The Pitfalls of Commute Running

The nice thing about the morning commute runs is being able to run when it’s cool. For the last two weeks I’ve done my commute runs to work on Tuesday and Thursday, as planned. The Tuesday run is straight to work, which is a little over 3 miles. The Thursday run winds through the neighborhood near work so that I can get 5 miles in. The first three runs went off without a hitch. This morning, however, I realized that I had forgotten to leave a pair of shoes at the office yesterday that I could reasonably wear with the skirt that I’d left. So I threw a pair of sandals into a bag, hung them on my water belt and off I went. It was a little awkward to have my bag of shoes flopping at my side, but it wasn’t really that annoying and certainly better than wearing my running shoes all day.

I need to make myself a little checklist to make sure I bring a change of clothes as well as shoes to leave at work on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you ever decide to try the commute run, another thing to keep in mind is that you want to bring clothes that aren’t going to wrinkle. There’s no need to look all rumpled and unkempt.

So the other thing I did this morning was to try a little bit of speed play or interval training. I’m honestly not sure which heading it falls under. Possibly both. Here’s what I did:

I started off with a 5 minute warm-up walk. For the rest of first mile I used the usual easy 30s run/30s walk split and a comfortable pace. Then for mile 2 I changed it up and did 30s easy run/30s run faster/30s walk. I started mile 3 with a 60 second walk break and then went back to my easy 30s/30s. For mile 4 I tried the 30s easy run/30s run faster/30s walk again, before starting my last mile with another 60 second walk break and going back to the 30s/30s easy, comfortable pace. I did walk the last few minutes and then kept moving a bit to get a decent cool down. I’m also very lucky that there is a shower in a nearby building that I am able to use.

The strange thing about my run this morning is that my time was exactly the same as last week’s 5 mile run. 1 hour and 3 minutes. To be fair, I did run into Emily, an awesome pace group buddy, on the way to work and stopped to chat for a minute. But still, it seems odd that I wouldn’t have been faster, given the 2 miles where I tried the 30s run/30s run faster/30s walk. It will be interesting to experiment with this idea further.

In other news, I registered for the Sweathouse Half Marathon yesterday. It’s more than a month off, so my plan is still just to keep running 12 to 13 miles every Saturday between now an then and stay in half marathon shape. I’m not sure if I should taper the weekend before or not. I’ll need to do a bit of reading on that.

I’m also considering what types of blog posts to write between now and then. I think I have some ideas for a series of posts on things I’ve learned, things I wish I’d known at the beginning and ideas for new runners. I just have to sort it all out and start posting.

Thirty six days until my first half marathon race. This nerd girl just keeps on runnin’.



Sometimes it’s the Little Things

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m setting a weekly mileage goal for myself of 20 or more miles per week. I’m planning for my longest run each week to be on Saturday. In that vein, yesterday I went to the Saturday Morning Breakfast Run thinking that I’d run 5 miles, which I had incorrectly assumed was the longest of the pre-planned routes. In order to get my miles in for the day I opted to run from home, to the Runner’s Edge and back again afterward.

Upon arriving, I found that one friend was planning to run the longest of the routes, which was in fact 8 miles, while the rest of my former class-mates seemed to be opting for a short 3 mile run which was too short for me. So off I went with my friend on the 8 mile route. The friend in question is faster than I am, so I had to speed up and he had to slow down a bit so we could stay together. Given that I’m not really sore today, I don’t think I went beyond my capabilities, so I’m sure it was actually good for me.  And I did opt to run home afterward, even though I’d gone on a longer run than originally planned. My total mileage for the day was 12.7 and I’m very happy with that.

I think that this will be my new Saturday routine, now. My house is about 2.5 miles from the meeting place (depending on which route I take), so I can easily combine the three legs of my journey into 12 to 13 miles of run/walking, even if I walk around downtown before I run home, as I did yesterday. Running to and from the group run seems like an easy way to tack on some extra mileage. Combine that with my plan of a 3 mile and a 5 mile commute run during the week and hitting my 20 mile goal will be easy! And I’ll stay in shape for any upcoming half marathons I decide to do.

I find that running in a group for my longer runs is really helpful. I think I’m mentally able to run considerably farther when I’m with other people. Hopefully I’ll continue to find people to run the 8 mile route with. It’s not the easiest route in the world. It has a pretty significant hill in the first half, which makes it even better from a fitness standpoint, but a little harder to talk myself into doing solo.

I plan to keep on blogging as well. I’ll keep you up to date on my goals and my running as well as anything new I learn.  I’m also putting together a post about things I wish I’d known from the beginning. Everyone will have different experiences, but perhaps some of what I’ve learned can help someone else have a slightly easier time.

I’ve got 47 days until the Sweathouse Half Marathon and I’m looking forward to it!