I tried to increase my mileage the last two weekends and I’m pretty happy with my results. It’s now October 3 and by October 22 (or shortly after) I’d like to hit a half-marathon mileage of 13 or 14 miles. This Saturday’s run was great, though at the very end my right foot started to bother me (it almost felt like something was in my shoe) so I ran in discomfort the last 2 minutes or so. I normally wouldn’t advise running through shoe discomfort, but it was toward the very end and I had been doing so well. I’m getting new running shoes this week so hopefully I won’t encounter that problem again.
So this coming weekend I will shoot for 12 miles. Perhaps run from WTC to Central Park and back. Then the following weekend I’ll do a short speed run, and my final “summer” run will be the big post-birthday half marathon run. Gonna be an exciting month!!
This past Saturday I tried pushing myself a little harder during my outdoor run. In particular, I tried to keep a faster-than-normal pace even after my mini sprint. It worked! Saturday’s run has been my fastest run to date. I’ve been faster in previous years (particularly during the year I ran the NYC Marathon), but for this summer this is my fastest time. I need to start building endurance now if I want to hit my goal of 12 miles come October. Totally do-able, but I need to rack up my mileage.
What’s funny is that the weather was somewhat cool on Saturday (56 F w/ no sun) and I hate running in the cold weather. But after the first 5 minutes I was fine.
I increased my mileage a bit this weekend. Not by much, but I added a few extra steps. I think my goal for this summer will be to run 12 miles easy. This run felt easy and I’m hoping next week to repeat it or go for the 6 miles.
The New York Times published an interesting story on Friday on H.I.T., high intensity interval training. It looked at the major exercises — swimming, running, squats, and burpees — in an attempt to find out which has the best impact on your health. Naturally, there was no “right” answer, but the story makes a strong case for H.I.T. Here’s the part that intrigued me the most:
“To be effective, H.I.T. must hurt. But a study published last month found that when a group of recreational runners practiced H.I.T. on the track, they enjoyed the workout more than a second group of runners who jogged continuously for 50 minutes. The H.I.T. runners, the study’s authors suspect, were less bored.”
I agree with that 100%. 30 minutes of straight running (with no sprints or hills) to me is a tad boring. I’d do it, but at the end I’d feel like I cheated. That’s why I constantly switch up my cardio routines. It’s twisted, but I love that split second in your run when you can barely breathe and feel like your lungs are going to explode. It’s a rush. That feeling, to me, is the essence of being alive. That is exercising. Otherwise, you’re just doing motions. That said, what’s your ultimate exercise?
Small confession. I had 1.5 Blackhound cakes this Friday. I normally don’t indulge that way, but I figured it’d be a nice treat for my girlfriend and I. (We bought 3 small cakes, but individually ate about 1.5 cakes.) I have to admit, I felt guilty eating them. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted great, but that night around midnight I got up, put on my gym clothes, went to my building’s gym, and I ran. I ran for 35 minutes and my bpm hit 180. It felt great. I felt like all that sweat was erasing at least some of the calories I had eaten earlier.
Saturday I hit the gym again and my diet went back to normal. Black beans, avocado, and broccoli for dinner. I don’t know why, but I’ve become so obsessive with what I eat and with my exercise regimen lately. (I guess that’s a good thing, huh.) When shopping for food, I look at sodium count, cholesterol, calories, sugar, you name it. Ideally, I like to choose items with no sodium or cholesterol. It’s do-able, but you really have to shop around. So my tip for today is to try doing that for a week. Look at the sodium, cholesterol, fat, and sugar count for the food items you buy. And if you see something high, choose something with a lower count. No food item is worth a compromise to your health.
Here’s an interesting study I came across this week from the UK’s Telegraph. Researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry looked at data from 833 adults and concluded that outdoor exercise is healthier than indoor gym workouts. In addition to improved mental health benefits, the study revealed that those who exercised outdoors got more enjoyment from their workouts and had a higher likelihood of continuing with their exercise regime.
I like both indoor and outdoor workouts and I think the best plan is to mix things up. For example, it’s ok to run indoors during the winter, but try running outdoors during the spring and summer. Likewise, it’s great to workout at a gym, but from time to time (when possible) forgo the gym for an outdoor workout. Go rowing, kayaking, hiking, surfing, skiing, swimming. All of these activities are workouts that are just as good (if not better) than lifting weights at the gym. The trick is to shock your body and muscles with a new routine when possible.