Sunday, 6 February 2011

Weekly running round up - 4 runs, 11 miles and a few tears of elation

Today is a biggie. I've just completed a 5 mile run (5.5m including warm up walk)!!!

I like to acknowledge the big and small achievements and I've just got to note this one.

I hadn't done a long run since my 4.5m run two weeks ago. As it seems to go, I get excited about the prospect of a long run, then as the time gets closer, I get a little nervous. It didn't help when I woke up at 5am and started worrying that I hadn't got enough sleep and I wouldn't have enough energy to run.

After initial panic, I did get back to sleep...until 10am. Then I was worrying I wouldn't be able to fit everything AND a run into the day!

I made sure I ate enough in the morning to get me through the run in the afternoon. I didn't want to not complete the 5 miles just because I hadn't fueled up enough!

The time went fairly quickly - I'm learning not to keep checking my watch for time/miles! A new challenge was the wind. It was pretty strong today and at times I really had to push against it. I ran mainly on the paths that were more sheltered from the wind this time.

When I first checked my watch I had completed 2.3miles. Almost half way there! When I checked again it was 3.7miles - only 1.3 miles to go, less than 15 minutes. And when I got to 4.7miles I knew I was going to do this for sure! That's when I started getting really excited - I'm actually going to complete 5 miles.

I did keep an eye on my watch at this point....4.7 miles, 4.8 miles, 4.9 miles......5 MILES! And I promptly burst into tears. I wasn't expecting that to happen! Where did that come from?! I just felt a big surge of pride at my achievement. I wish there was someone there I could have shared that moment with. I was elated! From being pretty much sedentary for the last few years to being able to run 5 miles....that's no small achievement. They say self praise is no praise...I don't always think that's true - you've gotta give yourself a pat on the back from time to time!

Of course as soon as I got home I had to send a tweet out. Twitter, well, my twitter friends to be precise, play a big part in my life and to have friends there to celebrate with really means a lot. Thank you so guys and girls! xx

So here's today's map and stats. I didn't record the .5 mile warm up walk as it took that long for my gps watch to pick up a signal -boooo.

I had a couple of great questions from my twitter friends which made me think about today's run and running in general.

Fiona asked, Was it more of a mental struggle or physical?

Hmmm.... Physically it was of a battle against the wind. That was a new experience and presented a different type of challenge of pushing through it and not letting it blow me around! There's always the Toxic Ten minutes at the start of any run so I know I just have to run through that and I'll start to feel better. At 3 miles I felt the beginning of a blister, but although I was aware of that, it wasn't enough to slow me down (only a tiny blister upon post run examination).

Mentally, I always have a positive talk with myself as I go around. Lots of "you can do this! you've done 1 mile before, just do that 5 times! You have eaten enough - you have go enough energy for this. It's not a hill, it's a slight incline!" That type of thing. I also let my mind and imagination wander....I tune into my music and think about the week ahead, plans to make, blogging to do, work, friends, and the big dinner I'm going to have when I get home! lol

Libby asked, So what was the turning point that made you get - and keep - the motivation to crack it this time? What is your secret?

I had to think about this for a few minutes. Great question!

What made me get going? I'd made a new years goal of doing more physically. Due to working for myself the last few years I've pretty much been in front of the computer screen. I've been aware that this isn't healthy but always made the excuse that I didn't have enough time - work comes first. Which I know sounds absurd - health comes first of course! I didn't have my priorities right. And if I don't look after my health a bit better, then I will make myself ill and definitely won't be able to do my work and follow my passions and achieve my dreams.

What's keeping me going? A few things. For a start I know I'll feel worse if I start skipping on exercise and making excuses. I'll be on a slippy slope back to square one again.

Then there's the personal challenge and the achievements, and I really believe you have to acknowledge even the smallest of achievements - even if that's just putting your trainers on and seeing what happens when you get past the front door.

As this is my personal challenge. I only have to answer to myself. Though I must admit that making myself accountable in public on this blog does help! But I set my own goals and I'm not doing this for anyone other than me. I haven't entered any races as I simply don't want to, certainly at the moment.

I'm enjoying see what my body and mind can do! It's easy to underestimate what we can achieve. I think this is a mental challenge as much as a physical one. I go through a range of mental 'states' with running. When I think about the runs I have planned for the week, I get excited. As the time comes closer to getting ready to go out, I have to push myself at times. When I am out there, I'm already doing it. And when I get home, I never regret making the effort.

Tracking my progress is a great motivator too. When you can see achievements, however small they may seem, they all add up. Whether someone has never run before and completes 30 seconds of running non stop to someone who can run for miles and miles, every step counts.

I'm not sure I have a 'secret', but a combination of the above keeps me going. And if I ever have any doubts I'll make sure I come back to this page and remind myself!

Thank you for the questions!

