The Goal

Well it happened. After not being active for most of the year, due to a variety of reasons excuses it is official; I have gained a few unwanted pounds and I am not nearly as fit or in shape and I need to be. This is a good time to make this discovery, since it is summer, and the weather is great, and I have some vacation time, and for some reason I am feeling quite motivated.

So I was re-reading one of my favorite running advice books by Bruce Van Horn (@BruceVH), You Can Go the Distance, and thought back on my recent start and stop attempts to stay active and the number one reason I could identify as a cause for the failure was not setting a goal. In my distant past I was involved in training for a variety of marathons, half-marathons and either a Triathlon series or a number of established summer Triathlon races. I was continually focused on preparation, race, recover. When I stopped doing those while I maintained my fitness and health through various activity, time catches up and as I recently discovered, I need to get back into a regular routine that can be maintained. This is where Bruce’s book comes in. While it is not the first chapter, it clearly is the first action step, set a goal. I have done this. There is an upcoming local event in November that is a 10 miler, and that seems like a great goal distance. The run is more of a fun run and that is about all I am looking for now.

The next step is to develop a plan and I am working on that. I am also happy to say that I have mapped out some courses for my regular runs. Today I mapped one that is 5K, 2.5K out and back, and I set a goal of 30 minutes and ran a good negative split and completed in 28:48.

I have been talking about running this event for about 8 months now, and to put it down in this blog, and taking the time to develop a plan and build my base will help me to meet my goal.

If you are looking for a good book to kick start or help motivate your running check out Bruce’s book, and check him out on Twitter @BruceVH.

Next time: The Plan

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Two in a row

Another beautiful day and so once again, I planned my day so that I would have a chance to hit the road. I looked for a couple of excuses to not go running but in the end I was dressed and out the door. My goal was to run the same course but to try to have a longer sustained time running before any walking.

As soon as I was down the stairs and out the door I knew that it was going to be fun and tough. I felt good as a jogged away and then I turned north, the “out” direction and ran straight into a pretty serious headwind. There was absolutely no relief and nothing to do but just go. Running into a headwind is never fun and in the first few minutes I had to remember to keep breathing.  Also the temperature was probably 5 to 7 degrees cooler today. Coupled with the wind I was already counting my steps and chanting, and remembering my posture.

I arrived at the turnaround and kept running, and now with a good tailwind, I was able to focus on form and I just kept going. I put in a sustained run of nearly 35 minutes today, and then walked/jogged about 5 more and then finished up with about 7 more minutes of running straight back to the start. Goal met.

I am not a big fan of out and back courses, but without too many choices outside my door, I will have to learn to like this one. It won’t be too difficult since if the weather is right I have a view of Mt. Fuji for nearly the entire run. It was a bit hazy today, but I was able to see Fuji-san on my way back and that kept me motivated.

Next goal – run again tomorrow!

Back on the road…

I went for a run today and it has been quite a while since I have done this. I have not been inactive, but I have not sought activity. I have all the good excuses too. Moved, changed jobs, stress, weather, tired, too busy, on and on and on, but MAN did it feel good today to put a few miles under my feet. Not that my routines for the past few years has been any better, but this is the first time in about 6 years where other than a short daily walk, and a few stairs, and my usual calisthenics that I have not been putting in either some road work or stair work.

We are once again living in a tower and now on the 7th floor, so one more than before, but I am not a fan of the stairs in this building. They seem a bit too steep and are quite dirty compared to the ones in the last building. However the area here is quite flat and there is a pedestrian path so road work is a viable option.

So today I finished my short task list and with absolutely no excuses left, I suited up and was out the door. My goal was for 60 minutes and I made that. I did not run that entire time, but I did a 25 minute section, and then put in some walk/run periods, a short fartlek section and then finished up with another 15 minutes of sustained running to finish off. I am not sure of the distance yet, and probably won’t be too concerned with that yet.

I need to make this a regular part of my day, and will have to just make it happen. The first step will be to run again tomorrow.

Spring 15

It looks like the seasons are changing, hello spring! And I am hoping to be outside more with longer days, but no matter what those stairs are there in their climate controlled location just outside my door. I have been hitting them more regularly and not just to run, but choosing to take them rather than the elevator. Every little bit helps. I still refuse to obsess over steps or to give into the technology to map my runs, or measure every workout to post. Old school blog and a spreadsheet that I occasionally update is all I have.

