Saturday, September 03, 2011
I've always had trouble pacing myself. That's one of the reasons I've never been a runner; I've never been patient enough to train slowly.
Thursday I turned in a pretty good walk/run time in training. Friday I lifted weights and got out for a walk late to keep some streaks going. And on to Saturday.
The plan was to get up early, do a walk/run of 5.2 miles before meeting my daughter at McDonald's for breakfast, then do normal weekend stuff. What happened is I ended up slacking off a lot.
First, the walk/run. This was not a training exercise. The idea was to walk longer than I would in training, and not push hard on the runs. Well, the humidity this morning was every bit as bad as yesterday. The good news is I got out when the temperature was still reasonable; but I was doing terrible with the running. First stretch, I felt like slowing to a walk at one and a half minutes. After that, I managed 5 two minute runs, with 2 to 5 minutes walking between. The next time I set out to run, I managed a half minute.
My socks were wet. I'll try buying new socks, feels like the wicking action in these socks isn't what it was. My calves hurt. Either I really worked too hard Thursday, or the walking lunges yesterday were too much. I could feel a soreness in my thighs; when I got home I looked it up and I guess I worked by hip adductors pretty hard on Thursday. I don't think the RDLs and walking lunges yesterday would do that.
The technical term that weight lifters use for how I felt is "pretty beat up." This is obvious from the time I start the walk/run, but by the time I'm ready to admit it I'm more than halfway through the course, having run a total of 12 minutes. That's kind of deflating after training with walk 1, run 2 and running 20 total minutes. Couldn't manage 20 minutes in 2 minute segments, even with more time walking between runs. Sad.
Managed the 5.2 miles in 64 minutes. Got a little bit of a late start, so I skipped the hamstring and quad stretches, but made sure to to a good job on the calf stretches. Made it to breakfast on time, to hear daughter talk about moving to a solo apartment the first of October. There's drama with her landlady/roommate, who seems headed for Learning Experience in Life.
After breakfast, it was hot and humid. Normal weekend chores got started late, and some didn't get done. What did get done was a nap; grocery shopping; a bit of playing around on the SP site; and watching some football. I made no attempt to deal with the lawn in the heat. Tomorrow is supposed to be just as bad. I'll see how my body feels before I try to deal with the lawn then.
This is kind of a wakeup call. I've been diligent about getting exercise, but not as diligent as I should have been about controlling how much exercise. This has given me problems in the past, when my fitness program imploded but I kept eating like it was still going on. I'll try to deal with it better this time.
First step is tomorrow. Maybe I'll start Week 1 of the 5K My Way running program, and maybe I'll just walk for exercise. I need to listen to my body and see whether I've got enough rest time in to charge back into training. If not tomorrow, almost certainly Monday for the training. Tomorrow is supposed to be hot again, but Monday should be cooler at the cost of having some showers. I can deal with showers when out to walk or run.
It's a hard lesson, but I need to learn to pace myself. Not only in a single day's run, but also in overall exercise and fitness. I really don't want the program to implode and see the results I've already achieved evaporate. If I have to see slower progress, fine. But let's not lose what I've already got. To hold on, I need to keep working the program, but not work it so hard that it implodes.
Pace yourself, kid. You're worth it.
Friday, September 02, 2011
In Rochester NY, we sometimes get deceptive humidity. It really doesn't feel very bad, but after you walk a half mile you're dripping with sweat.
Today was warm, about 88 at lunch, and there was nothing deceptive about the humidity. It was in my face. I took a short walk and got back into the air conditioning. I didn't bother counting the walk as exercise.
The boss let folks out early for the Labor Day weekend. I used the time to go to the gym early (planned for after work) with the idea of mowing the lawn later, or maybe making up the cardio with a walk from home when it cooled off. Heh.
The gym is air conditioned, but the a/c isn't terribly efficient in the weight room. The weight room is in the basement, so it was cool enough; but much of the outside humidity migrates in. I was sweating seriously after a warmup, and dripping after the first major lift. Well, that's what lifting weights is like in the summer. I persevered, in spite of having forgotten to pack my water bottle. I made lots of trips to the drinking fountain.
After lifting, I reasoned that I might get a half hour of cardio in on a treadmill, and that would boost my step count up to where it would have been if I'd got the lunch walk. Still no water bottle, but it's only half an hour. I can drink before and after. Well. The cardio room a/c was working well, but 2 minutes in my feet were telling me that my socks were wet and it was NOT a good idea to keep going. Canceled out of that program, and didn't count it as cardio.
