Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2005
Dear Diary:

My gym is pretty much empty now that the summer is in full swing Because Most People Have Lives And Are Doing Other Things. Imagine that.

I'm lonely. I'm used to having folks to gab with to help pass the time while I work out, not to mention the inspiration I get from seeing other people trying their best.

I find it hard to motivate myself when it's just me in a big, empty mirrored room with some execrable All 80's Music All The Time radio station echoing off the walls.

So I've set this odd little running plan for myself that I want to shoot past the running geeks who are amongst my three loyal readers. I would like to know if it's safe and if there are tweaks I should add to make it safer.

None of the trainers at my gym have tried anything like this and they're not sure what to say about it.

Okay. First off, I've decided that no matter what I will keep up running at least 5K (3.1 miles) three times a week. Everything I've read about running says that if you can run half the length of a race, then you can complete a whole race. A 10K is 6.2 miles and so 3.1 miles will set down enough basic fitness for me to compete in next year's Milk Run.

The first time I ran the 3.1 miles after making this decision, it took me 32 minutes (mostly because I spent some time futzing with entering my weight so I could get the All Important Calories Burned Tally). So then I decided that as well as running at least 3.1 miles, I would also make sure I didn't start my five minute cool down until 32 minutes had elapsed.

Well, that gets old fast.

So then I decided that I would increase my speed a teensy tiny bit each time. When the odometer said 3.0 miles I ran the final 1/10 of a mile a 6.5 mph instead of 6 mph. Then I slowed down to 6 mph and finished out the 32 minutes. The next time I ran, I sped up at 2.9 miles, ran the final 2/10 at 6.5 mph and then finished out the 32 minutes at 6 mph. Each day on the treadmill, I extend the faster run by 1/10 of a mile.

When I got to the point where I could run a complete mile at 6.5 mph between mile 2 and mile 3 of my run, then when the odometer hit 3 miles I sped up the treadmill to 7 mph and ran the final 1/10 of a mile at that speed. At the same time, I've been speeding up the second mile I run in the same increments—today I went from 6 mph to 6.5 mph at 1.7 miles and from 6.5 mph to 7 mph at 2.7 miles.

If I can keep up this pace then in just over two weeks I will run my first sub-nine minute mile ever in my life (8:34) and be well on my way to an eight minute mile, which is 7.5 mph. Pitifully slow by zygote standards, gazelle like speeds by my standards.

Plus, faster speeds mean that by the time 32 minutes rolls around I'm running well over my original 5K, boosting endurance at the same time as speed. BONUS!

I am tired at the end of each run but not excessively so. I mean, I hear people get off the stairmaster or treadmill and say they're going to hurl and I never push myself anywhere near that hard.

Okay, here's what I want to know O Running Geeks.

Would it be a good idea to insert a plateau in here from time to time? By that I mean that when I get to the point where I can run a whole mile at a given speed, should I stick to that for a week, give my body time to regroup? I am concerned about injury because at 54 my abilities to heal are not near what they were when I was a zygote.

Or, since I'm increasing things by such a tiny increment, can I keep up what I'm doing, cranking things up a teensy, tiny bit at a time until I hit my personal wall?

Whatcha think, eh?


Mileage on the Marnometer: 730.77 miles. 10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duckhalf way smooch Half way there. Oh, man, please let this be over

Goal for 2005: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers

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