9'/km

Jul. 3rd, 2015 05:09 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
I should get back into the habit of posting about every run I do, I find it motivating. But anyway, second half of June has been frustrating. I have had a couple of runs hovering around the 9'/km, which is ok but I was hoping to improve at least a bit now I'm back to regular running on hills.

Part of the reason I've plateau'd at the moment is that I'm only managing two-ish runs per week and I don't really improve unless I keep up 2½-3 runs a week. And part is that conditions have been horrible, sometimes on the edge of too cold for me even though it's June, and sometimes too hot and sticky. The worst is that at this time of year, especially in the evening, I keep breathing in tiny insects, blech.

So yes, I've done a few runs of 3.3 or 3.4 km in half an hour, and a few where I just couldn't finish, I did 20 minutes either as two sets of 10 with a walking break, or continuously but very slowly and completely unable to manage the last third. Today was a bit better, I wasn't pushing myself for speed but I felt comfortable rather than miserable throughout, and had no problem doing the full 30 minutes.

Of course today my Runkeeper app decided to be entirely useless. For one thing it couldn't find GPS properly, which is always annoying, but on top of that it was giving me nonsense data and telling me I was running 6½ minute kilometres, LOL. And it kept auto-pausing for no obvious reason. And it decided to give me timepoints at apparently random times and distances, instead of the five minutes and 1 km intervals I set it for. So it wasn't even useful for the audio cues to allow me to keep track of timings and keep motivated.

I couldn't even guess my final distance, because I managed to run past the local primary school just at hometime, so I took a shortcut through the student residences rather than trying to run through the milling crowds of parents and kids. So a slightly unfamiliar route and one with a bunch of twisty paths meaning I can't map it easily. I reckon it was somewhere around 3.4 km total, I would be surprised if it were substantially faster than that based on how it felt and how fast I was going for the parts I am familiar with. I mean, I know where the 1 km imaginary waypoint is, it happens to be at a corner, and I did that in under 9 minutes, so I at least started a tad faster than sometimes recently.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Well, I'm not quite managing my planned three runs a week, but I have done at least two each week since I declared bankruptcy and restarted my habit. Couple of runs in Cambridge where it's flat. I focused on running at a steady, sustainable pace and did one run at just over 8'/km and one at just under 8'/km, so that's pleasing. The most recent I got a real buzz, actually proper giggly endorphin high, too.

On the other hand, my three runs starting from my flat, which is on the top of a hill, have been hovering around 9'/km (one just over, two just under), and all have felt like really hard work. I have changed my route a bit so that instead of running out downhill and back uphill, I run a kind of 1 km radius figure of 8 round my starting point. I can't avoid the fact that I start out downhill and return uphill, as my flat is right at the top of a hill, but this way I more or less stay on the brow of the hill and have cut out the steepest part of the descent and climb in the middle.

Mostly I'm using my GPS watch, which I'm finding to be comfortable and useful. I forgot to bring it back with me this week, though, so I went back to using Runkeeper on my oversized smartphone. I generally prefer the watch; it has the downside that it doesn't give me a detailed breakdown of my minute-by-minute speed, but it's a lot less cumbersome and I really like the fact that I can glance at the display and see how fast I'm going or how much further I have to go. The problem is that it's quite frequently unreliable at picking up a GPS signal, which is annoying. Running with the phone in a bumbag was fine too, (apart from a panic when I forgot that I'd put my keys in the bumbag and not in the pocket of my leggings, as I usually do when I'm relying on the watch).
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
It wasn't really warm enough to run today, but it was the only time I could get in my third run this week, and it wasn't impossibly cold either. So I borrowed [personal profile] jack's big fleece jacket and ran along the river. It was hard going, and I managed by slowing myself down enough that my lungs weren't complaining too hard. At the moment my comfortable pace is about 8 1/2 minutes per km, so that's pretty much what I did, and fairly steadily throughout so I was getting something right. 3.6 km total.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
So, Monday I followed [personal profile] angrboda's example and tried a new route. A colleague (who is a serious runner who regularly runs marathons) said that he often goes for training runs down a certain minor road, 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. I hadn't registered the road as an option because from the end it just looks like a residential cul-de-sac, I didn't realize it went on for miles. It's about a mile of almost exactly perfect running road, tarmac'ed actual road but with almost no traffic once you get past the first handful of houses, since it just goes to a farmhouse. And it's along the brow of the hill so although not perfectly flat, it's not nearly as much downhill (forcing me to run uphill on the return leg) as my usual route. However, after a mile it turns into this kind of farm track thing, which is a public footpath (yay), but is muddy and uneven and uphill (boo). I'm guessing my amateur runner pal must do a fairly big cross-country section to take it to 20 minutes.

