Monday, February 25, 2013

Pushing myself to run faster

On Saturday I brought The Roommie on a run with me and she kicked my butt! I've been somewhat faithfully following Couch to 10k and I'm on Week Four now, which is a recovery week. The running interval was only two minutes with a two minute walking rest afterwards and I only had to repeat it five times. So it didn't look too hard on paper. In reality, though, I was exhausted.

The Roommie weighs 30 pounds less than I do and is three inches taller. She's generally in better shape and doesn't mind suffering while running, but hates to push herself when biking. So when we ride our bikes I smoke her, but during a run I struggle to keep up.

Saturday was no different. She was always several steps in front of me and probably could've gone even faster but didn't want to lose me. While I usually hate following people when I exercise, this was actually really good because it pushed me to run faster. I was definitely uncomfortable during every single one of the running intervals, but that's how it should be. I need to push myself so I can eventually get faster and I haven't been able to do that on my own for several weeks now. It's much easier to settle into a slow trot.

We ended the run with a 10:17 min/mile average which is significantly faster than I've been able to run by myself. This also showed me that I can run at a quicker pace than I think I can and more importantly, that I can hold it for more than 30 seconds.

This translated to the strategy for today's run as well because I ran to the same point of exhaustion as Saturday (not a full sprint but I could definitely feel it in my lungs) and was able to hold it for the whole two minute interval. It also helped to have three minutes to recover after each running interval because I could go a lot harder and maintain the pace throughout the whole workout.

The next run is going to be a beast: Three minutes running, one minute walking, nine times, which translates to 27 minutes of actual running. I haven't gone that long since November 2010 so I'm not going to be using the pushing myself strategy of the past few days. Instead, I will focus on maintaining a decent pace (11 min/mile) and holding it for the whole run interval. This way I won't hate myself by the time run number five rolls around, which is what happened several weeks ago and nearly caused me to quit running altogether.

The second day of each week is generally an easier day so I'll work on increasing speed during those runs by pushing myself, while focusing on simply getting through the hard first day of the week runs.

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