52″ pace.

I guess my next goal is to run a whole 5k at the 8 minute pace, and/or to run 1 mile in 6:30, or 2 miles in 15 minutes.

Quick run

Since I’ve been having shin splints recently, I made a chart of my running activity to see what was causing it. It looks like I went from running around 1 mile/week (during the winter) suddenly up to 11 miles/week. In the 7 days leading up to feeling pain in my legs, I actually ran 15.8 miles.

So, clearly, I need to ramp up my running more slowly, maybe at a rate of one or two miles per week.

In the last seven days, I’ve run 3 miles. I’ll probably try to do one more run this week, perhaps on Saturday, for two miles (this can be my “long” run).

Yesterday I ran a mile at a 7:07 pace, which wasn’t bad for me. That’s on Strava.

New run and bike

I was down in Annapolis this weekend, but managed to get in a nice quick run outdoors with a friend.

Yesterday, I biked over to Bentley and back. Coming back was kind of a nightmare — traffic was awful. With Beaver St. closed, you have to take Route 20 for bit to get on campus. In the future I might try to find another way to campus, even if it’s longer.

I got lost for a bit, but luckily most of my route was along a path I had used for marathon training, so I was able to more or less get back that way.

Both activities are on Strava.

Just a 6:59 mile, no biggie

Didn’t have much time to exercise today, but I figured another a sub-7-min mile would at least help me maintain my fitness. (Missed yesterday — this week has been completely nuts and I actually did this run around 9:30pm.)

Felt pretty good about the pace, I went a bit too fast in the beginning because I couldn’t really track my pace in the dark.

Run is on Strava.

A week of workouts

Tuesday, Apr 21st:

Did some cycling intervals at home.

Wednesday, Apr 22nd:

bikeapril

7.5 mile bike ride up to the beginnings of the Minuteman Trail.

Actually, I accidentally started on the wrong trail, but it didn’t matter because a minute later, my chain popped off!bg

At first, I was trying to open the chain and put it back on, but I couldn’t figure out how. By shifting gears I managed to get it around my smaller gear in the front. I think the problem may have been an “in-between” front derailleur setting that I find useful when using my hardest back gear.

Just in case, I set the bike to a middle-of-the-road gear and kept it there on the ride back home.

Thursday, Apr 23:

I usually take Wednesday off, but since I rode then, I used Thursday to take my bike into the shop.

Friday, April 24th:

Went to the pool around 10pm and did some “intervals.” I use quotes since I only lasted for about three of them… I then filled out the rest of a 20min workout with continuous swimming at a slow pace.

Saturday, April 25th:

Off day

Sunday, April 26th:

Did a 2.6 mile run at a relatively easy pace. By my calculations (my Garmin wasn’t working again…) it was 8:30 miles. I can tell that I’m in better shape now, actually, the only problem is that I need to pace myself with these runs so I don’t exacerbate my shin splints.

BOOM

mile PR

New PR for the mile: 6′ 51″. And on Marathon Monday too!

Maybe I’m not so bad at this running thing after all.

Feels great to be in the “6 minute club.” Definitely a lifetime record.

What I did differently:

  1. I was kind of ticked off after my bad bike ride yesterday, so I told myself I was going to set a PR this time. In recent runs where I had run the mile in around 7′ 20″ or so, I felt like I could have gone a little faster, so it seemed reasonable that I could break my 7′ 11″ record.
  2. I ran the first few laps quite fast — faster than the required pace. Even though I was getting out of breath as usual, I realized that all that pain would be wasted if I didn’t continue pushing to get a record.
  3. Obviously some of my previous workouts have paid off… I basically used my idea that “if you’re not wheezing, you can keep going” and kept myself running just slow enough to not start wheezing. Because of my previous workouts, this turned out to be roughly on pace.
  4. I stopped looking at my watch after the first three laps or so. (out of nine laps.)

First bike ride of the season

Did my first bike ride of the season today. I rode over to the stadium area and practiced a bit to make sure my bike was in working order, then rode up to Alewife via Mass. Ave., which I’ve never done before. It was much more of a straight shot up to Alewife than the way I had gone before, which was designed to go by Fresh Pond and avoid traffic.

I ended up doing 6.4 miles, although it was actually a bit longer as I didn’t record some segments where I had to walk the bike due to the road being one way.

Surprisingly, I found that my average speed was only 10 mi/h… barely any faster than running! (That’s a 6 minute mile.) Yeah, I’m sure this had something to do with the large number of traffic lights, and the fact that I tend to obey road laws unlike most bikers, and actually stop for lights.

But when I put the run up on Strava, I saw that I was coming close to last place on most of the segments… like around 1,800/2,000. It’s somewhat discouraging to see that, since it feels like I’m just “negatively talented” and won’t get any better despite practice. Or that I have something completely wrong with my bike like my seat position. I’m starting to think the negative reinforcement of knowing just how un-fit I am is something that discourages me from continuing to exercise, but I keep doing it because I know it’s good for me.

Ultimately, another reason I’m terrible at cardio stuff is that I don’t necessarily work out consistently. I’m constantly making exceptions or excuses not to work out — and I don’t really regret them (I have to prioritize other things in my life, especially work), but it’s still a bit frustrating. Especially to finish every workout feeling like I’m doomed to never improve.

[In retrospect, the last bit of this post was super melodramatic and needlessly negative… I’m leaving it up, though, to give some insight into how my workouts and emotional state are related.]

Ride is on Strava.

Finishing the week

I ended up skipping my run on Wednesday to recover my legs, and got in the pool for a swim on Thursday. My lap times seemed pretty good; I did 10x intervals at 35 seconds per lap.  Now I just need to get it down to 30 and make it aerobic…

I’ve also found that my fastest swim stroke seems to include:

  1. ensuring that my shoulder is completely out of the water while the corresponding arm is, to avoid drag
  2. thrusting my arms into the water at an angle, forward (it almost seems counter-intuitive that thrusting my arm forward would make me move forward rather than backward?). This is relevant to my previous posts on Ian Thorpe or Michael Phelps, I forget which.
  3. Not necessarily putting my face all the way down into the water. This does seem to give some speedup, but my head needs to get really low in order for my back to flatten out on the surface. That makes it much harder to breathe and, I think, messes up my stroke by introducing a lot of drag during breathing.

I was hoping to swim yesterday, but the pool was closed, so I did a run outdoors. My Garmin wasn’t working, but I estimate the distance as around 2.5 miles, based on the map. I ran quite fast for probably 3/4 of a mile (after I gave up on getting my Garmin to work); jogged the rest.

Quick update

Realize I haven’t been posting much, but here’s basically what happened:

Did burpees on both Thurs and Fri to take a break from running. Was out of town this weekend.

Missed my workout yesterday since I got up too late.

Today I ran a mile, but my shins started clenching up towards the end and I actually had to stop walking afterwards. Instead of continuing my workout, I went home and did some stretches recommended by my physical therapist, and started freezing my ice pack for icing my legs later.

Probably will switch up to some more swimming to make sure these injuries don’t get too bad.