I think the best plan is going to be to run to the end of the road part and back, and finish the last mile or so by running along the first, relatively flat, section of my previous route (which starts from only 100 metres up the road from the end of this new road). This does mean a slightly awkward stretch running through a the busy village centre and across a multi-road junction, but that section is short, and the combined route would also allow me a full 5K without having to run along the side of a busy road or more than a few metres uphill.

I basically wasn't running at all in the middle section along the farm track, just kind of scrambling through the mud. It wasn't impassable, just you have to figure out where you can safely put your feet, which is obviously really slow. And even the nice flat bit along the ridge I didn't take very fast, partly because it's a new route, and partly because it was on the edge of too cold for my lungs and I wasn't doing brilliantly with breathing. So I only made 3.3 km overall in half an hour, but at least I've discovered a new and possibly better route for future runs.

Whereas today it was definitely too cold and I didn't get away from work before it was starting to get dark, so I dragged myself to the gym and put in 5K at 7.2 kph on the treadmill. Fairly easy, again the main impediment was boredom, in spite of the Zombies, Run! podcast. This time the background music in the gym was less loud, which did help, but I think also my real problem is not so much that I can't hear the dialogue as that I can't hear the specific voice actor who plays Archie, and she was a central character in the previous episode. I couldn't hear her in this episode either but I could hear everybody else, so was much better able to follow the plot.

That gave me a time of 41'46'', and reasonable confidence that I'll be able to manage 7.5 kph on the treadmill soon, even if it takes me a few tries.

Outdoors!

Oct. 18th, 2014 05:30 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Today, happily coinciding with the rare occasion of having the whole day free, has been one of those lovely autumn warm spells. So instead of having to drag myself to the gym I got to run outside in the sunshine with a gentle breeze and all the lovely autumn colours.

It was a pretty good run, too. I managed nearly all of it at a pace of under 8'/km, meaning that I beat my PR over 30 minutes by running 3.9 km in the first half hour. I slowed down a bit for the final km or so, giving me a total time of 40'17'', but still my second best time. Since I had plenty of time and didn't mind walking home, I took the downhill route along the disused railway.

I was working hard the whole time to maintain that pace, but I was running pretty steadily for at least three quarters of the run, rather than starting out too fast. So I feel pretty good about myself. Sometimes the winter season has upsides, when the chance to run outside gets to be a special treat like this.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
There was actually no feasible way for me to run last week, but I'm still annoyed I didn't make it. This week hasn't been much better. I went out this evening after work, and it was already starting to get dark, knowing that was going to be the last possible chance to leave time for a second run and quite likely the only chance I'm going to get to run at all this week.

It was fairly grim, it was really too cold to run (though the last half hour before sunset was about the warmest part of the day). I was on the edge of asthma, and maybe I shouldn't have pushed myself to complete the run. But I did complete it, even if it was at 9'/km with a lot of wheezing. I'm glad I was able to keep running slowly rather than giving up.

It's a bit discouraging, I feel like I'm back at the stage of weeks 5-8 of the original C25K programme, barely dragging myself through running for 30 minutes continuously, and no faster than I was two years ago. But if I'm reasonable that's because I have asthma and my lungs can't cope with cold air, not because I haven't actually improved in two years.

I really, really need to join the gym again. I've been putting it off because Freshers' week is a pretty bad time to join the gym, and because I don't want to admit I've got months of treadmill time ahead of me. But during the autumn term I'm basically never free to run during daylight hours and it's almost always going to be too cold at night.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
I'm still running pretty regularly, just have been forgetting to update here. Which is silly, cos the community's in a lovely active phase lately and I'd like to join in with that.

I'm really struggling at the moment with starting out too fast, and getting tired, not so much that I can't go on at all, but enough that I'm getting slower and slower over the run and ending up with a slower average time than I know I'm capable of.