Ran a couple errands, and still got home a bit earlier than normal. Step out of the car, and the heat and humidity are oppressive. I've acclimatized to fall weather, let's not go back to high summer! Went in, fed the cat, had dinner, and recorded stuff on the nutrition and fitness trackers. Survey the yard. I really need to run the hedge trimmer before I mow, and then bag the clippings. I'm not up to that this evening, it will have to wait for tomorrow.
At this point, my pedometer reads about 8800 steps. There's no way I'm getting 1200 more steps inside my small house. Start looking as Spark Streaks. I've got a 44 day streak of exercising 10 minutes a day going, and I don't know whether weights should count. It says I have a 19 day streak of 10,000 steps, but it's really 48 days with an accidental streak reset thrown in.
So at 7 PM, the stupid motivational tricks get my butt out the door for a walk. I need 10 minutes and about a thousand steps. This is doable. The heat is less, as the sun has gone behind some western clouds. The humidity is still in my face, but can be dealt with as long as I'm willing to sweat. Get to the turning point for the short version of the walk. I've already worked up a light sweat. I'll need a third shower for the day anyway. May as well go the full 2 mile route. Turns out I'm at an off pace, and that takes me 32 minutes. Good enough for the streaks and the steps.
Now, off to bed. I want to be up early tomorrow, so I can walk/run 5.2 miles and get cleaned up before breakfast at 9. Then with the exercise and step streaks defended, I can see about taking care of the lawn tomorrow afternoon.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
The plan had been to take pictures at the end of each month. Yesterday was end of month, and I forgot.
I record my weight each day. The difference in weight between July 31 and September 1 was all of 6.8 pounds. It would not be surprising to see little difference; it's a bit surprising to see as much difference as there is. That's still not where I want the "after" pictures to be, but it's good progress for one month.
Then after I took pictures, I went out for the last of my remedial training on running. The plan was walk 1 minute, run 2 minutes, times 11 for a total of 22 minutes running. That should prepare me to start Week 1, which starts out walk 1, run 3, times 8 for a total of 24 minutes running.
This evening it was 80 degrees out, warmer than it's been while I'm running since last Friday. I changed a few variables. Put my older running shoes into the gym bag and retrieved the newer ones, thinking that might help some irritation of the bottoms of my feet I'd noticed before. Tried to figure out the Pose Technique that WATERMELEN had recommended. That's hard without a coach to look at how I'm doing. Tried to figure out what it should feel like and run that way. What I ended up with feels more like pulling the ground with my front foot than pushing with my rear foot. It gets me moving faster, with a longer stride, as promised. I didn't figure out how to slow down and stay in that method.
The most notable thing about this session is that I've hit the point where the limiting factor is my cardiovascular fitness. Part of that will be running faster, part might be not getting the Pose Technique right, part will be the temperature (which comes with deceptive humidity). During the session, I lost track of time segments once. Did a walk 1, run 1, walk 1, run 2, walk 5 steps, realize what I've done, run 1, and back on track. Ended up covering 3.9 miles in 33 minutes, 11 cycles of walk 1, run 2 with the irregularity from losing track.
That rate would get me through 3.5 miles in under 30 minutes.
All in all, it's been a pretty good day.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I am not a runner. Once a year, at the end of May, I pretend to be a runner for the Chase Corporate Challenge. That's 3.5 miles, or just a bit longer than a 5K.
Every year since the first time, my goal has been to be able to run the entire 3.5 mile distance. Every year, I've fallen short of that goal. The reasons are many. I'm busy during tax season, so I don't train then. I don't switch gears naturally at the end of tax season, so I lose too much time there. A couple of times I tried to train, and overdid things.
Enter SparkPeople. I came here to learn to record and control what I eat. The site also promotes exercise. I know a bit about weight lifting, and I see what SP has to say on the subject is very basic and suitable for people with absolutely no weight lifting experience. I wonder if the same is true about their running programs?
So I take a look. I can walk forever, but I'm not a runner. The 5K My Way running program starts with walk 1 minute, run 3 minutes. I couldn't do that. Other programs start with walk 4 minutes, run 1 minute. That's a lot more walking than I need between runs.
So I looked at what the programs had in common. They all are structured in terms of walk X minutes, run Y minutes, repeat Z times, Z increases on day 3 of each week, while X and Y become more challenging each successive week.
