I hate running. Coronavirus and how I stopped worrying and learned to love the run.

Some Australian bush in the park seen from one of my runs.

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I hope everyone is doing alright, the world is an interesting place right now. I actually wrote most of this post a while ago and left it in draft. Things have changed but I thought it would be good just release these thoughts for fun and information. The part of Australia where I am located has sufficiently suppressed coronavirus enough (only 2 active cases at one point!) that gyms are allowed to reopen and contacts sports are now allowed! I had my first training session on the previous Saturday, and I am sore.

So I started running during the quarantine/lockdown/social distancing due to coronavirus/covid-19 as a way to keep fit whilst the gyms and other sporting activities are closed.

My history with running

My previous history with running really started during university. I didn’t play any team sports in my formative years so there was never any running as a part of training. During uni, as probably a lot young people do, I decided to get fitter and lose weight. What do people do when they want to lose weight and don’t know any better? They run!

I did a little bit of training, ran a couple of 5Ks and then stopped running. A few years later I was asked to run a 12K with a friend, trained a couple of times for that and ran the 12K. That was a couple years ago and have not run since then. Haha.

Why running over other exercise?

There were other exercise options that I could have chosen including bodyweight exercises, or kettlebells but I decided on running cause it was something I wanted to do. To progress on as it was something I had started previously. It also helped it was cheap and simple to do. I did try kettlebells for a few days but didn’t really feel it, and I didn’t have access to barbells or a bench for weights.

Training

So this is BJJ Systems, so we do like doing things in an organised and systematic manner. After some reading (a lot of information from /r/running and /r/AdvancedRunning on reddit), I found in general people recommend building a “base” by increasing your weekly mileage (kilometre-age?), that by itself would increase your speed for a novice runner. The majority of this running should be done at an easy pace, this means a conversational pace, a pace where you can speak easily. One day a week (usually a weekend day) should be designated your “long run”, where you’re running more than an hour, nearing two to increase your mileage. This long run should be 20-30% of your weekly mileage.

MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
TypeEasy Pace RunEasy Pace RunEasy Pace RunEasy Pace RunEasy Pace RunLong RunRest
Time40 min40 min40 min40 min40 mincurrently 65 min
Distance~6.5 km~6.5 km~6.5 km~6.5 km~6.5 km~10 km
Current (as of 2020/05/04) Weekly Training

After I get to around 50 km a week then it is time to add a variety of quality sessions. Speedwork, intervals and/or farleks throughout the week. Hill runs might also be a option if I find a good hill to run up.

When a get to a point, I’ll try one of the specific plans for specific race distance.

Here’s the log my training:

Goals

My initial goal for the lockdown to finish was getting to a point where I could do a 5K in under 20 minutes. I chose this kind of arbitrary since it is considered a relatively good time but not unachievable by a non-elite athlete. My starting 5K time was around 28 minutes and my current time around 26 minutes and I’ve now realised a 20 minute 5K is actually quite quick! I’ve realised I need to stage my goals, get a under 25 minute and then try to improve incrementally by a minute at a time.

What will it come to when the lockdown ends? I’ll probably stop running 6 days a week and maybe drop it down to 3 days a week, maybe join a local parkrun. I think I’ll try to do either a 12K or half marathon as soon as they are restarted.

From the future me: We moved back into the office and due to travel time and winter decreasing the amount of daylight running has been less consistent for me. With training back I’ll try to keep the long run during the weekend and try to fit in some easy pace runs during the week. I’m not much of a morning person so it is definitely “try”.

Equipment

So what have I been wearing? To be honest I’m a bit of a gearhead, I find when I get into anything I usually like purchasing gear associated with it. It actually feels like it makes me stick to things longer. Not really much added that I didn’t already had, hence why running is a pretty affordable activity.

  • Mizuno Nirvana Wave 9 shoes – I actually bough these in my first stint of running in 2014, 6 years ago! They still are running fine, though the soles are showing some signs of wear now. I’ve logged about 300 km on them this year alone. I’ll probably get a new pair when quarantine is over, get appropriate ones for my gait from a running store.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 4 – A GPS running watch for recording my running and also viewing my pace/HR during the run. It uploads the data to Garmin’s own system but also syncs it to Strava, Smashrun and Runanalyze.
  • Running Belt – Used to hold my phone and the house key. It keeps everything close to my waist so that I don’t feel the phone jiggling if it was in my pocket.
  • Iphone 8 – Used to play audiobooks and sometimes music or podcasts.
  • Apple Airpods Pro – for used with the Iphone to listen to audiobooks on. I tend to turn off the noise cancellation so I can hear runners or cyclists coming from behind.
  • Audible/Bound – The two apps I use for audiobooks.
  • Grappling Spats – It’s the start of winter in Australia and it gets pretty cold some days. So I’ve been using my grappling spats as compression legging to keep me a bit warm on some of my runs.

Improvement

Well, as noted at the start of the post, I have just returned to the gym and training. We will see how/if my cardio improved/maintain through this “roadwork”. All I know is that I am sore all over from judo right now.

I hope everyone is staying fit and healthy during these times.

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