Last Sunday I did 5k along the river from our place in Cambridge. Total time was 41'20'' but basically I was doing 8½' /km or a bit over pretty much the whole way, apart from the first km which I ran in under 7½ minutes. Thursday I ran on the hilly route near campus. A friend called me just as I was setting out to warm up, so I ended up walking along chatting to her, and starting the run about half way along my normal route. So I ran downhill along the railway, and I did the first 20 minutes at a pretty sensible pace, well under 8½ ' /km. Only I just lost it over the last km and nearly ground to a halt, ending with only 3.5 km in 30 minutes.

And today, back in Cambridge, I literally just got slower and slower and slower over the course of the run. First 2km in under 15 minutes (!), next 2 km in 17 minutes and that was a struggle, and the last km, when I normally speed up cos I know the end is in sight, took more than 9 minutes, so 42 minutes overall. I honestly didn't think I was going that fast at the start, I was surprised when Runkeeper gave me the times. And I just found the whole thing really hard, not physically, but psychologically, I was constantly fighting the impulse to just give up and walk, even though my lungs and my legs were basically fine. Even when I only had three minutes to go, I was stuck in a slough of "don't wanna!

I'm thinking I might turn on Runkeeper settings to give me a bit more feedback, maybe more frequent time-checks or perhaps setting a goal pace. My main aim at the moment is to improve my fitness, only secondarily to improve my running technique, so it doesn't matter too much if I rely on the gadget to help me with pacing.

And as of today I have been running regularly every week for 2 years, so that's something to be proud of.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
So since the really good run when I smashed my records, I've had a few not-great runs, but it definitely does feel like I'm managing 8½ '/km now even when it's a less than perfect run.

5 km on Saturday starting from our new house, which is about a mile from the river and there's no really good route. Apart from it being unfamiliar there's a couple of big roads and lots of little roads to cross. So I was pleased with a time of under 42 minutes overall.

Tuesday my lungs were just not cooperating, I felt like I couldn't breathe deeply or find a good rhythm at all. So I decided I couldn't face running uphill and carried on down along the railway. 3.6 km in 30 minutes, just barely and even running downhill which should in theory be a bit faster. But at least I had time to walk the couple of miles home, probably the last time this year it'll be light late enough.

And today was better than Tuesday but still not particularly great. Another 3.6 km in 30 minutes, this time reasonably comfortably and including the mile+ uphill section. I really need to join a gym again, I think, I'm not going to be able to run after work for much longer.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Not surprisingly, the first run after breaking my records was so-so. I had a hard time motivating myself to leave the house and run, and also a hard time finding a good rhythm, so it felt like unpleasantely hard work throughout. I think I'm possibly still a bit stiff from Sunday, though normally a rest-day between runs is plenty for recovery.

It was a nice sunny day, I managed 3.6 km in 30 minutes, down to the river at Mitcham's Corner and then along the Cam. I think part of the relatively slow run is because of faffing about crossing the big junction. Anyway, I will keep going, and it's good that I'm still breaking 3.5 km on what feels like a less-good day.

Milestone

Sep. 8th, 2014 10:52 am
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Finally finally finally, I don't know how long I've been edging towards this and not quite making it, certainly over a year, I actually ran 5km in under 40 minutes yesterday. I am absolutely over the moon about this, I was starting to think I'd never ever hit the "beginner" pace of 8'/km.

Thursday I went for my usual regular run near campus, the second half of which is uphill. It wasn't great, I was struggling for much of it, and just barely scraped 3.5 km in 30 minutes. Then Sunday I very nearly didn't get out at all, it was very tempting to say we were too busy packing for our big housemove on Wednesday. But [personal profile] jack encouraged me, pointing out that an hour's break and some exercise would do us good.

We ran along the west bank of the Cam northwards from Penny Ferry, a route that's pretty much all straight, paved path along the river so probably easier than any of my other regular routes. No traffic, no awkward junctions, most especially no hills. And I set out with the aim to keep up a steady pace, and was getting time checks from Runkeeper telling me I was going faster than I have for a while, but wasn't feeling exhausted or as if I was over-stretching myself. 2 km in under 16 minutes... halfway point under 20 minutes... exceeded my PR with 3.8 km in 30 minutes. And I was able to keep that pace for the last 10 minutes back to the car, meaning I actually finished the whole distance in under 40 minutes, woohoo!

