New Attitude and Yes I Enjoyed my Run – 2-24-12

Today is the first day of the rest of my running life. Yes I say that almost every day, but today it has a little more meaning. I made some decisions last night and this morning about what I was doing with my running and how I was beginning to feel about it. See my post on Is Running becoming too much like work for more info on what I am talking about.

I went into today’s semi-long run with a different attitude and wasn’t really all that worried about my time, and just went more on effort level and really listened to my body. It felt good. The mud and the hills on the way back kicked my butt bad, but that was okay, I expected that once I saw the road down-back. Overall, it was a good run and I was happy how I felt during and after the run.

Once I got the my first pass of the muddy road and hit the Tiffany Road, I really focused on form and how it felt when I was running comfortably with a slight lean. I still can’t run too far with much of a lean because it causes that my left calf to tighten a little too much.

I still don’t think that the GPS really is all that accurate, but it gives you sort of an idea of how far you run, but the App I am using, isn’t catching the GPS signal very quickly at the run’s start and seems to lose it a lot when I am running, going to have to figure that one out.

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If you look at the right side you will see that I ran for 50:09 and did 5.41 miles according to the iSmoothRun App. However when I posted it to RunKeeper, it only gave me credit for 48:50 and 5.29 miles – not a big difference, but still it should post as the same data.  Weird, but the way it turned out.

Looking at the Pace vs Elevation, I think that I held a very steady pace and am happy with it, you can see that I slowed down a lot on the hill, but that hill always gets me and today the mud didn’t help at all.

This was also my normal Notta Road O/B which I have always considered to be my 5.0 mile course (measured by 3 different vehicles) and I finished that in 44:54. Which seems about right for the pace that I was supposed to be running.

So to be honest I don’t know how far I am running anymore and you know something as irksome as I find this, it really isn’t a big  deal now that I am running more for time than mileage for a while.  But still it would be nice to have a fairly accurate idea of how far I am running and have it be consistent from run to run.

I guess even with all this technology available to me, that this is why I just keep my primary running log in an old-fashioned spread sheet ;-). Unfortunately, it doesn’t have all the pace/elevation charts that I like so much :-).

Is Running Becoming too much like Work?

In the sidebar for “A Veteran Runnah” is my quick what is this blog about. I wrote these words for several reasons, but one important one was to remind me of what running and blogging are supposed to be:

Over the past month or so, I started to lose sight of this and during yesterday’s run, I realized that I wasn’t having fun on my run, in fact it was becoming a lot like work.

During this period I had also started using the MiCoach app’s training plan and did the workout assessment, to get my Blue, Green, Yellow and Red running pace zones. Believe it or not I had started running with headphones on while running, not to listen to music, but so that I could hear the “MiCoach” tell me which zone I was running in better.

I was paying so much attention to maintaining a certain pace and listening for that electronic coach to tell me what to do, that I wasn’t listening to how my body was feeling during the run. During the run I felt off a couple of times, but I had to keep up my pace and just ran right through what my body was trying to tell me. Also I wanted to snap a couple of pictures, but I had to maintain that damn pace, so I didn’t bother.

This was not cool! I was now running for a different reasons than enjoyment – and it was feeling an awful lot like work.

This is exactly how I don’t want to feel about my running.

Re-evaluate my running

When I realized this yesterday, I knew that I had to stop and look what I was doing.

1. Am I looking forward to my daily run? This is the most important about running to me – do I look forward to going on my daily run? If I am not – then I am doing something wrong, when it becomes a chore to step out that door – I need to re-evaluate why I am running.

That is what I am doing now.

2. Is it to compete in my age group at local races? No. I know that I am pretty much a middle of the pack runner, who at times has delusions of grandeur. I am training  between a 8:00 to 10:00 minute pace, which is not going to get me to be competitive in my age group any time soon. While I might dream of being faster someday, now that is really where I am. If I look at things realistically, I am what I am – a middle of the pack runner.

To be honest I am ecstatic that I can even run at the mid pack level, since last year at this time, I couldn’t run at all and been told that I would never run again.

