Tuesday, September 25, 2012

8k Running Race Training + iSmoothRun

Yesterday marked the official start of my 8k running race training.

8 kilometers = 4.97 miles.

I signed up for the Rothman Institute 8k race again this year (November 17); it's part of the Philadelphia Marathon weekend.  I did it last year for the first time.  Before then, then farthest I had ever run was two 5k races.  Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised with the race.  As I've said before, I hate cardio.  I dread it, I avoid it, I enjoy most things more than cardio, or more specifically I enjoy most things more than running.  The training for the 8k last year wasn't fun, but the race itself wasn't bad.  Thank you, dear adrenaline (and all the kind people who were out cheering)!  I was happy with my time last year (44:59, putting me at 9:03 min/mile), and realized I survived the distance, so I decided to try it again... with a goal of improving my time.  

This is all so that I can build towards running a 10k race.  I signed up for a 10k race last year but kept getting sick with silly colds/flu and wasn't able to train, so I had to skip it.  A 10k race is one of my life goals.  I know... it's not a very impressive life goal for most people.  It's not an Iron Man, it's not a marathon, it's not even a half marathon... it's about a quarter of a marathon (technically even slightly less).  To many people, that's a wimpy "life goal."  But to me, it's a challenge.  I don't feel the need to run any further than that.  I know a 10k is pushing myself but is do-able.  I just need to dedicate myself to training.  Could I make myself a goal of running a half marathon?  Sure.  But I hate running, so why torture myself more than I need to?  I make goals for myself, not for anybody else... so should you.  Do you have any goals that you are embarrassed to share because you think others may judge you? I'll admit, sometimes I'm embarrassed of my 10k goal, but other times, I realize it's 10 kilometers more than some people ever run, and for me, someone who has always hated cardio, 10k is really impressive!

For the 8k race, I'm following Hal Higdon's novice 8k training plan.  I used this plan last year also.  I like this training plan because it gradually builds up to the race distance and allows me to incorporate some strength training as well.  Yesterday, Monday, the official start of my training, was strength and stretching.  Today was the first day of running: 2 miles.  It's funny to think that before last year, 2 miles seemed like a lot to me!  After going through my 8k training last year, 2 miles is a nice easy run... I'm improving!  

I was exhausted today after staying up later than usual last night; therefore, when I got home, I was so close to skipping my 2 miles... but thought better of it (who wants to start out a quitter?!).  I changed my clothes and put on my shoes before I could think about it any more.  I think encouraging yourself to exercise may be one of the only times where it is a good plan to act before thinking.  

Luckily the weather was very nice this evening.  I ran around the city, following wherever the green lights took me, which made for a more interesting run.  I used my iPhone app, iSmoothRun, to tell me my distance and keep me updated on my pace.  I love this app!  I got it for free one day when there was a special app sale.  This app is great because it speaks to you as you run-- tells you your cadence, distance, average pace, and time.  You can set it up to do a "ghost run" where you race against a previously saved run.  It records the weather, your fastest song, and your split times.  It uses both GPS and accelerometer measurements to give you the most accurate reading of your distance (and even tells you your average stride length; mine was 3.72 ft today).  There is an auto-pause feature that automatically stops timing your run if you stop moving for a certain amount of time (you set the duration) and then resumes automatically when you start running.  You can also export your run to RunKeeper.  Basically, I can't say enough good things about this app and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a phone running app.  When it told me I was "half way to my goal," I turned around and started running back home.

In the end, I'm glad I forced myself to go for a run today.  I actually don't feel as exhausted as I did before.  Now it's time to figure out what to eat for dinner... suggestions are always welcome!      


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