It wasn't perfectly steady, the first km or so was faster than I thought I'm capable of, then I got gradually (but only slightly) slower and slower over the middle section, and I did speed up for the last 500m to make sure to hit that round number target. Still, I was pretty close to the intended 8'/km for most of the run.

I've been promising myself that if I ever managed 40 minutes I would start signing up for parkruns and charity 5K races. And that I'd give myself a present of something better at measuring my scores than my over-sized smartphone. I am thinking probably one of the newer Fitbits, but maybe even a GPS watch.

I think my next goal has got to be 7½' /km, which would mean improving my times to 4 km in 30 minutes and 37.5 minutes 5K. I think I do have more in me, though; Sunday I felt like I was limited more by the strength of my legs than by my lungs and I generally find that improving the muscular power of my legs goes faster than improving my cardiovascular fitness.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
[personal profile] liv
Had a couple of weeks where I couldn't feasibly run, and was aiming to get started again this week. I was a bit procastinatey and my original plan of Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday or Monday-Wednesday-Friday has turned into running on Monday and today only, but with luck I will manage a third run at the weekend.

Monday [personal profile] jack and I encouraged eachother to go out in the typical bank holiday weather, and I did a gentle 5K along the Cam from Chesterton to Fen Ditton and back, where it's all paved. The rain was mostly not heavy enough to be unpleasant, though I was a bit scared of running on slippery ground. In fact it was fine except when a cyclist came up behind me suddenly and in trying to swerve to avoid him I kind of skidded on the edge of the path and landed awkwardly on my ankle. I carried on with the run, which may not have been the wisest decision but I was pretty sure that it was just a jolt and I hadn't actually done any injury. Anyway between that and having been off for a couple of weeks, I took things gently and made a steady pace of just under 9'/ km throughout, 44'09'' for the 5K.

My ankle was noticeably swollen on Tuesday, and still a bit iffy yesterday, but seems perfectly fine now. Today I went for a short run at lunchtime and discovered that either the time off or the tail end of a cold has depleted my ability to run uphill. So it was a struggle to complete today's run even at 9'/ km, whereas on the flat that is getting to feel like a pace I can keep up indefinitely. So 3.4 km in 30 minutes, which isn't great in terms of speed but a slow, effort-requiring run is much much better for reestablishing my habit than no run at all.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
For once a lunchtime run worked better with my schedule than an evening one; luckily it's cloudy enough that it wasn't too boiling hot. Still focusing on keeping a steady pace and paying attention to the fastest that my lungs can manage without spasming. I'm pleased with this run, I managed 3.7 km in 30 minutes, which equals the fastest I've ever managed and is definitely a PR for the route that's half uphill. And I was only a little bit faster on the downhill part than the uphill, I think I'm getting to the point where I can slow down about the right amount, especially if I focus more on my body and less on trying to go as fast as possible.

That's a pace of 8'11'' /km, so I'm maybe going to hit that magic 8' km target some time this millennium... (Everybody says of beginner friendly events like Parkrun that it's perfectly fine if you can "only" run 8'/km, so I've been trying for over a year to get to that beginner level, and now I feel I'm nearly there. I'm pretty sure I can do 8'/km on the flat, but not for more than about 10-15 minutes at a time.)

Runkeeper gave me some really weird data, with the chart completely nonsensical but the overall time and splits corresponding with what I guessed based on familiarity with the route. So I think that is a genuine 3.7 km, or only a few 10s of metres off if it's wrong.

5K PR

Aug. 6th, 2014 09:21 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
I couldn't face running uphill this evening, so I continued on along the railway instead of turning round at the halfway point. This has the downside that I end up about 2 miles from home at the bottom of a big hill, but the upside that the second half of the run is much nicer than the first.

I kept a steady pace of almost exactly 8½' / km throughout, giving me an overall time of 42'40'', about half a minute faster than my previous PR. Actually improving is so gratifying, let me tell you!
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Started out quite a bit too fast, then slowed way down for the second half. Overall just scraped 3.6 km in 30 minutes, which means I didn't lose out too much by going too fast early on, but I can do the same with less effort if I stick to a steady pace. Technically that's my fastest ever 1 km, in under 7½ minutes, but I'm not sure if that counts when the second km was over 9 minutes...
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
At the weekend I went on a glorious hike across the Shropshire hills, and being fit meant that just about all of it was fun and very little of it was a grind. It's nice to have a tangible reward for making myself get out and run three times a week.

