Today was only my 2nd time running 5K in training this year. Today’s time was 50 seconds faster than on May 1st – my last time running 3.1 miles.
Why haven’t I been listing my run times? Because they’re shameful. Seriously. I’m not trying to impress anyone but the more I think about it I ought to just list them because I am a numbers-oriented guy (as anyone who knows me is well aware – my “rain man-ish” ability to remember lifting numbers is freakish) and maybe it will light a fire under my butt to keep my eye on faster times. Plus, I am starting a new chapter in my training and am focusing more on cardio and general health and fitness this year. As evidenced by my steady (but low volume) running for the past 2 months. And if I’ve done it for 2 months I plan to do it for a long time. It’s not just a passing fad in other words. More reason to list my running stats since I haven’t been lifting nearly as often as last year and the years before. My days of only trying to get stronger are over. I’ll still do some resistance training but it’s going to be immensely pared down so that my bodyweight can also drop significantly by the end of the year.
So here goes. My time today was 35 minutes and 35 seconds. Feel free to throw rotten fruit and vegetables at me at your leisure. That’s an average of about 11 minutes and 18 second miles. And honestly, that’s a big improvement from even just 2 months ago when I started running again. That’s no surprise though. It can only get better.
About 7 weeks ago my best mile time (time trial mile) was 10 minutes and 37 seconds. Now THAT’S embarrassing. And that was done when running with a group of coworkers. So I was really trying hard.
On May 29th, I did a mile time trial and beat my previous 2012 best mile time by about 22 seconds. 8 minutes 44 seconds for my best mile this year. Pretty cruddy. But again, it’s improving – and that’s the name of the game.
To show the difference in best mile times, in early January of this year I did a mile run on a warm-ish day. Felt good. Stretched out. Had good shoes. The whole nine yards. Nothing to complain about or slow me down. I BARELY ran a mile in 11 minutes and 47 seconds. And by barely I mean if I hadn’t been watching every 1/4 mile on my Run Keeper I wouldn’t have made it under 12 minutes at the end. I had to run for everything I was worth for the last 1/8th mile.
I tested my mile time in March and got around 11 minutes and 30 seconds. But I hadn’t been running steadily. Just a few 1/4 mile tests (literally 6 this year) to see if my kettlebell and other resistance training was making any difference in short runs. In a word – not really. Loss of a little bodyweight had more positive carryover than any training I was doing.
Everybody always asks how it felt. And by “it” I think they mean me – after a run. I felt terrible for the last mile of the run. But a few minutes after finishing I had a great feeling of achievement. Despite the fact that it was slow by almost anyone’s standards. The course I ran today has a few small-ish hills that quickly felt much steeper than they really were. I sometimes steer clear (okay, I usually do) of even small hills but hill running of any kind and amount will be very good for me – just not so good for my time trials.
Managed to only breathe through my nose for the first 1.7 miles. But I wanted to start gulping air at the 1.5 mile mark because that’s when the first little hill reared its ugly head. I might’ve been able to just nose breathe the entire run but it would’ve slowed me down horrendously. Without any real benefit I can see. I do believe that nose breathing when running is a good practice though for several reasons. Which I won’t elaborate on in this blog post. There are other bloggers who can explain it way better than I can. Check my blogroll for some great fitness and running-related blogs.
I did a very good job of pacing during this run and I’m happier about that than improving 50 seconds on the 5K time. It’s been about 2 months of steady (2 to 3 days per week) running and I’m finally getting to the point where I can feel the difference in pacing between 12-minute miles and 10-minute miles. I don’t hear many runners saying they have trouble with pacing but I sure have this time around. Everything feels about the same when I start out the run. Within reason. A 10-minute mile feels almost the same as a 12-minute mile at the start. That quickly fades by the 1/4 mile mark and if I’ve started out too fast by then my run is essentially shot because I just can’t recover my breath to slow down and finish in a decent time. I’ve tried “tricking” myself and not looking at the clock or my Run Keeper to see what my pace is. That does NOT work for me.
I check every 1/4 mile on the majority of my runs to see if my pace is where I want it to be. Today’s run was similar for the first mile. Then I decided to see if I could run a similar mile without looking every 1/4 mile. I only made it every 1/2 mile without checking for the 2nd mile. Got better by the 3rd mile and looked only at the end.