Modified Run Streak

I’m excited to have finished my first month of daily workouts!

Each January Run Ottawa launches their running streak challenge, to help keep us motivated through those long winter days. Last year I’d just gotten a new treadmill and was excited to see how many days I could keep up. Unfortunately, I did hit a bad spot in my depression which caused me to stop running altogether before it ended. (I made it to day 18, missed two days, got four more consecutive days in, then I was DONE.)

This January I decided to attempt my own modified version of the challenge – where each day I would choose from either running, biking, or skating (which a Twitter friend amusingly referred to as the “Canadian Triathlon”, haha!). I allowed myself a minimum of 2k for running, 5k for biking, and 5k for skating. It was the perfect solution for someone like me as I was able to choose my activity depending on how my day unfolded, allowing me a bit more flexibility.

This is the first time I have exercised on a daily basis and completed an actual month-long streak, so I couldn’t be more pleased with myself!

I’m definitely liking being able to add cross-training to my training schedule! As I found out in my figure skating lessons – where you have to be able to perform the same moves on both your left and right sides – my left side is weaker/lazier, and so I will need to work on fixing this imbalance. This should hopefully help make me stronger as a runner as well as prevent injuries.

I have also learned the benefit of rest days. My speedwork training has actually worsened with each passing week, which I attribute to not getting a day off. I came in after long runs and lifting weights and my legs would have absolutely nothing left in them. No power whatsoever.

As I move forward, I will still have long run Sunday’s at Run Club and Speedwork Monday’s at the dome, but I’m hoping my legs will manage to (a) adjust, and (b) benefit from rest days earlier in the week. One can only hope!

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Disheartening Interval Training

This Monday I finally made it out to an interval session at the track! I think I have Daylight Savings Time to thank for that – starts at 8pm, but now only feels like 7pm. 😉

So it looks like this is something offered by the Running Room during the winter months. I heard them mention that there will be one more session next Monday, then they will be moving to an outdoor track in the west end of Ottawa.

This was my first ever experience seeing what it’s like to properly train as a runner, so I’m happy that I made it.

When I arrived people were warming up by running on the 400m track. I joined in and was at 2400m by the time I realized that our group of runners had gone off to the side to do what appeared to be short sprints. We’d run as fast as we could for a short distance, then turn around and walk back to the start to do it over again. I managed to squeeze in a couple of those before we went off to do drills next to the indoor soccer fields. We skipped (high knees and flexing our foot up) in a line three times, then 3 more times we went down a line literally kicking our own butts with our heels. 😉

I felt pretty good by this point. But then we started.. the “intervals”.

I stood at a board with numbers listed for “fast” and “faster” runners.. 400m, 800m.. It was all in shorthand and, having never “intervalled” before, I was completely lost. The general understanding I had was that we were supposed to run fast for 400m, then run at our normal speed for 800m.

We got back on the track and began. I ran as fast as I could to keep up with my group.. for a grand total of 30 seconds before my body was completely depleted. After that I managed to stumble around the track at a pace barely equivalent to walking a few more times, then I was DONE.

It was so disheartening at that moment to see how truly out of shape and what a lousy runner I am. Runners much older than me and runners carrying more weight than me zoomed past. I mean, I guess I kind of already knew I wasn’t that great a runner when I compared my 5k times to those of other beginners, but still..

So now my anxiety is through the roof about the 10k clinic that I signed up for, starting this week. It seemed like the next logical step seeing as my training runs around the neighbourhood are usually around 5k. But now I’m questioning the quality of those runs and that maybe I should still be learning how to do 5ks? I’m truly mortified by the thought of being the worst runner in the group and slowing everyone down.

We finished up the track session with a cooldown workout. We stretched on our mats (or, in my case, a Blues Clues towel) then pulled out a sheet where each letter of the alphabet had a certain exercise associated with it. We called out random letters and did like 50 jumping jacks, 20 mountain climbers, squats, a one minute plank, 15 push-ups, bicycles (peddling in the air), crunches, etc. I can still feel it in my quadriceps and abs and it’s been 3 days!!

I came back and found this list I can work on from home 🙂