Today I passed the 3,000 mile mark in my running career (it’s a full time gig).
So how did I get here? On ‘My running story‘ page I tell how I got started running. But that is not really the whole story of what I do and how I do it.
I started running on a treadmill back on August 2nd 2010 (I had joined the gym on August 1st) doing a Couch to 5K program. I persisted through the first couple of painful days as my body reacted to this new activity, and got through the initial shin splints I developed and by mid-September I had gained enough confidence to take a run outside. In anticipation of this I had started to look at how I could track my runs and invested in the Nike+ Sportband. I took my first run using the system on September 22, 2010 on an 80+ degree day. I struggled to run 1.8 miles in the heat (I said I was confident enough not necessarily smart enough) but pushed through gradually building up my distances until by December of that name having lost 20+ pounds I ran my first 10K distance on December 31, 2010. You can see where this is going right? I’m a statistic tracker (geek) and have recorded all my runs since. I moved up to a GPS device in February 2011 (my birthday treat) and haven’t looked back. I use the Garmin Forerunner 305. To load my Garmin data into Nike+ I use a web app designed by Angus Smithson. Here is the link. I also upload my data into ‘dailymile‘ and ‘Strava‘ so that I have a history in more than one location should any of these sites stop supporting Garmin devices. I do this manual upload routine after each run…until I get a watch which will upload to all at the same time!!
Around the same time I started running longer distances I began strapping my right knee as I was struggling but too hard headed to quit (good decision). I figured I needed to do something about this and while Googling runners knee and other ailments I came across Jeff Galloway and his ‘Run Injury Free‘ method. I didn’t know who Jeff was at the time but I thought this was worth a try. I hadn’t signed up for any races at the time but I had a couple of goals. Since February of 2011 I started using Jeff’s ‘RUN-WALK-RUN’ method experimenting with various intervals. I had signed up for the 2011 Broad Street Run (the largest 10 miler in the US) and that was to be my first big race. My wife noticed an inaugural Half Marathon in Tyler Park nearby a couple of weeks before Broad Street so I decided to sign up. My practice run the week before the Half ended up with me getting lost in the park. It was my first time there and I wasn’t familiar with the park, plus I had the map upside down….D’oh!!
During that Half Marathon (and many subsequent races) many people stopped to talk to me during a walk break as they had seen me taking regular walk breaks in between set periods of running. I would pass them during the run section and then they would pass me during the walk and this kept going on. It is usually the latter part of the run when I get stopped as these people have seen me taking these walk breaks but have not managed to pass me. Jeff’s basic philosophy is to take regular walk breaks before you get tired as this gives your muscles a chance to recover and you can finish a long run faster and stronger. In his books he states his goals are to have runners cross the finish line standing up with a smile on their faces.
Having run (to date) 7 Half Marathons and 4 Full Marathons I can attest that this method works for me. In fact I PR’d in a 5K last year with 23:31 which included 3 minutes of walking (6 walk breaks of 30 seconds). If I had gone flat out I would have faded towards the end of the race. I once tried a 5K when I wanted to see the difference not taking a walk break would have and I finished with 28:04. That’s a pretty big difference. So I guess I will stick with what works. I currently run with a 4:00/0:30 ratio. This is my plan for this year although I sometimes play around with intervals between races.
Taking walk breaks also reduces the risk of injury as it gives the body time to recover. I use this time to let my heart rate come down. I watch this pretty carefully so I can judge the effort I am expending with the pace I am trying to maintain.
The reason I use this method is so that I can continue to run as long as I can. It’s only been 2 and 1/2 years so far but I would like to continue as long as I can and by using this method I can hopefully continue for many years to come. One day I hope that I will be running events with my boys.
I recommend you check out Jeff’s site to learn more about him and the training methods he employs. Now I know a lot more about Jeff, have a few of his books and occasionally ask him questions (to which he timely responds) on his Facebook page. Jeff is actually the official runDisney trainer and his programs are available on the runDisney website. One day (hopefully next January) I hope to meet Jeff in person and thank him. At Disney I am in good company. There are many Gallowalkers. Everyone uses their own timers for their Run/Walk ratios and many times I heard beeping and had to check whether it was my turn for a walk break or someone else. I was in good company.
My goal was never to run to win everything or to always be looking to place in my age group. Running has enabled me to lose 60 pounds, turn my health around and spend quality time with my family. In that way I have already won. Running has given me opportunities to explore different cities and countries. I have run in the USA, England and Israel to date (and if you count EPCOT’s World Showcase, plenty more countries). Mostly I compete with myself and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow runners in the events I run in.
Using Jeff’s RUN-WALK-RUN method I have indeed crossed the finish line standing up with a smile on my face. Long may this continue. Let’s see how far I can go.
If you are interested in the products above I would recommend you look at them on Amazon.com for some reviews. I would also recommend checking out DC Rainmaker for running electronics reviews. They are very comprehensive and do far more justice than I can provide in terms of testing all the functions. Plus you get to check out how Ray and his wife are doing with their move to Paris and the bakery they opened up there. Interesting stuff.
See you out there.