The three of us were never really big on running. “Us” being Steve, Chris, and myself. If you met us 2 and half years ago, you wouldn’t have guessed that, between the three of us, we’d be running almost all of the NYRR races of 2011. To be fair, we each have our own reasons for starting again, and it’ll put our blog in better context if we share those reasons with you. So I’ll start things off…
It was sometime in May of 2009 when I started running again. Before then, I was never a consistent runner. You couldn’t even convince me to go jogging around the block. In fact, I kept the same pair of Adidas running shoes sitting in my closet for almost 3 years before taking it out for a test drive. It’s not that I was the lazy type. If any, I did too many things that’s probably more difficult than having a single running routine. I took dance classes twice a week, went to bootcamp every week, and even challenged myself with the occasional spinning class. I wasn’t a runner, because nothing motivated me to run… until I discovered the Nike+ sensor. And now? I’m trying to break a 1:45 half and dreaming of a 3:40 marathon.
I run with two devices at every race. I wear my Garmin 405CX and my Nike+ sensor. I’m a bit of a chronic self-quantifier when it comes to my running. It’s a habit that’s served me well in the recent past, because it creates accountability. I hold myself responsible for my poor performance at a race, just as my friends and family hold me accountable for missing my training runs when I just told them that I’m running two back-to-back Half Marathons in the next three months. Besides, it hurts like hell when you run a race unprepared, which I recently learned after finishing the Brooklyn Half Marathon this past weekend.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself as good a runner as “serious” competitive athletes. I’m still very much in the early stages of even becoming a good enough contender to my friend Steve (who clocks a 7:08 pace). The nice thing about all my data tracking is that I can set numeric goals: total miles for this month vs. last month, extend my weekly mileage, shed seconds off my average pace, push my lactate threshold… and, ultimately reaching those goals (however slowly) motivates me to keep going!
I’m hoping that this blog helps me become a better runner by getting feedback from fellow runners. In the process, I’ll also share everything I learn from different training routines or race-related insights, and introduce you to the tools me and my friends use to monitor our training progress.
At the moment, all of my run data lives on Smashrun.com – a little side project that me and a few friends are working on. To make things interesting, we designed it so that runners earn badges for specific running achievements, and we’ve got more than one hundred additional badges that we’re integrating in the coming months! We also rank users against their chosen peers and split the gold between three categories based on frequency of runs, running the most mileage, and overall speed. Not bad huh?
It helps me set my goals. Allow me to demonstrate: below is a chart of my changing speed over distance for the Brooklyn Half Marathon. It’s not pretty. Notice, how I fell off a cliff after mile marker 5 and switched to (what I consider as) my crawling pace after mile marker 7.
My goal for the next half? A little more consistency. And maybe start slower if that’ll help. I’m thinking of applying the same rigorous training I did last year for the NYC Marathon and cut the time frame (and weekly mileage) by half to see how well that works