Showing posts with label routine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label routine. Show all posts

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Runs interrupted, for different reasons

Today's run (street): 3.5 miles
Yesterday's workout (run): 1.6 miles, (elliptical): 30 minutes

Yesterday's run did not go according to plan and I ended up cutting it short. I like to work from home on Fridays because -- after four days of commuting to my office north of NYC -- I need a break from the road. Every Friday I naively go out for a run before the start of my work day. And almost every time I'm out, I get work call on my cell. Yesterday was no exception.

After spending an hour catching up on email, I geared up and headed outside to do my usual loop. I struggled initially, but started gaining strength near the end of my first mile. I thought I was in for a decent run but, like clockwork, my phone began to ring. I fished  it out of my SPIbelt and saw it was a call I needed to take.

I work for a media organization and the caller was the Editor and Chief. She loves to call me while she's driving into the office because she knows I'm at home on Fridays. I always tease her about sabotaging my running routine. She offered to wait for me to call her back, but we usually cover things quickly and I figured I'd be done and running again in few minutes. Yesterday the conversation went longer. Much longer. I stood on the corner of a random road in my high visibility running clothes, talking on my phone and nodding to my neighbors as they walked by.

Once that was done, I saw that my window of opportunity had slammed shut. I made my way back home as fast as possible to ensure that I'd be showered and ready for my first meeting. I ended up 50% short of my targeted distance and felt so guilty that I did an elliptical session after I'd finished my work day.

This morning I had an early dental checkup and didn't feel like going for a run at the crack of dawn. I made the poor decision to have lunch rather than do a late morning run. I finally got out around 2:00 PM. It had been chilly in the morning and I neglected to check the weather before I dressed for my run. I wore track pants and a long sleeve shirt, too much clothing for the 52° conditions that I encountered.

Worse than the heat was running so soon after lunch. I quickly realized that I hadn't given myself enough rest time. I developed a cramp after about 15 minutes and tried to remember what I'd read in Runners World about dealing with them. Nothing came to mind, but I wasn't going to cut another run short. I took down the pace and pressed on. Eventually the cramping went away.

Things didn't get much better after that, but I finally got through it. I felt ready to hit the sack when I got home but recovered well after a quick shower. I hope today's experience was due only to bad timing and bad decisions. I plan to go out for more distance tomorrow and I will do my best to keep cramping off the menu.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Treadmilling before the crack of dawn

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I think this early treadmill workout thing is beginning to stick. This morning, for the third week in a row, I got in a few running miles before starting my work day. I went to bed intending to do this run, but I'd forgotten to prepare for it. When I got up, I saw that I hadn't laid out my running gear or put towels down for my brief post-workout recovery period. It doesn't take that long to do those things, but in the morning every minute counts.

Time was my friend today. I got up before my alarm went off. Even with those extra preparation steps, I was on the treadmill before 4:00 AM. The bargain I make with myself is to cap these early runs at 25 minutes. That's a short enough time to seem manageable before the crack of dawn, but long enough to provide some benefit.

The run went well from beginning to end. I guess I could have pushed harder, but I knew I had an hour-plus drive and a full day's work ahead of me. I finished feeling like I'd worked reasonably hard, but I still had plenty of energy. I probably won't have a chance to run again until Friday so it was nice to have a couple of miles in the weekly bank. I've felt really good on my last few runs. I hope that continues.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Another run on that thing

Today's run (treadmill): 40 minutes

Not long ago, I was having lunch with some business friends who also said they ran. I espoused trail running and another friend mentioned how much he loved running in Prospect Park. Our other colleague said that he did a five mile run every day on his treadmill. I asked him if he ever ran outdoors. He said that he lived adjacent to a wooded bike trail, but still preferred running on the treadmill. I couldn't understand that at all.

To be fair, my wife does 45 minutes on the treadmill almost every day and it works for her. Time is important and the treadmill is very efficient. No ten minute process to put on layers and other gear when it's cold outside. There's even a timer to help her keep her schedule to the minute. Knowing this, I should have been more understanding of my friend. But he has a trail in his back yard.

Yesterday was devoted to meeting a tight deadline and that meant starting at 5:30 AM to ensure that I'd complete what was needed by 5:30 PM. There was no time for a run and I was okay with that. This morning I had more flexibility and planned to go out in the 24° cold, but my wife warned me that the roads were extremely icy. I have enough concerns about sanitation trucks, school buses and bad drivers in my neighborhood that I don't like to increase my risk with slick roads. So it was back to the treadmill.
I think the treadmill seems harder because it forces a higher cadence relative to stride length. In other words, if I require 174 SPM to maintain a nine minute pace on the road, I may need to run 177 or more SPM to manage the same pace on the treadmill. It's a lot of extra work to get to the same speed. Still, training at a higher cadence might yield a benefit that I can leverage outdoors. Until they put a bike path through my backyard, I guess I'll be stuck on that thing from time to time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Data visualization drives a decision

Downward slope
I downloaded my Garmin after yesterday's race to get a breakdown of my run. I'm a big fan of data visualization. When I looked at the cadence chart the data showed exactly where my base training had come up short. At 3.2 miles (almost the exact distance of my daily training runs) my average cadence had dropped from 89 to 85 SPM.

The shortcomings of my running routine could not have been clearer. I wasn't putting in enough distance in my daily training. I've always prided myself on the fact that I usually run six days out of seven. While the frequency is high, the distance is middling. It's a healthy routine, but not one that produces great race performances.