I don’t want to screw it up and go back to being a non-runner ever again.

Of course I want to get better and am working in that direction, but now is not the time to rush improvement, I need to build a strong mileage base and that is my primary goal for now.

3. Will that step out the door lead to being able to run a certain distance/pace? Yes I would like to eventually run a marathon and qualify for Boston (dream) or run a sub 20:00 5K (not for a while), but I also know that I need to go more slowly than my competitive and ambitious side would like me to. I know that my body is not ready for these goals – yet.

For the first time in years, I am feeling good while running and my unharnessed optimism is taking over for common sense for an almost 55-year-old runner.

I just need to run smart and I will get to my goals.

4. Am I listening to my body correctly? If I let an electronic coach tell me how fast I need to be running and ignore the signals that my body is telling me, than no – I am not listening to my body. I know that I need to challenge myself to run faster and further, but at the same time I need to do it when my body is ready for it?

This is the delicate balance that I will have a hard time maintaining – but must. If I continue to listen mainly to that electronic voice saying “you can do it”, “resume green zone”, instead of listening to my body saying “I’m not ready yet”, “why am I landing on my heels now?” or even “floor it, let’s see what this old body can do”, I will run into problems.

If I listen closely to my body, I know that I will be better off in the long run.

5. Is there enough flexibility in what I am doing, so that if I am listening to my body or life happens, I can change what I am doing quickly and easily?  Pretty self-explanatory and @MissZippy1 gave a pretty good explanation of this in her post Schedules were meant to be broken.

This is the main reason that I have such a difficult time following a training plan, is that I don’t want to be a slave to a schedule of needing to do a certain pace or distance, when my body is saying I need to do something else.

I am going to take charge of my training plan again. While I might base it on the MiCoach training plan, what I actually do will be based more on how I am actually feeling that day or week and what is going on in my life.

6. Do I want or need to be coached? I have often thought about going ahead and getting a coach, who would help and challenge me to become a better runner. While at the same time moderating or putting a governor on me (which I do need sometime).

While there are a lot of great coaches out there, I haven’t been coached in so many years, I have a feeling that, it would be a difficult transition for me, being the old curmudgeon that I am and how independent I have become. 😉

There is also the cost involved (but if you want something bad enough you find a way to pay for it).

At this point of my running career, I will remain without a coach and continue to muddle along by myself. Although I know the right coach would make me a better runner.

The reality is that

Today I am looking forward to my scheduled 5.0 mile run. However, to reach this “want to do it attitude” again I had to do a couple of things last night and this morning:

1. I have deleted the MiCoach training plan.  I like MiCoach and how it does a lot of its functions and think it is a great App for many runners. Using the MiCoach training plan and Coaching App wasn’t taking me in the direction I wanted to go with my running – I began to depend on it for too much. I even allowed it to take over how I was running and by doing that, was taking the joy out of the run and made it feel more like work.  Which is exactly where I do not want to go.

2. Slow down and temper my ambition. Just because I am feeling really great and am running further than I have in years, does not mean that I am not at risk for injury or burn-out, if I do too much too quickly.

A Reminder

I put those words in my sidebar, to not only let readers, know what “A Veteran Runnah” is about, but also to remind me, when I get off track – why I run.

After all blogging and running are supposed to fun – not just more work!

Stop and think about it

Every so often it helps to stop and take a look at your running, to see if you are still enjoying it and if you are not why and what changes you can make to bring back that sense of joy about running back into your life.

Why do you run?

  1. Is it to compete in my age group at local/regional/national races?
  2. Will that step out the door lead to being able to run a certain distance/pace?
  3. Am I listening to my body correctly?
  4. Is there enough flexibility in what I am doing, so that if I am listening to my body or life happens, I can change what I am doing quickly and easily?
  5. Do I want or need to be coached?
  6. Finally, am I looking forward to my daily run – if I am not – why?

Stop and think for a moment are you  enjoying your running or has it become something that you only have to do.

Think about your answers.