What I have learned about running in two years
5K, 10K, 3.1, 6.2, 13.1, 26.2, bib, tech shirts, training, PR, sprints, hill training, splits, carb loading, ct5K, ultramarathon…. And so many I more I can’t remember. I started running just for fun, my sister and I did a 5K… I honestly didn’t know how long a 5K was, just knew I had to run it. We did well, but people started asking me things, that I didn’t know how to answer “What was your time?” what ? Time? We started at 9:30 and finished at 10:02… that time? “What was your pace?” I was going slowish…. That pace? “how was your split?” I went running, there was no splitting. “Was this a PR for you?” A PR? Puerto Rican Rice? Where I want some, now please. Carb loading? Why, yes please!
I have learned a few things, mostly by trial and error. I have learned others by researching and others by reading books, magazines and blogs. Here is a few things that now I know
5K (Kilometers) - is a 5 Kilometers run, or 3.10 miles. My most popular run!
I like to tell people how far 3 miles are from the point we are standing at. I read in A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson, that once you hike, you get really good at telling distances. I believe the same for running, once you have to run 3.1 miles, you get really good at estimating how long 3 miles are from where you are standing. But for today, I’ll put it this way…. You are on the highway, driving 60MPH, 3 minutes of driving is the distance of a 5K.
I have seen runners complete this in 15 minutes, that’s 1 mile per minute, running as fast as they can for 15 minutes, but it seems that an average for this is 20-35 minutes. The way I see this: 27 minutes of running, out of breath, questioning all life choices, from the food consumed all week, to the now incredibly heavy jacket I’m wearing, the old worn sneakers, the chafing shirt…. Questioning why on earth a person would get up early, slap on a number and run around? I’ll tell you why, because when you are done, it feels amazing! It feels like anything can be accomplished. And most of the time, there are great snacks after the run! And if you registered on time, a t-shirt to brag about the 5K!
10K-10 Kilometers= 6.2 miles. – twice the life questioning, including questions on getting tattoos and triple the questions on clothing choices. But if planned right, it’s amazing! I cried when finishing my first 10K.
13.1- Half marathon- signed up for my fist one. Scheduled for October … but I’m guessing a whole lot of life questioning moments. It sounds scary…. I drive an average of 7 miles to work. To complete a half marathon, it would be running to and from work! Scary! Very scary!
26.2- 26.2 miles= Full Marathon- I don’t even want to think about it. I looked it up, and Wikepedia says that the name from the Greek Legend of Pheidippides. According to Legend, “he was sent from the battle field of name Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon” he announced they won the battle and then collapsed and died. Yes, died. And this is what we aspire to… the running 26.1 miles, not the dying. There is several other versions of the Greek Legend, but I chose the most dramatic one, for effect.
The first time somebody told me we had to pick up Bibs, I honestly had no idea what that meant. I kept saying “I’m picking up the number, not a bib”. I guessed we would be getting actual bibs, like babies, it sounded ridiculous, but so did running 3.1 miles for fun.
Bibs are those lovely printed numbers which runners wear on their stomach, legs, back, and /or chest, that are used to time tracking purposes. I have come to love my collection of bibs, for a while I had a thing for getting bibs with an odd number and came close to a nervous breakdown when I got an even number. But now, I’m over it! But I will not run a race if there is no bib.
Split- The speed at which each mile was run. During my short running career, I have learned that my second mile is typically my fastest. But I have also learned that this depends on the weather. If it’s cold, I will run faster my first mile.
PR – Personal Record. Recently I have seen this one being used as a verb… as in ‘I just PRd my rest day”…. Ok… that’s a funky way to use it. I had to look it up, kept seeing people saying on IG that the got PR, or that the just beat their PR. I looked it up and found out that it meant they beat their own personal record. This one I had to do more races to understand. Last year I ran 9 races, and at the time my biggest concern was running the entire race without stopping, and my training was very light, mostly running a couple of miles per week, a couple yoga classes, and lots of zumba. This year, after I signed up for the Hershey 10K, I had to really plan my training, include more cross training, longer runs, spring training, hill training and track exercises. The more I run, the better my time got. Last year, I completed the library run at 27.30 and immediately sent my sister a text message telling her that I would never beat that time again. My last 5K, also the Library Loop 5K was 24.56, which is now to date my best time…. And I’m telling myself again… I doubt that I can beat that time.
Hill training – a nightmare!! That’s what hill training is! Running as fast as you can up a hill? For as long as you can? Several times? Exact definition of insanity! But hill training is necessary, to keep improving at running. When doing runs in places I have not been to, it’s hard to know what to expect in respect to hills. Some races will say “relatively flat course” or “Almost flat course”. I have learned those definitions don’t mean the same to everybody. In March 2015, I ran the Irish Jig Jog 5K. The presenter went over the course before the run started, and said that it was mostly flat, little bit of a hill, but nothing much. The first 1 mile was going uphill, a slight uphill, but an uphill.
There are many things I’m still learning, and trying to practice… I’m being tortured with sprints and fartleks, both which are exhausting, but have helped me so much with my running. Maybe I’ll do a follow up… a What Else I have learned.