Last month, I posted about getting started with a post-pregnancy exercise routine. Getting started was truly the hardest part. Once I got started, I didn’t want to stop. The last four weeks I’ve gotten into a good groove and am finding my stride.
I’ve been focusing on running more than any other workout. I was so hesitant about running outside in the winter, but I’ve been loving it. It helps that this is such a mild winter. Many days it’s been in the 50s and feels more like spring than winter!
One thing I’ve learned is that getting back into running shape is hard. It’s not like I can just strap on the running shoes and expect to be able to run as fast or far as I once could. Progress takes time. And miles. You have to put in the miles before you will get where you want to be.
For a few weeks, I simply ran for as long as my schedule allowed (usually 30-40 minutes). I didn’t know how far I was running; I had no clue what pace. I just ran. And it felt good.
Then thoughts of running a race this spring started creeping in, and I realized I should figure out where my fitness level was and get a little more serious about training. Since I have a birthday coming up, I told Tim I wanted a Garmin running watch. I thought it would be helpful to be able to keep track of how far and fast I was running.
His response was why spend $250 when you can get the same thing in a $2.00 app for your iPhone. I researched some apps and couldn’t find a reason to disagree with him. Am I missing something here? I guess the difference would be that serious runners don’t want to have to run with an iPhone, right? I’m not that serious of a runner.
So I downloaded the Nike+gps app. I’m not sure if it’s 100% accurate, but I love this app. I get voice feedback after every mile I run telling me the pace I’m at, it keeps a history of my runs and routes, and just has a ton of great features.
Mostly it’s given me the motivation I need to start running faster. My first run with it I was shocked to learn I averaged a 10:19 mile pace. Wait, what?!
Please know that if that is your regular pace, I mean no disrespect nor do I want to come across as condescending. But for me, that is slow. I’m sure I mentioned before that I ran college track. Even though I wasn’t a distance runner, 10 minute mile pace was considered warm up and cool down pace, not actual workout pace.
Since college I’ve run a number of road races and my times were always respectable. I’m still a sprinter at heart and not a distance runner, but I know that pace is below my ability when I’m in good shape. Which I clearly am not.
Since that first run with the new app about two weeks ago, I’ve consciously tried to pick up my pace a little more with each run. My average is down to around 9:45. Better, but still not where I want to be. Patience.
Even though I have the motivation of fitting into my clothes better again, I am the type of person who needs something to work towards. I don’t do well with just exercising for the sake of exercising. With that in mind, I signed up for the Flying Pig 10K race in Cincinnati this May.
Having a race on the calendar will keep me motivated to continue running and trying to improve my pace and distance. I settled on Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 10k training program, which I’ll start next week. I went back and forth between using his intermediate or advanced program, but in the end I needed to be realistic about my current fitness level and time available. I’m simply not at the level I need to be at to do the advanced program, even if I feel like I should be able to do it.
I think the intermediate program is a good fit for where I’m at right now. I’ll keep you updated as to how the training goes. It’s been a long time since I’ve trained for and ran a road race; I hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew!