Three years ago I bought some proper shoes so I could start running. I lasted 4 weeks. The year after, two weeks. Useless. July 14th 2013 I gave it one more go….and this time it stuck.
In the last year I’ve:
- Ran 463 miles
- Ran 110 times
- Averaged 4.21 miles for each run, much higher than expected
- Seen a lot of Glasgow
- Realised that I love running in winter, summer…not so much
- Tracked all my runs in RunKeeper
I mention RunKeeper for a good reason. Firstly it’s free and using it’s 5k training plan it got me running on a varied program which kept it interesting and challenging. Secondly I can download all the GPX files (XML file of GPS waypoints) and produce graphics like this.
Where I ran in 2014. Each run mapped onto a Google Maps export.
When I read the Flowing Data post called Where People Run in Major Cities and saw the visualisations they had produced I knew I wanted to do the same. I worried I wouldn’t have done enough runs with variety but I’m pleased with how it came out. I’m also surprised at some of the area’s I haven’t run in which means some good options going forward. Nothing better than running somewhere new to keep things interesting. RunKeeper also exports your data in csv so you can graph it with ease.
Distance per month in miles
Number of runs per month
Average speed in mph. Getting slower!
Lessons I’ve learned over the last 12 months are obvious really with hindsight but worth repeating. Firstly, always stretch, warm up and warm down properly before and after each run. I’ve got lazy with this sometimes and can feel little niggles creep in when I don’t do this properly. Secondly – listen to your body. If you are feeling a bit under the weather or are carrying an injury then tailor the run accordingly. Third – BFH – bus fare home. A couple of times on longer runs I’d be three miles from home, feeling a bit sore, tired or ill and no money to get a bus or taxi home. So I carry a small bit of money on those longer runs just in case. Fourth – hydrate. Don’t underestimate how much fluid you will lose on hot long runs. Plenty of water before and after should see you through a run up to 10km but anything more then I’d carry some water to keep me going. Finally, enjoy it and keep the routes varied. I struggled to get going at first as I stay on a hill and the climb back at the end always defeated me. Building up on a flat canal close to home got me running further and further until I’d got a large enough base to tackle hills. However it was getting boring running up and down the same stretch of water so it was great to branch out and vary my runs.
Looking forward I’ve some small goals to keep me going:
- Run 500 miles in a year. Narrowly missed this year but if I keep consistent and injury free it should be achievable
- Improve speed
- Buy new shoes as the current ones are starting to get a bit done. A trip to Achilles Heel is in order.
- I’m interested in measuring heart rate but hanging fire on getting anything until Apple announce…something?
- Play some more with R. Some interesting data in those RunKeeper files.
- One thing I won’t be doing is entering any races. I don’t know why but racing just doesn’t appeal to me.
So thats my running year. I still can’t believe I’ve been out over 100 times but looking forward to 100 more. At least.
That sense of satisfaction as the robotic female voice kicks in and proclaims ‘workout complete’ has become familiar over the last 9 weeks. Using a RunKeeper beginner 5k training program I’ve went from struggling to complete just 1km without collapsing to running 5k’s, not with ease or quickly, but regularly and unexpectedly looking forward to my next run.
5k run along the canal
The workout program was excellent as it kept the run’s varied and gradually stepped up pace and distance. I’m actually surprised at some of the distances I managed through the 9 weeks with a couple of 10k runs thrown in to the mix although I did feel the impact on my knee’s and legs the following days. However now that the program has come to an end I am left wondering….what now?
The 5k was a target to aim for and I really enjoyed reaching that goal. However I have zero interest in running a 5 or 10k race. Don’t know why but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I do however want to keep on running especially during the autumn and winter months. I can already feel the chill in the air on some of the morning runs, so much so that I popped down to Achilles Heel and picked up some running tights. That’s something I never expected to be buying!
I’m sticking with RunKeeper and have selected a fat burning program which I hope has enough variety over the coming weeks to keep me interested. I may also try a parkrun as it’s worked so well for Henry. The aim for the next few weeks is to look at improving my 5k times and keep running regularly which I’m sure will be more challenging as the weather turns but then again, this running lark is weirdly addictive.
Two years ago I blogged that I had started running. That lasted for four weeks and then I stopped. I started again last year…well I ran once last year and then that was it. Back in 2011 I’d even gone so far to pick up some proper running shoes which really made for a more comfortable run but I just fell out of the habit.
So it was mid July 2013 and I was seeing some great posts on Instagram and Twitter from people who were out running which was pretty impressive as we were in the middle of a heat wave. I was inspired so it was out with the running shoes to give it another go. The problem I had was I live on the crest of a fairly small hill but it was enough to kill every finish to a run. Secondly I didn’t run enough back in 2011 – once a week at best so I never improved, the head went down and I gave in.
The plan this time was to head off to a flat area and build up gradually until I had a bit of running in the legs and the hills wouldn’t kill me. So the first run saw me trot down to the Forth & Clyde Canal and complete my first run. This worked a treat. I also signed up for a RunKeeper training plan – run 5k in 8 weeks. The plan was to keep the variation with each run and also gradually build up the distance.
6 weeks on and it seems to be working. I’m managing out 2-3 times a week and improving the distance all the time. The plan I’m following has been good but by far the best ‘find’ has been running along the canal. A lot more pleasant than running on pavements and far less hilly. I’m really enjoying the running too – great to get outdoors, hopefully improve fitness and also catch up on podcasts and tunes. My initial problem was with recovery as I found the next day was torture for my legs but proper stretching, warm up and warm downs have really helped.
This mornings run was the best by far. A slight chill in the air but blue skies all round. I should have been doing a 2.5 mile run but I just kept going and managed to do over three before pausing and turning back. Not fussed about pace at all as the first few runs I couldn’t manage a mile without pausing so it’s nice to see improvement. I’m now looking forward to Autumn and Winter runs. I’m hoping to keep this going but no ambition to run any 5 or 10k’s, just want to keep my fitness up and help maintain my current weight…or maybe even lose a bit more.
I’ve had an itch for quite a while. An itch to run. Folk that know me will know I’m not built for running. Always been big and not got a great engine so running is a bit of a challenge. After the hill walks my legs take days to recover and going back to school days, sprints were fine but cross country was awful. Despite all that, I still wanted to give it ago.
I kept putting it off. I was scared…of failure, of running in public. Daft but when you’ve got something like that in your head it can be hard to shake. However, if I want to run a 10k at some point I have to start somewhere so today was the day. Looking at Google maps I planned a straightforward door to door run which would take over 3km. The results are below and in more detail at RunKeeper.
Main snag is that I live on the top of a small hill so whatever I do it will involve a hill of sorts. Kept the pace slow and it was going ok until the incline up Gt Western Road and the climb up Cleveden. I could feel a bit of stich coming on so had to stop. I walked up the hill and ran the last 200 metres. So overall not too bad.
However my legs did feel pretty sore afterwards despite the hill walking, cycling and badminton I do. The impact from running on the road is not to be ignored. The good news though is that I enjoyed the run so the current plan is to do the same route midweek and if that goes well (and assuming my legs feel good tomorrow) then I’ll pay a visit to Achilles Heel and sort out a more appropriate pair of running shoes that will help with the impact on the roads. I may also look into running offroad to help with the impact but baby steps for the moment.
Reason for doing this is twofold. I want to build up a bit more stamina and endurance and also help with the recovery after the hill walks. Secondly, it’s something different and it gets me outside and off the bike (which will still continue). Third (I did say two but who’s counting) is the inkling to run a 10k, maybe before the end of the year. Depends on lot’s of things but it’s good to have a goal when starting these things.
So more posts hopefully soon, even if it is to say my legs are buggered and I can’t go on! One final thing – it’s nice to be using RunKeeper for, you know, running!