My first 3-mile run

RunKeeper Goals view
RunKeeper Goals view

In my last post I talked about how I’m training to run a 5K in March ’15. I had been using the Couch to 5K app, because I liked the structured workouts and coaching features.

Well last Sunday I decided to give RunKeeper a try, because I noticed a lot of my friends on Facebook were using it. So far I love RunKeeper, and I plan to stick with it. I’m doing a beginner 5K plan, and unlike Couch to 5K, it doesn’t break up the running time with walking time. Instead, workouts will be just “go on a 1.5 mile jog/walk.” So you are free to do whatever — run/jog, and stop to walk if you need to catch your breath, and then start running/jogging again. The plan also includes interval training to help develop speed. Gradually it increases the running distance to the 3 miles required for a 5K.

Ever since switching to RunKeeper, I have seen huge improvements in my performance. In my last entry I talked about how I found it difficult to run for 5 minutes straight. Well, in all of my workouts this week, I’ve run for 5 minutes without even realizing it. Knowing that I can stop to walk whenever I want really removes the mental state of thinking, “how am I going to get through 5 whole minutes?!”

This afternoon I surprised myself by jogging at a slow and steady speed from my neighborhood down to Lake Merritt. By the end of the 45-minute workout, I had gone halfway around the lake (it’s 3 miles around the perimeter). The surprising thing was that I jogged most of the time, and stopped to walk fewer times than usual (I think only 2 or 3 times total). 3.35 miles! I’ve never done anything like that before. My overall pace was a little faster today as well. 13:33 average, down from the 14 minute per mile range, where I’d been averaging all last week. I think it’s because I stopped to walk less often.

I don’t know if I’m really getting better, or if the terrain was easier (as in fewer inclines), or if I was just in the right mood today. As I do more workouts, I’ll have a more accurate view of whether or not today was a fluke or genuine improvement. Either way, I’m super encouraged and can’t wait to continue.

Now that I’ve done the entire distance of a 5K, I know I can do it. The goal moving forward is to continue improving as much as I can between now and March, and try as hard as possible to stay consistent.

The main issue I have with RunKeeper is that the training plans are based on a specific dates (with Couch to 5K, you can do them whenever you want). This is both good and bad. It’s good because there’s more pressure to do a workout that’s scheduled for that day. It’s bad because that pressure does add more stress. Maybe that’s a good thing though?

I also am not done with Couch to 5K. I still think it’s a great program and I will go back to it at some point to finish up the training plan that I started.

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