Recently, I started a fitness programme on Runkeeper. I bit the bullet and parted with £25 of my hard earned cash to upgrade to Runkeeper Go. Mainly I wanted to be able to use the fitness plans, but it’s cool to get more data too. I’m all about that data and them graphs. It’s really good because you can put in your target and when you want to complete it by, and it will work out a plan for you. I’m aiming for ten miles by October 22, so that’s what I put in and now I’m running to a plan made for me.
Today was day three of the plan. Days one and two were alternate 2 minute runs and 2 minute walks for a total of twenty minutes. I can run comfortably for almost 20 minutes, so I thought it wouldn’t be that challenging. For some reason it still was. Maybe it’s more of a mental thing. When there’s a particular time limit involved I tend to be waiting for the end the whole time, whereas running without a plan I just stop when I’m done.
This run was a bit different. This run was a distance run, not a time run. I had to run for 400m then walk for 400m, six times. Now, I am terrible at judging distances. I know roughly what one metre looks like, but as soon as you start making it into an actual distance, not a clue. 400m to me sounded like an awful lot. I was expecting to be running for AGES each time.
My usual running route has an uphill part no matter how you plan it. Southampton Common is just like that. But it does also mean there’s a downhill part at some point too. One of the uphill ways is steeper, but slightly shorter, whereas the other one is more gradual but still really brutal. If anything it’s worse because you forget it’s a hill until you’re knackered after a minute of running. I decided to go the steeper way, as that would mean I had more downhill parts on the run back home. For my SUPER LONG 400m bits.
Only, it turns out that 400m is basically nothing. I started running very slowly to make sure I could keep the stamina to do the distance uphill. I didn’t even make it to the hilly part before Runkeeper told me to slow down for the next 400m. After just a couple of minutes I was walking through the tree thinking to myself “that’s…it?!”. It was. Just that, but five more times.
My slow first run really affected my time, but speeding up on the subsequent runs knocked about a minute off my average. Still not a great speed, but I know I’ll do better next time. And that’s what matters, really.
Before I knew it, 45 minutes had passed and my run was over. It’s quite nice breaking it up into walking/running intervals because it kind of chunks it. But I will be RUNNING the ten miles on October 22nd. No chunking that one. I think I’ll set Runkeeper to tell me after I’ve completed each mile on the day, just so I know where I’m at. Then I’ll feel like I’m achieving something as I go round. Plus, just aiming to complete each mile one at a time is way more manageable than thinking about completing ten of them. I suppose that is kind of chunking it.
Next week I’m going to focus on my speed a bit more. If I carry on averaging like I did today, it’ll take me three hours to complete the Great South Run. That is Too Long. Hopefully I’ll be writing next week about how much my speed has improved 🙂
Read more about my running journey at the spicy bean runs
You can also follow me on Runkeeper