Some thoughts on running

If we’re friends on Facebook, you probably know I’ve been running. I don’t remember if I’ve posted about it here in my blog before, but probably not in a long time anyway.

I’ve stopped and started running, mostly using the Couch to 5k program, a few times over the past couple of years. Last fall I even came within a week or two of completing the full 9-weeks before falling off the wagon. I started running regularly again in mid-October of this year, getting my butt out of bed before 5:00 and taking the dog with me. I’ve had my ups and downs, but when I’ve fallen down I’ve brushed myself off and gotten back up again.

I’ve been using the Runkeeper app on my phone, and for the most part it’s very reliable. The only problem I’ve noticed is that when it’s foggy (or maybe just overcast), the GPS doesn’t work too well. Since I use MapMyRun.com to map my route beforehand, this isn’t really that big a deal to me. Instead of strictly following Couch to 5k this go ’round, I chose one of the Runkeeper fitness plans for 5k training. I liked it for a while – it had more variety than Couch to 5k and was more distance-based than time-based. (The Couch to 5k plan ends with you being able to run for 30 minutes straight – that’s definitely an accomplishment, but that’s not a 5k for me at this point.) However, you lose the intervals most days, and I really need those intervals to keep me going. The days that do have intervals just increase the number of short intervals rather than having you run for longer intervals. (I’m aware that there are *tons* of training plans on Runkeeper – I can only comment on the one I’ve tried.)

So, I’ve come up with an alternative. I’m going back to the Couch to 5k model, but I’m customizing it for my needs. I don’t need to start over at the beginning, since I can already go 2-2.5 miles alternating running/walking. So I’m starting at week 3, which is: run 1.5 minutes, walk 1.5 minutes, run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes. Instead of just doing two repeats and calling it a day, I’m going to repeat it for 2 miles (which today was 4 repeats). Instead of changing it up each week, I’m going to continue with this interval plan, increasing my distance as I feel comfortable, until I’m doing 5k. Then I’ll move to what would be the next week of Couch to 5k. At that point, I’ll reevaluate.

Today’s run was really good. I was a little wary, as it’s cold this week. When I saw that it was 33 degrees when I got up this morning, I braced myself but didn’t chicken out. It was cold (very cold!), but it felt amazing. It’s still dark when I run, and it was perfectly clear this morning. I even saw a shooting star (part of the Geminids which will peak tomorrow night, I’m sure). I was actually looking forward to running early Friday morning in hopes of catching a nice meteor shower, but the forecast is for cloudy skies. Bummer. Maybe the forecast will be wrong!

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