As I noted in my previous Weekly Workout Summary, I have jumped into the C25K program (Couch-to-5k) as a way to get refocused on my running in a more structured way, as well as to help me train for a walk-less 5k, something that seemed [seems?] like a bit of a pipe dream. I did run for 20 minutes straight, on April 5th, 2013. I followed that up with a 30 minute run [straight through, no stopping or walk breaks] the following day.
Since then though, having crossed the “run 30 minutes without stopping” off the ole’ fitness bucket list, I haven’t really focused on going any further or longer.
I should also point out that when I did the 20 min (and 30 min) runs, I did them on a treadmill, at a speed of 4.5 mph – which is technically jogging speed, not running speed. To me though, it felt good knowing I had “run” non-stop for 30 minutes, regardless of my pace, because a few months prior, I couldn’t run more than 2 minutes (at any speed) without needing to take a walk break. This was a big deal to me. And I’m still proud of that accomplishment.
But now I want to explore what more I can do.
On Sunday I decided to repeat the Week 5, Day 2 program I had done the day prior. (As you may remember, I decided to jump into the program at Week 5, Day 2, based on where I felt I was, capability-wise, on Saturday.) I repeated this run the day after the initial attempt because I wanted to try it outdoors, to compare it to the treadmill run from the day before.
Despite everything I have ever heard about outdoor runs being harder than treadmill runs, it turns out that I actually ran faster outside. I suspect this is because my pace is controlled on the treadmill, but I’m clearly able to (and do) go faster when I don’t have a gauge staring me in my face, reporting my speed back to me.
Here are the raw numbers:
- On Saturday (7th), I ran the Week 5, Day 2 program on a treadmill and finished at 3.26 kms.
- On Sunday (8th), I ran the Week 5, Day 2 program outdoors and finished at 3.58 kms.
Okay, so that’s really only slightly better. But it is better — and it was outdoors! And, it gave me some food for thought. How much faster am I capable of running, and why am I afraid to let myself go there on a treadmill?
I decided to try, whenever possible, to run my C25K program outdoors from there on in.
And that’s when it started to get really interesting:
- On Tuesday (10th), I ran the Week 5, Day 3 program and finished at 3.79 kms
- Average speed of 8:06 min/km or 13:03 min/mile and a fastest lap of 7:33 min/km or 12:33 min/mile.
- On Thursday (12th), I ran the Week 6, Day 1 program and finished at 4.84 kms
- Average speed of 7:01 min/km or 11:18 min/mile and a fastest lap of 4:24 min/km or 9:44 min/mile.
A 9:44 min mile is a pace of 6.2 mph. Wait…WHAT?? I ran outside, with hills [and wind] a 9:44 mile. I was dumbfounded when I saw the stats on the screen, and I still am, as I type this.
I have never run at 6.0 mph for more than 3 minutes or at 6.5 for more than 2 minutes.
These were my limits. I knew my limits. I respected my limits.
Yet, it seems, they are no longer.
For some reason I am sabotaging myself when I am aware of my speed. My body, clearly taking cues from my brain, shuts down when the numbers are higher than my self-imposed limits.
I need to understand why. Why I can’t do on a treadmill what I can do on pavement.
Funny how The Little Engine told himself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” when my mind seems determined to bombard me with “I know you can’t, I know you can’t, I know you can’t…”
But I can. So… WTF brain?? Piss off.
Just when I thought I had a handle on my crazy… Clearly it’s time to do some more excavating. Don’t mind the backhoe; it’s just me clearing some more baggage out of the way so I can get to the root of the problem.
Wish me luck.