Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Training for a 10k, and pondering a half marathon

I haven't posted about fitness in a while.  After my 30-day boot camp trial, I went on vacation, and then when I returned I focused on running.  I'll do a post on boot-camp soon, but here's a little about my current endeavor:

The nerdy part
I've read three running books cover to cover now, and parts of two more.  I feel like I'm getting a pretty good handle on views on running.  And it basically comes down to two camps:  The Running Runner Runners camp believes that the more you run the better (40 miles a week? Great!  What?  You only run 40 miles a MONTH?  Well, then you're not really a runner...), and the Everything in Moderation camp believes that running three days a week is perfect, maybe four.   The Running Runner Runners camp believes in the value of strength training - when done on the same day as a run and completely focused on muscles that will be helpful for running - and believes in the value of cross-training - when it happens to be the elliptical or pool running, because that's what cross-training is, right?  Another variation on running?  The Everything in Moderation camp takes a bit of a broader view on strength training and cross-training.

Even though it clearly comes from the Running Runner Runners camp, this book had a lot of very helpful tips in it:
This book is obviously for after you've read the beginner books (or gotten the key points summary from me :) ) and actually started running.

I fall squarely in the Everything in Moderation camp.

But that said, I definitely see the charm in running long long distances, and often.  There's something really soothing about running.  And there's something incredibly rewarding about the constant improvement - knowing that your body can just jog on and on and on or working to get there.

I've also learned a little about funny little things like running belts, hydration systems, sport sunglasses, and GU.

My current training
The latest phase in my running life started after I came back from our fabulous vacation in early September, and I started preparing for the 10k that's coming up in 2 weeks.  I started reading more, and started a program of basically: 1 stroller jog per week, 1 "long run" per week, and 1 intense/speed run per week.  Each one is different, and each one helps me get fit in a different way.  I figure the combination is good for me.  As I read more, I concluded that this intuitive training approach was pretty much spot on, but there were some nice ways to fine-tune it.  How much do I increase the distance on my "long run" every week?  What types of intense/speed runs should I do?  etc.

SO, here's the plan I'm using:

Sunday: Stroller jog pushing the double jogging stroller.  Typically 2.5-3 miles at a conversational pace (since I'm with my running buddy and her daughter, and all 5 of us are conversing!  LOL.  It's a party on the run.  We often make people running in the other direction smile.  :) )

Monday: Upper body strength training  (21 DFX or P90X3), possibly with some additional core-focused stuff

Tuesday: Long run - "long" run started at about 4 miles and increased by about a 1/2 mile each week.  Ideally you want to increase weekly mileage by no more than 10% a week to minimize the chances of injury (giving your body a chance to grow stronger to keep up with your increasing demands on it).  

Wednesday: Yoga (21 DFX, P90X3 or Piyo)

Thursday: Random - sometimes upper-body, sometimes pilates, sometimes yoga, sometimes a rest day  (21 DFX, P90X3 or Piyo)

Friday: Speed run - typically 2.5 miles with varying speed workouts like:
- From the running books: (warm up well) 1 minute run really fast, 1 minute jog slow to recover, repeat  (cool down well)
- From the running books: (warm up well) "fartlek," aka "speed play:" run pretty darn fast until a specific point ahead that I choose, run slow to recover until I feel relatively recovered, run fast until a new point that I choose, etc.  (cool down well)
- And NOT from the running books but still fun, inspired by my hubby who said "Just run fast and keep going": (warm up well) run fast for as long as I can, walk to recover because, oh man, a slow jog just isn't going to cut it, jog the rest of the way  --> This is a fun one for a beginner like me because I think sometimes we beginners don't even know how fast we can run.  This one helps us figure that out.

Saturday: rest day (or really "playing with the kids so quasi-resting" day)

To half-marathon or not to half-marathon
I'm up to a 5-6 mile run for my "long run" and I can do that comfortably with my fabulous running buddy.  Now that I've realized that we're basically half way through a half-marathon training program, I admit I am toying with the idea of trying one of those.  But that certainly violates the Everything in Moderation approach.  It would require longer runs, up to 10 miles, and that is starting to get pretty darn long.  That's a lot of pounding for the joints to take, and a lot of stress for the tendons, ligaments, etc., to bear.  While I'd certainly work my way up gradually, each body has only so much it can truly take, and I'd be risking going over my own body's limit (which luckily I have not hit yet).  Plus my wonderful running buddy wouldn't join me for a 1/2 marathon, and 10 miles without her might be pretty boring!  :)

AND, our recent 5k 
In the midst of this 10-k training, my friends and I ran a second 5k.  I ran it in 29:22!  It was a goal of mine, but I wasn't wedded to it, to do the 5k in under 30 minutes.  And I certainly did.  Some time next summer, I want to do a 5k in under 28.  I think I can do that.  (And let's just say that in my head there may be some even more aggressive "after that" goals... ;) )  If there were a local 5k in December to sign up for, I'd be signing up for that. 

For our 10k, my only goal is to run the whole thing.  I don't have any time goal in mind.  I'm going to stick with my friends' pace, and have fun - and wave at the kiddos and hubby when I run past the house (the 10k route goes right by)!  That's the goal.  :)

A lot of people take up running to lose weight.  From everything I've read, that's really not a good idea.  Here's why:
  1. You want to lose most of the excess weight before you start running, because the pounding on your joints will be much worse if you are heavier.  Walking is great, but when running the impact on your joints is roughly 8 times your weight (I've seen quotes of anywhere from 4 to 12).  An extra 50 lbs means an extra 400 lbs of force on your knees and ankles.  Not good. 
  2. Your hunger urges will go up, probably more than the extra calories you are burning.  This is particularly true for women.  So if you eat to satisfy hunger - you'll end up gaining weight.
  3. There is a psychological effect that people often feel like they can eat more, especially more starchy carbs and more junky sugary food, because they are running.  Some of the starchy carbs are good, but a lot, and certainly the sugary stuff, is not.  
That said, guess what my results have been so far?  Well, I've gained weight.  I'm up about 3 lbs.  BUT, my body fat percentage went down!  I've gained muscle!  And lost fat!  I am eating more total, more healthy fat, more healthy carbs, and more dessert foods with basically no nutritional value whatsoever.  But I guess between the running and the strength training that I've maintained, my body has been able to put a lot of those extra calories to good use.  

SO, despite everything I read, maybe running is good for *fat* loss?  At least when part of a well-rounded fitness routine?  Maybe.

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