I'll admit that it's hard to break a running routine that's been a way of life for five years. Clearly a change is due. I'll continue to aim for longer runs on weekends, and try to increase my weekday distances. I'll aim for the same 18-20 miles a week, but will only run three days instead of four. If I could get closer to a 5 mile average run, my performance might proportionately improve.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The will is there, but the spirit needs some help

Getting out of the ordinary
Today's run (street): 3.3 miles

I have definitely reached a point where my running routine has become just that -- routine. I was hoping that last Sunday's race would reset my focus, but I seem to be caught up in a cycle of three to four mile neighborhood runs done with mediocre pacing. I could blame the hot, sticky weather and my seemingly endless bout of coughing and chest congestion to explain my current state of stagnation. I think I need some sort of change to reignite my running excitement.

This morning's effort was done more of habit than to help reach a specific training goal. While running for the sake of running doesn't generate a lot of progress, it does have its benefits. Having the will to run, even in the absence of adventure, novelty, stimulation or objective, reinforces overall commitment.   Like so many other runners, I've reached the point where lacing up my shoes and going outside is no longer a choice, but a necessity.

So what's the thing that projects my running beyond the routine? Is it a return to Central Park, a destination race or a new trail location? I don't know if any one thing will get me there. It could come down to something as simple as a new pair of running shoes. Yesterday I noticed that the combined mileage of my Kinvara 3's and Pure Drifts (my two main trainers) now totals over a thousand. I'll admit that my level of excitement was raised when I looked into pricing deals on a new pair of Virratas.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

With running, there is no free will

Repeat forever
Today's run (treadmill): 26 minutes

Despite the concept of free will, most people find themselves following a daily routine. You might think it's just you, but it's not. Back in the days when I lived in the city, I was always amused to see the same people, on the same streets, around the same time, every day. Whether or not you take comfort in maintaining habitual routines, or bristle at the thought that you are a pre-programmed genetic robot, there can be an upside to all these patterns.

A good example is a daily workout. I am constantly amazed to find myself dressed and running before 4:00 AM most weekdays. The routine takes precedence over most other forces. If I wake up feeling ill or fatigued, I'll switch to rest mode. But that doesn't happen very often.

I've been running on the treadmill most weekday mornings. Every time I do, I find it hard to believe that I can make it through my allotted run time. Time seems to go by very slowly and, when I'm only five minutes in, my targeted finish seems awfully far away. The thing that saves me is the routine of these workouts and knowing that eventually I'll come to the end. That was the case this morning. Just like yesterday, the day before, and hundreds of time before that, I completed my time. Hitting the stop button is a habit I'll never want to quit.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The habitual runner

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Daily miles
At some point in my life I became a creature of habit. Twenty years ago I'd vary everything in my life, from my morning routine all the way through to my bedtime. Marriage, kids and commuting by train necessitated an eventual compliance to daily schedules and structure. But when I began running in 2008, all bets were off in terms of where, how and when I would run. Even on the streets of my neighborhood at 4 AM, I would rarely cover the same route two days in a row.

That has all changed, and my running routine now contains less variability than a watch assembly line. Every night my running gear is readied for morning, and my process going from waking to running is done on a minute by minute schedule. Instead of mixing up my route each day, it's always the same roads run exactly the same way to cover exactly the same distance (2.53 miles).

After almost four years of competing, my race schedule has also become a bit of a habit. My expectations were upset this week when I discovered that the Run for the Warriors 10K has been pushed forward from mid-November to this weekend. I love that race but my schedule won't work with the timing. I feel badly about missing this race, because even though I've only run it the past two years, it's on my racing schedule.

I took to the streets again this morning and, like yesterday, it was cold outside. I dressed with more layers today and didn't get around my route as quickly as I did on Tuesday. In fact, it took me over a minute longer, which calculates to about 30 seconds per mile. One thing that remained the same was my route. Some habits are hard to break.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's depriving me from better running

By the way, today is National Running Day!
Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I usually take two days off after a race to allow my leg muscles to properly recover. It may be due to my mindset about Sunday's 8K that I didn't follow tradition and skip yesterday's run. I felt like my post race plan didn't warrant the usual rest, because it was a C- effort on my part. I initially congratulated myself for toughing it out and finishing with a respectable time, but the experience was disappointing. The only thing that made it special was having my family with me.

Yesterday's run was good, as is typical after a bad run and a day of resting. This morning I opted for a treadmill workout so I could get started and finished more quickly. That left a little more time to rest before starting my day. I ran fine but without much enthusiasm. My only goal was to finish and check the "workout done" box.

Runner's World tweet this morning: "Chronically sleep deprived? It will impact your running. Try for 8 hours/night." I had to laugh because 8 hours is roughly the amount of sleep I get over two nights. I wish I could do an experiment comparing my running performance after I sleep for 8 hours a night for two weeks. I'm certain there would be measurable improvement. If only I had the time to do that.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Punxsutawney Phil and me, we're not so different

You're so predictable
Today's workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

Happy Groundhog Day. With the mild winter we're having, I don't really care if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow today. Thinking about Groundhog Day this morning, I realized that my daily workout routine is much like the theme of the Bill Murray movie. Each action I take, from taking my vitamins, selecting a cup, pouring coffee and grabbing an energy bar, plays out exactly the same as the day before. And at the same time of the day too. If I'm pouring coffee at 3:50, something's wrong. It should only be 3:49 by that point.

I could look at this routine, that continues as I head back upstairs to prepare for my run, as quotidian or banal. Instead, I find it comforting to move along from step to step, without having to think at that early hour. Somehow, I find myself standing in front of my house a few minutes before 4:00 AM, Garmin switched on, ready to run. If I thought about it much beforehand, I'd probably go back to bed.

Today, my routine was mostly the same, but since I chose the elliptical it was also a little bit different. I appreciated that difference because, while routine can drive consistency, a little change is also welcomed.

blogger templates | Webtalks