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.

Solid Intervals Tuesday

Went to the indoor track for intervals this morning. My usual workout is 2.67 miles.

I managed to push through the first mile in around 7:58 with some serious shin splints, but I had to stop after that. I took a five minute stretch and went down to the bike room to finish the workout. I did six more sets and felt pretty good about the whole workout, although I generally find it harder to get my heart rate in the target zone on the bike.

Overall, I think I probably need to reduce my mileage a bit and put in some cross-training; I’ve ramped it up fairly quickly. This weekend I’ll be out of town, so I’ll probably skip the 6.5 mile run I have scheduled. That should give me a little time to recover. I’ll replace it with some kind of interval exercise like burpees or biking.

I added the run manually on Strava. It lists it as 0.9 miles even though I clearly typed in 1.0 miles and the speed is computed with 1.0 miles as the distance. Honestly, Strava seems rather buggy.

Monday 2-miler

On Mondays, I try to run two miles, running for as long as I can at my goal pace (7:00 mi).

About half a mile into my run, I realized it wasn’t going to be a good one. I was wheezing; telling myself I would walk after the first mile; overheating in the 40 degree weather. I managed to avoid walking, but I took the second mile fairly slowly.

I had done a quarter mile warmup with no problems, but poor performance on one of these morning runs isn’t uncommon for me. In general, I don’t seem to be able to run well in the morning. I’m too hungry and tired to drag my heavy legs forward, and grogginess turns into the usual feeling of drowning at relatively low speeds. I’ve managed to counteract this somewhat, at times, by eating lots of pizza the night before; in this case, I ran 5 miles last night, so I did almost the opposite of what I needed to do.

Moving my runs to later in the day probably isn’t an option. It would just make it too easy for me to skip workouts. Currently, I have a decent rule for skipping workouts (aside from injury concerns): if I wake up on time, I work out.

Even though my speed wasn’t great, I was definitely hitting my target HR (160-170) for most of the run, so I should have gotten a decent cardio exercise.

Overall stats are hard to say. Right after the run, my watch reported that I had done a 9:27 mile average, with exactly 2 miles. Strava puts me at 8:33 miles, with 1.9 miles run. I wonder if the difference is that Strava only counts “moving time” — so if I stop at a light (which happened several times on this run) it doesn’t count.

I do think it’s probably fair to say that I did the first mile in a bit less than 8:30.

Amusingly, according to Strava I set two PRs: for my 400m and for a segment of the route called the “Foot Bridge to Western Avenue Sprint.” Indeed, on that segment I improved my ranking from around 1700/1968 to 361/1968!  (I imagine this is because most people don’t sprint that particular segment, but rather run it as part of their usual routes.)

Run is on Strava.

Boston night run

run apr 5

Did a night run down into Boston. I slightly overestimated the distance on this loop, so ended up going only 5.2 miles instead of 6 miles. This was my long run that I was supposed to do on Saturday, so I took it pretty easy and with a 10:05 mi/min pace. One interesting thing to note was that the pace shown by my Garmin while running, the pace shown by the Garmin Express app, and the pace shown by Strava all seem different. I’m going to believe Strava since its numbers seem the most realistic (based on how I felt during the run).

BU has a nice campus and every time I run through it I imagine what it must be like to be a student there. Probably pretty fun.

Currently deciding whether to do my run for today right now, or wait until later this afternoon to take advantage of the warmer weather.

Nice 6mi run

Went out yesterday and ran west for the first time in a while. The snow and ice had mostly cleared up, although it was still there in patches. Ran my first mile in 7:17, which was good (close to a PR). Did the first 3 miles in 26:30, which was probably also close to a 5k record (I don’t really track this… my guess is that I could probably do a 5k in 25 minutes.) Did another 3 at around a 9 minute pace.

Run is on Strava.

Was going to run today but have been having shin splints, since I’m ramping up mileage again. May go in for a shorter run tomorrow.

Workout 2015-04-01

Ran 2.67 miles at a 9:28 pace; did the first mile in 7:35. This was 8 sets of intervals.

I think my computation from last week of extremely high speeds (like 7:30 miles for the same distance) must have been wrong somehow… annoyingly.

At least I can pretty consistently run a mile in about 7:30 — I don’t seem to have problems with that anymore. But I need to keep pushing that time down.