Knee Problems

It seems that my cardio is still ok but my knee has been giving me issues. Last week when I did my first run after a month or so I was barely able to do my one mile without feeling like my knee wasn’t going to make it. I let it rest for  a week and focused on upper body when I did my workout earlier this week. Exactly a week later and I was able to push my distance to 2.34K before I felt that I should walk and ice my knee when I got home. So, here I am with an ice pack on my left knee writing this post.

Sadly, this means that before I get to doing my daily shorter runs – like one mile a  day for 8 weeks – I have to nurse my knees. This has happened before so I suspect that in a few weeks, with proper care, I should be able to move forward. I am trying to stay optimistic, but honestly, this is such a hefty goal that I really need all the time I have so I am a bit nervous. But, it is too early to make any real predictions. I am just going to move forward mentally preparing to have to make up for this lost time with harder and more challenging workouts than I have ever known.

Here are the (sad) results from my two runs this week:

Sunday, November 29

10mins 36sec, 1.62K, pace 6:32/K, 9.2K/hr

Sunday, December 6

16mins 38sec, 2.43K, pace 6:50/K, 8.8K/hr

Half-Marathon Goal Set

I really dropped the ball. It is strange how sometimes when I’ve achieved a major goal I feel satisfied for awhile and feel like I don’t need to keep pushing and book in the next goal. So, here I am facing the reality that since the summer I have not been the runner I was. In fact, in many ways I feel as though I am starting right from the very beginning. It is a sad reality and I am using this blog, again, to use as a motivator and way to document my progress as I get back to being the runner that I want to be.

This week I set my new goals – and they are massive. I am terrified of one in particular: a half-marathon on June 26, 2016. That is about 30 weeks from today. Yikes! I also have an 8K on March 20, 2016 to prepare for. Seeing all this in writing in front of me scares me far more than it did when I thought up to register for the runs. It’s official though and there isn’t any turning back now. Commitment to this is unchanged. The reality of what I have got myself into, though, has changed since I registered. This is nearly impossible feat – did I set myself up for failure? I am just going to pretend that I didn’t just write that. I am setting myself up to be as successful as possible. That is all that can be said for now.

I haven’t really decided on a plan yet. I have chosen a 12 week half-marathon plan for when it creeps closer to the half-marathon date but in these first 15 weeks leading up to starting that plan I am not 100% sure how I want to go about preparing. I know that I had the most success with doing the one-mile every single day and keeping consistent with daily running. So, I think that that is where I should start first. Over the summer I did one mile a day. This time I think I will kick it up gradually: one week one mile every day, one week two miles every day, one week three miles a day. I may need to do a few weeks at two and three miles to set my base. Outside of this, I have no plan. I definitely feel overwhelmed with my goal and what to succeed at it so badly that I am also feeling unable to begin. But I am putting my emotions aside about it and just going to get out there and do it.

Today is day one of the week of doing one mile a day for the entire week.

By the end of the week I would like to have a more concrete plan on how I am going to make all this work. I will record it here.

Best Time & Pace Yet!

I am riding on a runners high tonight. I completed my best time yet about 3 hours ago and I am still glowing! Before my run this evening I wouldn’t have known how to report on how this challenging new schedule has been, but tonight I saw the results. It is working.

This entire 1 mile challenge I have been maintaining a pace between 7:30 – 6:30 per mile. A few times I reached 6:28 or 6:27 – but tonight I somehow managed to get a 6:02 pace! I am on the verge of breaking the 6 minute mark and I couldn’t be any more blown away. I did it in 9 minutes and 48 seconds! I am only into week 3 and getting a pace that I expected to reach at week 8. I can’t help but wonder is this increase in pace directly related to the addition of 3 strength training days? I am not sure if it matters. I am certainly continuing with this schedule.