I took yesterday as a rest day after that intense hike, and set out for my run today. For no reason I know of, my lungs decided to kick up a fuss. So I went slowly, taking care not to set off asthma. 3.4 km in 30 minutes.

Well, they always say not to over-analyse bad runs. So, on to the next.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Last night I waited as long as I could for the temperature to get cooler but while the evening was light enough for running, which is a bit of a narrow window, but at least it wasn't too boiling hot and there was a pleasant breeze. I was aiming to keep at a steady pace of about 8½'' / km, which I didn't quite manage, I was quite a bit faster than that for the first half and quite a bit slower for the uphill stretch. But I did manage 3.6 km in 30 minutes, which is the fastest I've ever managed on this hilly route.

And I did the first 2 km (basically halfway, before I turn round and run back uphill) in under 16 minutes. That I think is the first time I've definitively managed 8''/km, my eventual goal pace which I've been working towards asymptotically since I started this running regime, over a substantial distance. I think I could probably keep that up for half an hour if there weren't pesky hills in the way, but it's still going to take some work to manage that 40 minute 5K.

I feel reasonably good about this. It wasn't one of those rare brilliant runs where I feel like I'm flying or like I could go on forever, and I wasn't trying to "race", I was aiming for a slightly faster steady pace than last time I tried to do a steady pace run. I think I was at about 80% of maximum effort throughout, which is to say that I never felt it was a struggle to go on, but by the time I got to the last five minutes I didn't have much left in the tank to try to speed up for the final stretch in order to get a better time. So I'm not celebrating the fact that I went a tiny bit faster than I have before, I'm celebrating the fact that I'm getting better at paying attention to my body and pacing myself sensibly.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
That was a run. It was warm but not unbearably boiling, and I did my usual route, neither particularly well nor particularly struggling. I managed 2.4 km in the first 20 minutes, but came in jusssst short of 3.6 km in 30 minutes. I coped ok with the hills, slowed down but didn't feel it was painful to keep going. Runkeeper glitched a bit at the beginning but I assumed that I did 0.6 km in the first five minutes, since I managed 0.6 km in each of the next three 5 minute time bands.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Went running with [personal profile] jack along the West side of the Cam, from Chesterton towards Waterbeach. It is very very hot, so I tried to keep a steady pace and not push myself too much, though in fact I started out a bit too fast. Still, I ran over half the distance at under 8.5'/km, slowed down a bit towards the end but still came in at just over 43 1/2 minutes. My PR is 43'15'' and that was a long time ago, so this seemed like a pretty good run.

New shoes

Jul. 17th, 2014 07:56 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
I bought new running shoes at the weekend. Brooks Defyance [sic], which are basically very similar to my old running shoes (made from the same mould, apparently), but with somewhat less gait correction. Now that I have in fact managed to run 150 times in the year and a half since I first bought fancy shoes, I'm reasonably convinced that specialist running shoes are acceptable value for money.

Today was my first attempt running in them. They are neither miraculously better than my old shoes, nor uncomfortable due to being stiff and new or because of the lower amount of support. I was trying to run at a steady pace rather than pushing myself to break my PR. I struggled with motivation, even though there was nothing obviously physically wrong, I just felt out of sorts. I ended up taking a couple of walking breaks during the last quarter of my uphill mile, I just couldn't make myself keep running. Looking back at my charts it looks as if I maybe did too well with the steady thing; I didn't appreciably slow down for the uphill section, so it's perhaps not surprising that I ran out of energy by the end of it.

Total only 3.3 km in 30 minutes, but that's mainly because of the wobbly bit in the middle.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
Ran along the Cam at lunchtime today. I see what [personal profile] rmc28 means about it being too hot for running; I found it very hard to motivate myself to keep going even though there was nothing wrong with my legs or lungs. I just got gradually slower and slower through the 30 minutes, but eventually made what for me is a respectable time of 3.5 km in that time.

buying sports clothes is hard when you're fat )
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