Here are the maps and stats for this week. 11 miles in total.

Hula Hooping news!

I've ordered my OWN hula hoop! Julia, the teacher, is going to customise it for me in my favourite colours, red/silver/black. I can't wait to get my hands on it and have the option of practising at home when the hula mood strikes!

My friend Fiona pointed me to these amazing (and different!) hula videos. I think you'll enjoy them!

Fat Boy Slim - That old pair of jeans

Hula Hoop song - it's a bit mental!

And now it's time to chill out for the rest of the night! :)


Unknown said...

I think you've done amazingly well Karen. Full of admiration for you. I run a bit, but have this thing in my head that I can only run first thing in the morning and with work its difficult to fit it in. (Sounds like an excuse I know - and I suppose it is). I ran 3.75 miles yesterday which is about my average. Need to get over the morning-only fixation. I did Sutton Fun Run with Ben Waddington a few years ago, 8.5 miles, that was the most I've ever run in one go, but that sense of achievement stays with you for a long time. I can see why people get sort of addicted to it. Anyway yes -your progress has been amazing in such a short space of time.

Katchoo said...

I was wondering about both the physical and mental thing because I really struggle to get to even 3km on the gym treadmill. Not sure what is holding me back but maybe I should have a little talk with myself.

Anyways, thanks for the insight. After I read your tweet I got my gymrags on and went for a workout. Knowing someone else is out there cracking on and doing it - and looking rather good in the process- is very inspiring.

Also, inspired by your NYC trip. Pondering my options...

Karen Strunks said...

Hi Ged! Thank you. And thanks for your comment too. I hear you about your favourite time of day to run!

When I was running in 2006-07 I had a job that I could start at 11am so did my running before work, and that really suited me. In fact, I don't remember ever doing an evening run. It was morning or not at all.

Now I try and fit a couple of week day runs in at lunchtime, but I work from home a few days a week so that helps. If I am in the office, then I would find it hard to get changed, run and SWEAT and then sit in the office for the rest of the afternoon.

I have done one evening run this year, it was an evening run or not at all that day, so I tried it and actually it wasn't that bad and I enjoyed it.

Everyone has their best running time of day.

Mornings are good if you are a natural early bird and want to get an energy kick that will keep you going. Also it will be out of the way for the day too!

Lunchtimes are handy if it's the only time of day you have to run and find yourself too tired after the end of the working day.

Evenings could be seen as a good time of day to run to runn off any stresses of the day!

Do you try and do different distances during your runs? (This is something I'm going to ask Fiona too). Every training programme and running book I have ever read (a lot!) says to vary the length of your runs, and do one long run a week (and even then, vary that) For example, one of my runs this week was 1 mile. But don't try and do your longest run 3 times a week, you need to give your body a break and time to recharge and recover and get stronger. Eventually add a little bit more distance to your long runs.

If 3.75m is your longest run, perhaps save that for the weekend. Maybe try a 2.5 mile run one morning a week and a 2 mile run after work after work. I find it helps to go through my diary each week and actually schedule in my runs - plan them like you would anything else.

Well done on your run y/day and the Sutton Fun Run! That's quite a challenge. Ben has said that we will go out for a run sometime. I've warned him I'm not very fast lol.

Let me know how you get on! :)

Karen Strunks said...

Hi Fiona! Thanks for your comment. Glad you are inspired by NYC and that you got to the gym today!

I'm going to ask a lot of questions. You don't have to answer them, they are more food for thought.

Are you trying to go from zero to 3k without building up your distance, strength (muscular and aerobic)and stamina?

How often are you trying to run 3k? As I mentioned to Ged, it is recommended to vary the length of your runs during the week, so a couple of shorter runs and then one long run per week - so maybe save your 3k for your long run.

Are you following a training plan? Are you taking walk breaks? There are tons of beginners training plans out there - they are really good at getting you started and building up your strength and stamina.

Slow down - what speed do you have the treadmill on? Have you got it on an incline? If you get tired, take a walk break.

Your speed and effort are in your control. Don't worry about time. Vary your running lengths and take a day or two's break between each run.

Perhaps try an outside run! It is different from running on the treadmill and I'm going to do a post about that sometime....

You will feel the wind in your hair! And you will also at times be working against the wind. You will be running on different surfaces and natural inclines and declines. This is seen as better for your muscles as they have to work harder on different surfaces (another blog post there!). You will get changing views which will keep things interesting for you and provide more mental distractions.

Anyway, food for thought as I say. I hope that's some help to you. Keep me posted! :)

Katchoo said...

Hi - I've not really set a plan. Just go to the gym and do 20 mins each on the cross trainer and the treadmill, 2-3 times a week. Distance is an aside... I just want to get heart-fit. But now I can run a bit I was thinking of trying to do 5k. I will run outside, when it's a bit nicer weather. :)

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