Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The long run

I have been talking an awful lot about biking, especially for someone who chose the domain "run4it-illinois". But running is probably the physical activity that I do most. I run 2-3.1 miles three times a week. Even in the dead of winter I was pulling this off nearly every week (if it was below 15 degrees I ran inside on the treadmill; this winter I did that a lot). Starting on March 21, I have a workout program to start getting me ready for a 10k run and 46 mile bike ride over a single weekend in May. With the exception of a recovery week, my runs will get progressively longer, I will have a lot more cross training with the bike, and every Saturday I will go for my recommended "long" run.
With all of this running, I have come to realize something: I don't like running very much. I mean it, when I am out there, I am usually trying to convince myself not to quit for probably 50% of the run. Sometimes if I am really pushing it, my heart feels like it is going to explode, my shins hurt, and my quads start to burn. I never feel like this when I am on my bike or in the gym.
Now there are 2 things I can discern from this: 1. I need to work harder on my bike and in the gym. OR 2. Running is a hell of a lot harder than lifting weights or biking.
I am going to stick with the latter, and that is why I run. I figure if it feels that much harder, running has got to be way better of a weight loss solution. Therefore, three days a week I roll my hind end out of bed at 4:45am, gear up for the cooler weather, strap on the shoes, and hit the pavement for a little punishment.
However, since I started really checking out some other fitness blogs, I feel like my attitude is changing a little bit. I have entertained the idea of doing a half or full marathon (I am not there yet; nobody get excited), I researched more specific training, and I have certainly checked out the proper apparel and gear (If you can't do it, at least look like you can). Shoot, I even went for a run on vacation (on VACATION people!).
And another thing has been happening through all of this: I don't dislike running quite as much. Sure, I still have the little aches and pains, but I only have to talk myself out of quitting maybe 49% of the time. When I am getting done, occasionally, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Today I even did my long run just because I felt up to it. Plus, I wore a stopwatch for the first time in months, and you know what happened...I had my personal best, non-race time on a 5k (23:33.94). That is only 14 seconds slower than my last 5k race, and I didn't even have anybody to chase.
Who knows if my attitude will change again, but I am going with my gut for now (it's bigger than my brain, so it must know more)and see what happens in the long run.


  1. I know it sounds crazy, but I think a half marathon is easier than a 10K. Why? Because it's not the race that's the hardest part, it's the training! And the training is pretty similar but the accomplishment is completing a half marathon. And then once you check that off your bucket list a marathon will be next! I'll be there rooting you along the way.

  2. Lovin' the blog, man. Keep it up.

  3. Well, its probably true that a 1 hour run burns more calories than a 1 hour bike ride.

    On the other hand, biking is a) much easier on the joints, b) more enjoyable in general, c) easier to do for 4-6 hours than running is!

    I'm biased, I'm a long-distance cyclist, and am often out for 6-8 hours at a time.

  4. How far do you ride in 6-8 hours? Are you really pushing it during that time,or do you take it easy during some of that? I ask because I am hoping to ride 175 miles in one weekend.

  5. We don't ride for speed, in fact we have steel hard-tail mtn bikes with semi-slick 85 lb tires. We average about 12 mph, - so in 8 hours, with stops, we get 85-90 miles in. Some pushing hard, some relaxing, a couple of stops for fresh ice for the camelbacks. Makes a very nice day!