• Proper Pacing Produces Pleasing Progress

    After my last post, in which I lamented being unable to reduce my walking segments, no matter how well I was able to increase my running segments, my friend Lori gave me a suggestion.  She related how she would unconsciously increase her running pace when she upgraded some other part of her running, and that caused similar problems for her.  That sounded reasonable, so I did some research on pacing and foot-placement, and spent the last week trying out a few things.


    What I’ve discovered is that she was absolutely right, and I was both overpacing and outreaching my stride.  I did some math on where my running segments were stopping and starting at a given level, and realized that I was running faster each time I tried to reduce my walking segments, sure enough!  I also discovered that I was overeaching by at least three inches each time I took a step, instead of landing mid-foot directly under my center of gravity.


    I fixed the outreaching first, and it made a huge difference immediately.  I was able to run longer and with less effort on the first try.  Then I tried to add in controlling my pace better.  That’s a lot more slippery to quantify, but the fact that I’m aware of it is probably enough in the first place, and I saw even more improvements in my stamina and breathing.


    I’m running so much more efficiently now that in one week, I’ve increased the length of my running segments by 40%!  Where a week ago Friday, I was doing 500 steps to a running segment, and getting right to the limits of my energy doing so, by this morning I managed 700 steps per segment, and while it was certainly not an easy run, I never once even considered needing to break my rhythm due to fatigue or pain. On top of that, I made my two miles today in 22 minutes, which is of course terribly slow for a real runner, but is nearly three minutes off (12%) for a shlub like me!


    Now that I’ve fixed my running, I’m going to try reducing my walking segments again.  I’m going to give my body one more run at my newest running segment length, just to be sure I’m acclimated, and then the walking will begin to go!


    Fingers crossed!


    6 comments to "Proper Pacing Produces Pleasing Progress"

    • Are you kidding me? 2 miles in 22 minutes is an 11 minute mile, which is nothing to sneeze at. Take into account that you walked some of that 2 miles, that’s really good. That means when you do run, it’s at a pace faster than 11 minute miles. Give yourself credit.

    • Really? The inarwebs says that for anything less than a 5k, my goal should be something like 7 minute miles. And, my two miles is really more like 1.85 miles.

      True, though, I am still walking about 400 yards of that 1.85 miles, so if I were to keep up that pace the whole run, it’d probably be more like 20 minutes for the whole course. I suppose we’ll see if I can finally ditch some walking next week!

    • Good to see that you’re feeling progress! I was on the Runner’s World web site using their training calculator last night and determined that my LSD and easy runs should be around 13 minutes/mile. (This is based on entering a 5K time of 33 minutes, which is a fairly comfortable pace at this point, and I think I could go faster in a race.) Keeping this slow, sustained pace is harder than you think.

    • Blaise, I’ve been following the (a href=”http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml?cmp=18-1″>Couch-to-5k program these past few months, and I’ve gone from barely being able to run for 30 seconds at a time back in May to regularly running 25 minutes at a time here at the end of September. Of course, I am still “slow” like you – currently running 2 miles in about 20-24 minutes (which is the best I’ve ever done; I’ve got my first 3k “fun run” coming up next week, too).

    • That’s awesome, man! It’s kinda life-changing, isn’t it?

      The “Couch to 5k” plan is one of the ones that makes me worry about myself a bit. It took me a month to move through the stuff they list as “week 4”, and a month later, even though now I’m getting the technical stuff figured out, I’m still only about half-way through “week 5”.

    • It took me a 1.5 months to get through week 6! One thing I like about the Couch to 5k plan is that they advise you to go back a week or two when you start having trouble. I was doing great through week 5, then week 6 hit me like a wall.

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