Jun 25, 2005

Running

My running is going well. The improvements I have made in my endurance and speed are very good considering my size.

Whereas when I started I couldn't even run the 3-mile lap around Rockland lake, I am now pretty close to breaking the 30-minute mark. When I first got to the point where I could actually make it all the way around the lake without walking, I was doing it in about 40-45.

I am getting my wind back really quickly now. Before I would have to rest for 10-15 minutes before my breathing (and heart rate) got back to normal after the run. Now, I can do an active recovery (light jogging) and have the heart breathing come back to normal in only a couple of minutes. At first I was concerned about this because I thought I wasn't running hard enough, even though the run itself *was* hard. But after asking some friends, I found that this was actually a good sign of improved fitness.

Today, for the first time, I did not go to Rockland Lake to run the 3-mile lap. Instead, I went to the local high school track in Mahwah, NJ. It was 6PM, and about 85ยบ outside. I walked one lap, then ran a couple of laps to get nice and warm - and then I started working what will become the most effective exercise I can do to lose fat: Intervals.

Here's how I did it: I would sprint the straightaways, and jog the curves. The idea is to jog the curves slow enough that you get your wind back before the the next straightaway, but not too slow so it's not a reasonable effort. 10x120yards - the straightaways were 120 yards long (fresh stripes were painted on the football field) And I did it ten times. On the tenth one I sprinted really hard too - to get a good ooomph out of the last interval. This is GREAT exercise. It's so intense that, according to my books on running, your body won't let you do it more than twice a week. As I get better and better at it I'll add laps and do the sprints even faster.

My running program is going to become more structured now. Whereas I have been running three miles a few times a week, it was accomplishing results for me only because I'm so fat that *any* activity would produce great results. People who have been running for years know that while just doing the same run a few times a week is better than nothing, they could really make huge deposits by adding some structure to the running. There are all sorts of fancy or whimsical names for the types of runs they do: speedwork, VO2 max training, lactate threshold training, fartleks, hill training, race training - But it can be simplified to long runs, normal runs, and intervals. Well, what I did today would be considered speedwork. Not only does it produce amazing gains in my fitness, but it also makes me a faster runner. I'm also going to add a weekly long run, which is an endurance builder - it gets me used to being on my feet for a long time. Every thing else would be normal running - and I'll use the 3-mile Rockland Lake course as a litmus test.

When I break 30 minutes on that Rockland Lake course, I'm going to have some sort of gluttonous celebration.