I have never really been into logging my workouts. I tried it when I was really active in triathlons but I never finished filling out the log books I bought. Now, I have dedicated myself to working out for at least 30 minutes a day, but my gauge is how I am feeling. If I am still “too” sore, or tired, I skip a day, or try something different. Age, wisdom, experience all combined. I would rather miss a day or two than to have an injury of any kind.

So, looking out my window and the weather is looking fine and I am thinking I need to hit the pavement for a good run. Open it up a bit. That is one thing I can’t always get on the stairs. There is not much room to really stride without skipping steps, and the worry is always there of a possible trip. I recently began to include a short jog outside at the end of my stairs routine. This has helped, but I am looking forward to a good long run.

And if the weather decides to change before I can get out the door…..well the stairs are still there.

Shoes

This is a subject that is near, dear and real for runners of all shapes and sizes. What shoes are the best, the best for me, the best for training, racing, wearing to the mall…..

When I began thinking about this post, I was planning a full on journey of my shoes from my Montgomery Wards days, to my latest and greatest pair. I was going to try to find pictures to go with it, but I am not really that deeply involved with this blog to go to that trouble. And trouble it would be. I tried to remember a few of my favorites from high school and even finding a good picture takes some time. Time that I was not really interested in devoting.

I will say that I began to get serious about running in the early 1990’s. I purchased a couple pairs of totally different running shoes, from different companies, because they were cool, and new. I also read a few running magazines and tried to learn more about my style and if I was a pronator, under or over pronator, or neutral. In one of the articles the author said he ran mostly in cheap light weight runners from discount stores. He also said that racing flats were good for just about anyone and that all the motion control and cushioning were not really that necessary, or words to that effect. I remember that I took his words to heart and have followed that advice to a great extent. I ran two marathons (sub 4hr) and numerous 5, 10, and half-marathons in running flats, or at least neutral lightweight type shoes.

I remember I did purchase a pair of shoes that I found out had significant motion control devices built in, and after about 4 runs, my left knee hurt and I took them back. I only bought them because they looked cool!

I am not really a fan of the extreme minimalist, barefoot shoes, but like them more than the over cushioned counterparts.

I still try to have two pairs of shoes for running, but now I try to keep them the same brand and style. One I wear exclusively for running and working out, and one I wear casually or for working out as needed.

Next up – a workout update and my take on music and running.

Next up – a workout update and my take on music and running.

Seriously, its already September?

I cannot believe that it has been since July that I actually sat down and wrote a bit about my fitness and (lack of) running. I have continued with my regular routine of 100 push-ups, and 100 sit-ups daily, but I have not been able to sustain my biking or running. I have enjoyed a few runs and rides since July, but nothing much to speak of. I wish that I would have gotten one or more runs in with my daughter, and I am looking forward to a run or two with my son the next time I see him. He is currently running about 6.5 minute miles and that is a fun pace! 

I should probably create a routine and write a book or seriously publish some article about my 100 and 100 routine. It is simple and highly modifiable but the benefits are huge. Core and back workout and when done properly there is very little strain on your body. 

Well, it is September and I am walking regularly now. I am hoping to get a set time for runs and rides established for the weekends. Perhaps it will be that I have to wake up early on the weekend to make it happen. 

Until then……

Summer Running and fitness

Since mid-May I have been actively running and generally working to increase my level of fitness. I have begun to log my activity in a spreadsheet log and made strong efforts to engage in mild weight lifting, body-weight exercises (sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, squats, etc…) and regular running and bike riding.
I am not interested in getting the latest fitness gadgets, I use a 30 year old stopwatch and my wrist watch for times and measured my courses with my car. I am not monitoring my heart rate and I am not actively tweeting my distance and times. I guess if I was looking to run a race or if I was a little more zealous about it, I would get those things. I used to be a gadget person. I still am, but mainly I just enjoy looking and reading about them. They are not necessary in my life.
I know that someone, if anyone reads this, will let me know how much I need them, and how they will help me connect, but I am not really interested in connecting with others about my fitness. I just want to stay active. I do want to write about it. Through the writing, I am practicing my craft (writing) and keeping myself motivated by checking in on my blog to see when I wrote last!
My goal? To stay healthy, maintain my weight, and to stay in shape.