Friday, August 31, 2012

RunLog August #5

Tuesday 19 August - 35 mins slow

Squeezed in between work and night classes, this run was more of a tempo run as I was in a bit of a rush and just wanted to get it done!

Thursday 23 August - 30 mins slow

Running along my usual flat-ish route, I concentrated on going slow as I have a long run tomorrow.

Friday 24 August - 60 mins slow

Ran along to the Auckland Domain and around the park, and finished by running around the block to pad out my time to exactly 1 hour.  There are a lot of annoying traffic lights in this direction!

I ran with a small Nike wrist water bottle today - and definitely needed it as it was warm and sunny and I was running mid afternoon:

Here are my thoughts on it:
  • It holds about 200 mls/1 cup of water - just enough to quench your thirst for a 1 hr run, as long as it isn't a hot day.
  • I started out with the bottle worn on the outer wrist, but it wobbled around and I quickly switched it to the inner wrist where it sat quite comfortably in my palm, although it did get a bit sweaty!  The stretch towelling strap held the bottle in place comfortably without having to clench the bottle hard.
  • The extra weight on one arm might annoy you, but that is only while the bottle is full.
  • When half full, the sound of the water sloshing around inside is a bit annoying/distracting.  I know it's a minor detail, and I suppose you could always drink up! 
  • The wrist band fits me well, but if you have small hands it might be too large.  However you could easily stitch it tighter if necessary.
  • It is looks alright, and is reasonably discrete, and inexpensive at $20.
  • Time will tell if I use it regularly or not, as it isn't the perfect solution.  When my runs get longer I plan to get a camelbak or fuel belt, but until then I think this will be handy for shorter runs where I can't guarantee there is a drinking fountain en route, or where I know I can top up at a certain point.
If you have one of these water bottles, what do you think of it?  If not, what is your favourite way of carrying water for your long-ish runs? 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Breaking Records Already!

My new toy lets you know when you've run your fastest 1k and 5k - and when I went for my first run with it last Friday it popped out these (disappointing-for-me) stats:

Admittedly this was for a long slow run where I stopped at traffic lights a couple of times, stopped to tie my shoelaces, and walked up the steep hill! 

After uploading the data for my next run I got the message that I had broken my all-time record, he he!

These numbers are probably more indicative of my current training pace.  My training at the moment is mostly slow runs measured by time spent running, rather than distance or speed.  According to my schedule I have a time trial in 4-6 weeks which will give an indication of my 5k race pace.

Onto Sunday's run - 10 mins slow, 4 x 2 mins fast with 2.5 min jog recoveries, 10 mins slow

You can see my four 'fast' intervals - the third one is a bit slower but there is a story behind that.  While I was doing my second recovery jog a guy overtook me, and when I started my third fast interval I felt a bit silly in that "hey-don't-you-pass-me" way overtaking him again, so I ran a little slower just to stay behind!

The last interval was a bit faster because I knew there were no more to come, but I did struggle the last 10mins home, as you can see I have conveniently chopped that bit off ;)

My speed sessions were supposed to be 'fast', which is defined as 5/10km pace (whatever mine is!) or finishing feeling you couldn't have given any more.  This is at variance with most of my speed sessions which have been 'brisk' - faster than conversational pace but not puffing, or 1/2 marathon pace (now we are really guessing!).  My 'fast' pace was anywhere between 5:30 and 6:00, and I probably could have tried a bit harder. Next time my watch will come in handy to help gauge my 'fast' speed - I'm loving it already!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

RunLog, and Running Watches

Tuesday 14 - 30mins slow

A quick run squeezed in between work and the night classes that I teach - even I'm impressed with my dedication today!

Thursday 16 - 30mins slow

I know I'm going to run out of things to say about my 30mins slow days soon.....
Today I concentrated on running slow, as I suspect I've been running a little faster than I should be.

I'm also considering investing in a running watch.  My long run tomorrow is supposed to be 55mins, and it's getting harder to guess the time spent running without one!  I'm thinking of getting this Timex Ironman one from Rebel Sport...

...which is an updated version of my old one - so old that the strap has perished and fallen apart!

Friday 17 - 55mins slow

Well, 1:01:16 to be precise!

Nike+ users will recognise this :)
Yes - I bought myself a running watch to track my times and distances, as that has been mere guesswork up to now.  I went into Rebel Sport today, and it must have been my day because they had a sale with 30% off sport watches - it runs until Sunday I think, so be quick!  I bought their last Nike+ Sportwatch GPS:

It isn't the most elegant thing on the planet - but sport watches never are, are they?! This one has a lot of features for a reasonable price - including GPS.  I love the idea of mapping my runs as much as timing them, so of course I was completely sold there.

The pace and elevation graph is fun too - you can see where my pace dropped off as I walked up and down the steps in Jaggers Bush! (orange area on the map above):

pace = green, elevation = blue

I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with my new gadget!

What's your favourite way of tracking your runs?  Guesswork - like I've been doing up to now, or Gadgets - the higher tech the better?!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

RunLog August #2

Saturday 11 August - 1 hour walk

Sunday 12 August - 10mins slow, 20mins fartlek, 10mins slow

For the fartlek session I chose to run hard up any inclines that got in my way!  Because I've been running mainly on the flat to keep my heart rate down, it is actually exciting to do this for a change.  I really want to move onto some varied terrain so I have more route options - there are so many great places to run where I live.