The major change in my run today was push on take off. I focused on pushing harder each time my foot hit the ground and pushed me forward. I had been aware of it during a few of my runs this week but I hadn’t been able to sustain it and it often felt tight or uncomfortable. Not today. I kept my back straight, my eyes up and focused on that push. My breathing was very heavy and will need some practice catching up with this speed in order to maintain it for longer distances. But for now, I am going to continue focusing on that push until it becomes more natural. I think the other things like my breathing and endurance will follow suit if I just keep trying to get the pace going.

I will admit though, today I was supposed to run two miles, according to my schedule and I didn’t – I only ran one. I wasn’t feeling very good today and I was extremely tired during my workout yesterday. So I cut myself the small break. Maybe I will do two tomorrow to make up for it.

For strength training this week I did upper body weight training twice and a core + burpee workout once. They were each about 20 minutes long and I did them immediately after my run. I wasn’t focused on tracking the reps etc because I was so eager to just get it done that I may tweak the strength training days each week to keep my body guessing and to also give some flexibility to my more tiring or long days. The same schedule is in the calendar so no backing out for this coming week. I am actually looking forward to it. Maybe next week I will be able to report that I reached a new best time!

More Miles, More Core

I cannot believe how motivating this process has been so far! I am shocked at my consistency in time per km even on days that I feel like I am stiff or dragging my weight up a hill. I have been able to manage a consistent 6:58-6:28 range. The 30 seconds is significant for a race, of course. But for me, and for running every single day, I think it is pretty awesome.

I am planning on taking all this motivation and putting into this goal full-force. This afternoon I came up with a new (more challenging) plan for tomorrow (Sunday) to next Sunday. See below for the plan schedule.

Even though I have a 10K in the calendar in September, I have the 5K distance on my mind. Gearing up to finish up week 2 and start on week 3 I am adding in 3 mile runs as a minimum; but I am so very hopeful for reaching a consistent time of under 30 minutes. I do not want to exceed an hour on the 10K, so, in theory, if I can consistently build on a strong under 30 minute 5K then in 3 months I should be able to achieve it. For now though, my full focus is on completing one 5K every week.

My body is firming up and my flexibility is improving. I have reached the point now where I need to start putting a huge focus on weight training – particularly full body and core exercises. Recently I read a number of articles on how a strong core can really improve your time – and obviously your posture and stride. So this is where I am. In order to try to gain some motivation from the strength training I think I will create a few circuit sequences and do them in rotation while tracking my completed rounds so that I can see my progress here too. I don’t mind strength training on its own but coupled with daily running I am a bit nervous. Coming out of this goal injury-free is vital – so, for the strength training portion I am incorporating it with caution.

Schedule for Week 2-3

  • Sunday, May 31 – Run 3 miles (5K)
  • Monday, June 1 – Run 1 mile + Strength Training
  • Tuesday, June 2 – Run 1 mile + Strength Training
  • Wednesday, June 3 – Run 2 miles
  • Thursday, June 4 – Run 1 mile + Strength Training
  • Friday, June 5 – Run 2 miles
  • Saturday, June 6 – Run 1 mile
  • Sunday, June 7 – Run 3 miles (5K)

The First Four Days

I did not except to feel immediate results.

All day today I have felt slimmer (or could be no bloating), I watched my food portions and didn’t go hungry, and I somehow achieved my all time fastest recorded pace of 6:27/km.

The strange thing is that I when I first set out to achieve this one mile a day for 8 weeks goal I didn’t really know the major affects it would have on my speed. I thought it would be challenge enough to run each day. I did not expect myself to get wrapped up in pace and speed, at least not so quickly. It is a pleasant surprise! For months I have been so focused on distance – and now realize I have only been purely enhancing my endurance levels. I didn’t know with this challenge that it would provide me the perfect training balance of speed AND endurance training. I even ran up stairs and hills for a little extra!

I am so excited to see where this challenge is going to take me. Shockingly, I am basically beginning this challenge at the place where I thought that it would take me. So who knows what my numbers will look like at the end of 8 weeks.

Here is a re-cap of my first four days of the challenge:

Day 1:

3 mile run. An additional 1 mile or so of walking.

