After a full year of lifting weights and drinking gallons of milk, I eventually hurt my back. Nothing too serious, but bad enough to keep me from squatting for a while.
Since then, I’ve got back into running. Last year I ran in the Kakamigahara 10km and finished in a respectable 48 minutes. Now, I’ve ramped up my training, lost 5 of my hard-earned 20kgs, and am in the mood to race.
My goal this season is a sub-45 minute 10km. That will will take a lot of work so I’ve taken some steps to help me reach that goal:
Learning How to Run
This time around, I’ve armed myself with knowledge.
The first book I got was Run Faster. I was hoping it would teach me how to run, but instead it lays out how to make a training plan, including strides, hill-sprints, fartlek runs, progression runs, etc. etc. I’ve adapted a sample 10km plan from the book which I’m working through now.
Since I still didn’t know the proper technique for running, the second book I got was the Pose Method of Running. This has been brilliant. I’ve changed my running style completely because of it, which has enabled me to run over 20 times a month without injury!
A Portable Running Coach
As an iPhone owner, I can choose from a number of excellent running apps. My current app of choice is iSmoothRun. As I run, my location, speed, pace, cadence, distance, etc. is spoken to me through the phone’s earphones. I can customize workouts and even run against my previous runs. It’s more than awesome, it’s revolutionary! “Faster, steady, slower, 10 seconds behind… 5 seconds ahead…” – brilliant!
* I didn’t realize it was a ladies cap until after I bought it. It fit my head perfectly!
I’m still not sure whether to splash out on some Vibram FiveFingers, or just go with some of the newer, super lightweight running shoes. My current shoes are alright, but a lighter pair might help me shave another minute off my time. If I stick with laces, this trick my wife showed me is great!
Currently, I’m really motivated by my running stats on RunKeeper, and the running community on Daily Mile. There’s nothing lonely about running when you’ve got a team of people watching and cheering on your progress, even if it’s on the Internet. Of course, I don’t have to manually type in the results of each run on those sites, that’s done automatically by iSmoothRun.
Finally, I’m motivated to run more races. I’ll definitely do Kakamigahara again, but will probably add runs at Showa-mura, Inuyama and Seki. I might stretch to a half-marathon this season, and then maybe apply for one or more full marathons next time round.
I’ve only been running for a year. Before that I didn’t do any exercise for over a decade. I hope, with posts like this, I can motivate others to find as much enjoyment in sport as I have.If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!