Speaking of great places to run - in the morning we went for a 1 hour bush walk to Cascade Falls in the Waitakere's, and there was a group of four runners who took off around the same time, which just made my legs twitchy and want to follow them.  I love running trails, and can't wait until I'm a bit fitter so I can do so!  Here's some photos of our walk so you can see what I mean:

Doesn't it make you want to break into a run?

A real NZ silver fern, as worn by all our Olympic athletes!

A native NZ bush robin, so friendly he hopped to within a metre of us!
I've gotta say I'm looking forward to my rest day tomorrow!
Happy running...

Friday, August 10, 2012

RunLog August Week 1

Thurs 2 Aug - long easy run 45mins

I obviously need a running watch of some sort, as this runs was meant to be 50mins but I got home a bit earlier than that.  The run went well though - apart from the unexpected hill!  I've been trying to run relatively flat routes so far to keep my heart rate at a conversational pace.

Sat 4 Aug - 10 mins slow, 5 x 1 min brisk with 2 min jog recoveries, then 10 mins slow (then 10mins walking up the hill to home - that counts right?!)

Today's run marks the beginning of cycle 2 of the second level in my running book, which is basically a repeat of cycle 1 with some increases, and it feels great to have progressed so little so far!
I love the 'speedwork' - it feels great to ramp it up a bit after all the slow running.  I look forward to these sessions each week, but the final 10 mins slow was very slow today!
Starting out could feel my quads were a bit stiff after the unexpected hill 2 days ago, but it soon went away.  Maybe probably should warm up a bit better...

Sunday 5 Aug - walk 60mins  - unscheduled - took the opportunity for a nice late afternoon walk with DH

Mon 6 Aug  - 35 mins slow

Not much else to say really!
Except I ran up behind a couple, and just as I began to pass the guy decided to extract his nasal contents onto the pavement, which landed a few inches from my advancing foot - gagh!  As I passed we made eye contact and he guiltily said sorry that was very disgusting of me, and I said yes it was, and ran on.  Soon after that I started puffing and realised I was running too fast because I was so annoyed about The Nasal Guy Experience, so I slowed back to easy pace.  Ahh, the minutiae of life, must have been a stressful day at work...

Thurs 9 Aug  - 30 mins slow

I didn't manage to squeeze this run in yesterday as planned, so after a 2 day break I was rearing to go and everything felt good.

Fri 10 Aug  - 45 mins slow

So spring-like today!  I had a nice easy run around Western Springs, winding in and out of photo-taking tourists, geese, swans, toddlers and mothers with prams. Here I am back home after navigating the melee, rehydrating celebrating my first week of blogging with a glass of err, water!

Happy running this week!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Book That Got Me Running Again

So, exactly what motivated me to start running again?  That's simple, it was this compact little book:

Beginner's guide to long distance running
by Sean Fishpool
This is a great little book that has running programs for the absolute beginner to the sub-3:30 marathoner, with lots of good advice on footwear, nutrition, stretches, and the like in between.

I started at the very beginning - run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes, seven times, every second day for a week.  Over a period of 10 weeks you build up to running 30 minutes non-stop, and I like how you are encouraged to listen to your body and repeat weeks whenever you feel like it.

I followed the schedule quite religiously as I really wanted to ensure my aging muscles and tendons were gradually conditioned to avoid any chance of injury - I don't want to go there!  It has been rewarding for me to cross each week off the list and see myself getting closer to each goal, but occasionally I'd miss a run or two and punish myself by going back a week!

Anyway now I've progressed to the next level, I want to make sure I keep progressing and don't have to drop backwards again and repeat my hard work - onwards and upwards is the direction I want to be heading.  And that is my motivation for starting a running blog!

My current level is four runs a week - two easy, one long, and one speedwork.  I love the speedwork days -  it feels great to 'run' rather than jog, and it seems to have made a difference already - although that could be my imagination!

What motivated you to start running?  Was it also a book, or another running program, or some other influence altogether?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Start Line

I bought a pair of running shoes on 3 January 2012, and have gradually built up to running 3-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes.  Here I am after my first run!

I used to run quite a bit, but stopped after sustaining a back injury.  Walking became my main form of exercise, but it was rather like being an impatient dog on a lead - all the time I wanted to break into a run!  Now I've fully recovered and have started running again, and it feels great so far!  I just love the wind in my face, the motivated feeling you have after a run, and the freedom of exploring streets and trails around me on foot.

As I progress I have found the need for a running diary, and what better way than a running blog!  Here I can document my progress, trials and tribulations to help keep me motivated.  You are welcome to follow my journey, and if I can motivate others too that would be just great!

You might be wondering why have I named this blog "Run to the Mountains".  Firstly, I think it is wonderfully inspiring - I love the mountains!  Secondly, it is a family joke - of which I was the subject!

My very first running race was at a school sports day as a 5 year old, and I lined up at the start with the other girls my age.  The teachers encouraged us by saying "Run as fast as you can - run to the mountains!"

And so I did. I ran, and ran - and I won!  But I didn't stop there.  To the great amusement of the spectators I ran right through the white finishing line tape and kept on running - running as fast as I could to the mountains way off in the distance, with all the others following me!  I don't remember the parents and teachers stopping us at the other end of the school field, but I do remember being disappointed not to have reached those mountains!

So you could say I've been a keen runner from an early age, but the reality is that I have run in fits and starts throughout my life, I'm strictly a mid-fielder, and hills make me struggle let alone mountains - but I still love to run!

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