While I’ve been doing bits of running for a few months at Orangetheory, that’s the only place I’ve been running since I started again. It feels safe to run on the treadmill. Nobody at Orangetheory is judging what I can or can’t do. Nobody cares if I’m dripping sweat. Nobody (except my coach) is even really paying attention to me. I’m able to feel safe in trying things and pushing myself to new limits.
But I’m aware that running on a treadmill is very different from running outside. And if I really do want to run/walk my 5K in November I have to start getting used to being outside and not being dependent on a treadmill to control my speed or intervals. I did a bunch of research last month about running outside and different apps for intervals to see what I could do to help me in this journey. And when I talked to my “running guru” (who is my best friend) she recommended looking into running watches.
I’ve had workout watches in the past. They always seemed to be too complicated to figure out how to do what I want to do. None of them had GPS on them so I could pretty much just time things and not know my pace or distance (unless I was doing a race and then I knew the distance). But the more I looked into running watches, the more it seemed to make sense. So when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told them I wanted a running watch. And I found last year’s model (it still seems like one of the better models) without the heart rate monitor option for a pretty decent price!
While I had gotten the watch about 3 weeks ago, yesterday was the first day I was able to test it out. I’ve been working on getting my sleep schedule back on track, so I’m finally waking up again at 7am each day. And yesterday I had a free morning before I started work at 10am, so I figured I had to stop making excuses for myself and get my butt outside to do a run/walk.
There is a path not too far from my house that has no traffic on it. You can technically run all the way to the beach, but then you will encounter some crosswalks that you have to get through. But I figured I could just go back and forth on one section between two crosswalks and then I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic, getting stopped at a red light waiting to cross, and if I got really tired I’d be close enough to my house.
Before going out, I set my watch to do intervals of 1 minute each. I actually ended up setting it up a bit incorrectly, but the error was in how many intervals I wanted total and not the timing so it worked out ok for me. And I had read the instructions for the watch and it seemed pretty easy to start and stop the timer so I wasn’t too worried about how this would all work.
As soon as I got to the path, I started the watch and started running. Because I hadn’t run outside before, I had no clue if I was going quickly or slowly. But I was going and it felt pretty good so I was happy with it. The first interval ended quickly and I was glad that running for that minute outside didn’t feel too bad or that different from being on the treadmill. I know that my walking was slower than I’m used to, but again, this run was all about trying it out and not trying to work on speed or anything.
I did 6 sets of the run/walk intervals (so 6 minutes of running and 6 minutes of walking) when I was starting to feel pretty tired. I’m used to being able to stop to drink some water or wipe away sweat and I really wasn’t doing that this time. It was starting to get a bit hot out and one of the directions I was running was into the sun. After one more interval, I was heading back toward my street and I was feeling a bit too tired to run (and I didn’t want to risk hurting myself by doing sloppy running). So I spend the rest of the way walking back and cooling down a bit.
Once I got to the end of the path by the crosswalk, I stopped the watch so I could see what I had done. I’m sure there is a way to see my pace or distance on the watch while I’m moving, but it was only showing me the intervals so I didn’t know how far I had gone and I honestly was feeling pretty clueless about it. It felt like I was not going that far, but I knew I was out there for 17 minutes so I figured I’d be close to a mile at least. I was pretty happy when I finally saw the result.
I would have loved to have gone farther, but I also have to remember that I’m trying to ease my way into running outside. The downfall in the past for me have been doing too much too fast. If I can only do a mile at a time for the next few weeks, that’s ok. Eventually my endurance is going to be better and I can go farther and run/walk longer.
Once I got back home, I was checking out more stats from my workout. A lot of things don’t make sense to me yet (I don’t really get the cadence stuff), but there was one screen that I totally got and was super happy to see.
This is not a mile PR for me, but the fact that I was under a 15 minute mile when I didn’t have a treadmill telling me my speed or distance is awesome! My big goal for my next race is to average under 15 minute miles, so this made me so happy! Again, the endurance thing is my main concern now, but I know I can work on that.
I feel like this was a very successful first run/walk outside. I’d love to be able to do 1 outside workout a week and hopefully I can make that happen. It is a bit intimidating running outside where people can see me (and judge me), but I need to not worry or focus on that. I know that I’ve made massive improvements in my running over these past few months and that’s the most important thing.