10 Sep 2010

I Might Actually Enjoy This Running Thing

I use RunKeeper to track my running, and it keeps a record of everything online.  The two interesting tabs on their site are Activities and FitnessReports, but not everything in the FitnessReports is available because I don't subscribe to Elite (yet).  To get me started (and keep me going) with this whole running thing, I've been loosely following the Couch To 5K running plan.  I started off with week 5 a little while ago, but I haven't really been following through as much as I should so I'm starting week 7 next week.

It takes about 40mins for me to get around one of the local reservoirs, but the workouts are only about 30 minutes long, so I've been spending the extra time alternating between running & walking. The last few times out, I have been walking less & less (which is a good thing).  Actually, just today I ran more than half of the extra time out - I refer to it as "the moment", but there must be a better term for it.  It's when you're running, and it's work, but it isn't all-encompassing horror and pain.  It's more like waiting, or just being.  I don't necessarily realize I've hit that moment as it occurs - it's just suddenly I realize that I'm just hanging out in my head thinking about things (I usually listen to tech/startup podcasts while I run) and my body happens to be running.  I think of it as if my idle state has changed from sitting to running.

Running is usually a pretty horrific experience for me, so that's a fantastic moment when I can actually tolerate (or *gasp* enjoy) some of my time out there.  The fact that it's typically such a horrid experience makes me need Something™ to keep me going.  Strange as it may be, it's the C25K plan & RunKeeper that do it for me.  Specifically, it's the lack of control or the removal of decision-making power that the C25K plan provides & the continuous/ongoing statistics that RunKeeper provides.

Since the C25K plan specifically organizes every workout (go check out the site if haven't yet, you'll see what I'm talking about when you look at the schedule), I no longer have the choice of stopping or walking mid-workout.  That's not the plan; that's not allowed; so that's not going to happen.  RunKeeper helps out here, too, because I can program training sessions in the iPhone app which will alert me of all the intervals.  I can just start the workout in the iPhone app, play some music or a podcast, and follow instructions.  Then, after the run, I can see all sorts of statistical details on that and all my other workouts (and how they compare).  That's the other aspect of what keeps me going - making the charts & graphs bigger or more detailed.  It adds a bit of a game layer to running, which Seth Priebatsch in the linked video can explain much better than I can...

Update: RunKeeper Pro is free now!  Get it here.


c25k couch-to-5k iphone runkeeper running

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