I ran with my friend, Alexandra. I met her after work and on the run told her about the challenge I gave myself. She decided she wanted to give it a try too.

Day 2:

1 mile around my neighbourhood park. I felt sluggish through the entire run. I ran at the annoying hour when many people are out on the neighbourhood streets coming home from work. I hate this time because I feel like people are watching me and more times that any other time of the day I find that I get caught behind a smoker or group of slower walkers. In order to try something a bit different I ran part of the distance through the back lanes to avoid people.

Day 3:

After work I met Alexandra for a 2 mile run.

When I first met up with Alexandra, we decided to run one of our typical routes when I realized I forgot my home and work keys at the office. In order to get back to the office before the building was locked down for the weekend we turned around and headed toward my office. We ran faster than we normally do out of the sense of urgency and ended up having to run up two monster sized sets of stairs.

Right at the door of my office building, the alarm on my watch indicating we hit our 1 mile mark sounded. It was a perfect distance of 1 mile! We laughed. I got the keys and apologized a bunch of times. Then we headed back toward the seawall and ran to Alexandra’s car. Then we celebrated with an Italian dinner.

We broke our streak of 7/km range and hit 6:51/km!! I was still on a high about that by the time I went to bed.

Day 4:

Ran around the neighbourhood, tried a slightly different route. Added in an extra hill at the beginning and completed two more of my regular hills. Pushed myself hard knowing that the distance was short and 1 mile was all that I wanted to achieve. I ended up with 6:27/km pace. That means I cut yesterdays pace by 30 seconds. Who knew? I could feel while running that I was really pushing and I found that my lungs were pushed because I coughed for awhile after and felt dry. This pace will hopefully become my standard by the end of these 8 weeks.

The One Mile Challenge

I have completed a few 5K races and an 8K in the last 8 months. I am not particularly happy with my times and I am absolutely unsatisfied with my inability to continue training hard immediately after a race. Once I finish the race I take weeks off indulging in everything but running and – in some self-hating cycle I struggle to re-find motivation and begin the slow painful process of starting up again all to find that once I achieve the next goal I stop running, yet, again. This has become the pattern after achieving every single of my running goals.

As you can probably guess, I am using this blog in order to keep myself accountable, to record my progress and successes, and to try something new in attempt to lead me off the frustrating cycle.

I have my first 10k race scheduled for September 19. It is so far off – and I achieved my first 8K in March – that I figure, what’s another 2K, I can do it, no problem. Ha! Yeah right. I haven’t been consistently training since the completion of the 8K and know that I have really set myself back. Besides, I would like to get a decent finish time. I need these next 4 months to get that. At this point I don’t even know what time I would be capable of.

So, through out these next 4 months I will blog about a variety of smaller goals I plan on achieving through my training. I am still a beginner runner but I am at a point now where I really need to believe in myself and train at an intermediate effort. I need to push. I need to be committed. I need to start off with a challenge that seems daunting and prove to myself that I can.

First goal: to run, at minimum, one mile every single day for 8 weeks. One mile will not burn me out and it will not tire my body. I can push as hard or as little as I need to in order to achieve this level of commitment and consistency. So, on a day that I feel like my body needs a rest I will run at a slow and comfortable pace for a short mile. No big deal. At minimum of 3 times in a week I need to push hard on my pace and on distance. Last week, I finished a 6K at 7:30. So I am at a strong enough level to keep pushing forward.

Tomorrow starts the challenge. I will continue on running at least one mile per day for 8 consecutive weeks – which would bring me to July 15. At minimum, 3 times a week my distance needs to exceed the one mile distance.

I hope to see an increase in pace, distance (hopefully reach a smooth 10K by the end of the 8 weeks) and an increase in other areas of my fitness like flexibility and core strength.

This is the perfect goal because I know that it will be a real challenge to follow through. I will need serious commitment to run every single day. It won’t be easy – but I think it is really the push I need to bring me to the next level. Even if “the next level” doesn’t end up being my skill level; I know that something really worth it will come of this.