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.