The end point of the 5K running program is to run 30 to 40 minutes. (SP says "jog," but let's be honest. If it's worth breaking out of my walk, it's worth running.)
So I built myself a two week remedial program that I call weeks negative one and zero of the 5K My Way running program. I'm on Week Zero and it's working. Today I walked 1 minute, ran 2 minutes 10 successive times. Friday I'll go for 11. Next week I'll start Week 1 at the SP drill of walk 1, run 3 times 8. (They word it clumsily, listing the first cycle then saying "repeat 7 times," but the listed total time makes it clear what is meant.)
I got into this thinking I needed a formal pattern for a gradual buildup. I knew I needed to not go as hard as I could, in order to increase my capability instead of achieving what I can right now and being sedentary the next two days. But there's something else important going on here.
SP says they're training for a 5K run. I've always thought in terms of training to run 5k, or 3.5 miles, or 5 miles, or whatever fantasy distance I've never been able to run. But that's not what the training program is doing.
It's really training me to run 35 minutes.
That's an important distinction. Historically, I thought in terms of distance. Run 200 paces, walk 200 paces. The real training program works in units of time. Walk 1 minute, run 1 minute. (I still don't get starting out with the walk instead of the run, but I'm following that structure.) The end result is to be able to run consistently for a sustained period of time.
If I can run continually for 30 minutes, I'll be able to run continually for 3.5 miles. Even on the walk 1, run 2 drill I covered 3.67 miles in 32 and a half minutes (with a 2.5 minute walk at the end, because 10 cycles is where I am in training.) Running nonstop will trim at least 2 and half minutes off that, probably more.
The other thing I noticed was the step count on the pedometer. When thinking in terms of distance, running artificially looks worse than walking. It's fewer steps to walk/run my 5.2 mile loop than to just walk the same loop. But . . . it's more steps to walk/run 30 minutes than to walk 30 minutes. Greater distance, more steps, same time.
I'm beginning to get it. To train to run, and to get the fitness benefits of running, how far I run isn't the most important thing. How long a time I run is a better measure to focus on.
Next May, I want to be able to run at least 30 minutes continually. I'll be willing to stop sooner if it doesn't take that long to cover 3.5 miles. Slightly changed goal, but I think I have a better chance of meeting it than I've ever had in the past.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I've been on the SP site for seven weeks now. I track what I eat. I stay in my calorie range, and after the first couple of weeks I started watching the macronutrients and staying in those ranges.
I climbed back on the fitness bandwagon, walking more regularly, lifting weights, and actually using the gym I'm paying for. Last week I started training to run, with the aspiration of being able to run 3.5 miles nonstop at the end of next May.
The system is working. In seven weeks, I lost 11 pounds and the clothes that were tight are now comfortably loose. I'm not lifting as much weight as I did at my peak, but the strength is coming back. This weekend I weighed in at a 20 year low, though the weight has since bounced back up a little with rehydration.
And sometimes I feel like an imposter. What the heck am I doing here, with a lousy 21 pounds to lose (10 now), and fitness that came right back after 3 or 4 weeks of actually doing it? There are people here who have lost 50 or 100 pounds. There are people here who started out so obese that just getting off the couch was exercise, and they managed to turn themselves into runners. There are people here who are losing weight in spite of medical conditions that limit their ability to run, or even to walk. There are people here who work their butts off to lose a half pound a week.
I have it easy. I may not be young any more; AARP wants me to join. But I'm pretty healthy, and not *that* much overweight. Yes, I desperately need the nutrition tracker. Yes, the stupid motivational tricks are really helping me actually exercise, as opposed to thinking about exercising. But still, I sometimes feel like I'm freeloading on a system that was built for people who need it a lot worse than I do.
Sometimes I read about a situation that is so far from what I experience that I just can't think of a way to offer support without sounding holier than thou. And then I wonder, what the heck am I doing here?
Then I take a deep breath, and think about it. I'm here to develop habits that will maintain a healthy weight. I'm here because I am going to have to track what I eat for the rest of my life. I'm here because just posting a status that says I will go to the gym commits me, and then I actually DO go to the gym. I'm here because some of the other people here have some pretty good ideas that I can use in my own life. I'm here for pretty much the same reasons the people who look like they belong here are.
I'm here because my diet and fitness are better when I'm here than they were when I wasn't here. That's enough. If I happen to help anyone else too, that's a bonus.
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