I have a lot of things going through my head that I could write about, but right now I just want to write about a few short things (or a few things that probably won't be so short because I can't resist a good ramble).
Today I did Week 1, Day 2 of the 10k program. This should have been Day 3, but oh well. At least I've been good about exercising in other ways and at least I got out there today. I'm not going to worry about it. Anyway, today it was a three mile run and I managed to finish it feeling like I had worked hard, but not so hard that I needed to collapse in a sweaty heap. Cool. I never got so winded that I felt like my breathing was hitching in my upper chest, like it has a tendency to do, and THAT felt awesome. I didn't quite find that perfect rhythm "Oh my god, I'm a perpetual motion machine! I could run FOREVERANDEVERANDEVER!" feeling that I've gotten tastes of before, but I felt good when I was done which is a big deal to me. Not that it was easy, either, but I can tell I'm getting better at this running thing.
Last night, I was looking around for a new book to read and found "The Complete Book of Running for Women" by Claire Kowalchik, former managing editor of Runner's World magazine. I must have bought this book when, a while back, I briefly tried the C25k program and failed miserably. Let's not get into that disaster. (Hey! The price tag is still on the back (A buck fifty) and the date is 2/24/10. Sooooo I must have bought it right around then.) Totally forgot I had it, though. Anyway, in the portion I read yesterday, there was a bit about how to breathe properly. This has been hard for me. Sounds ridiculous, right? "I don't know how to breathe!" But, yeah, I've had issues with my breath going from my stomach to becoming stuck in my chest and it pretty much leaves me feeling awful and makes it so hard to run, even if I don't really feel like I'm pushing myself too hard. (I know, I know. . . Slow down, right? But I'm going sooooo slow already!)
Kowalchik says this: "During a relaxed run, you want to inhale for three steps and exhale for two steps (a 3:2 ratio). Why inhale for more steps than you exhale? Because inhalation should be as relaxed and fluid as possible, whereas exhalation is naturally a bit shorter and forceful."
Apparently, too, running and breathing in this way reduces your risk of injury because you hit the ground with the greatest force when you're starting to exhale. Doing the 3:2 ratio sets your breathing/stepping at an odd number of steps, so you change which foot you exhale on. Therefore, the stress is spread out between both sides of your body versus when you might do an even number (2:2) and its one side that repeatedly gets pounded. Good to know for the long term, eh? (And I DO want to do this long term.)
I tried to focus on this and I do think it helped keep my breathing even. It was sort of awkward at first and it will take some practice to become natural, but I'm glad I ran across that bit of information. How are you supposed to be any good at something without having some basic techniques down, right? I also focused a lot on keeping good form, and I think that helped a lot, too. I have a bad tendency to start slouching and it's definitely something to avoid.
So, yeah, I had a good run and I think I have more and better runs in my future!