Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Miles/Day = Good

My goal to average five miles per day of running, walking, etc. has been going well.  I actually am finding that I am running more of the miles than I expected.  Running is so much more efficient, and I often choose it over walking to get the miles in within a reasonable period of time.  I'm a busy guy and walking five miles takes almost 50% longer.   I do want to have days where I don't run for recovery purposes.  Interestingly enough, though, it seems that I'm adapting to running more miles more often.  I do feel a little more tender in some muscles after running, but the tenderness seems to mostly go away after a good night's sleep.  

My inspiration for my goal was the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.  Recently I listened to the audiobook version of his nonfiction book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  (I highly recommend it!)  I listened to it mostly while hiking and walking, and it really made me think about how running fits into my life and how I'd like to adapt my running.  

Murakami talks about how important distance running has been to him and how it has helped him to be a stronger novelist (more endurance).  He's been running everyday since the early 1980s and didn't start running until he was 33.  In the time period covered in the book (mostly 2006 - 2007), he talks about how he recently made a goal to run an average of six miles a day and how this goal had a big impact on his running and his body.  This is from someone who had already been running for over 20 years!  Of course, that got me thinking about how a similar goal could impact a novice runner such as myself.

A few highlights from the book and what they mean to me:

- Crying/screaming muscles will eventually stop making a fuss when they understand through repetition and perseverance that a certain amount of work (in my case, my new distance of five miles) is expected of them.  Also, how taking time off makes them scream again.  I had been running three days a week most weeks with days in between running, and my muscles always hurt when I ran.  Now I'm training them to work daily and they still hurt sometimes, but I think that it's a different, more bearable pain.  Also, I do have more moments of pleasurable running.  It'll be interesting to see how things change after a few months of working them every day.

- Murakami runs for distance, not speed.  I'm a pretty slow runner, and I enjoy running more after I've been going for a couple of miles.  In my running group, we mostly do short runs (~ 2.5 miles or so).  This was pretty much all the running I was doing before.  Now, I am running on my own in addition to what I do in the group.  When I run on my own, I don't try to go fast.  I just run for the distance.  This seems to be working for me.  However, I don't want to quit the group.  The group is good because I get training that focuses on different areas (speed, hills, form), and I am starting to see that as a supplement to my running rather than as my actual running.  I don't know if I will eventually become a long-distance runner, but I would like to work my way up gradually to greater distances.  This year, my only goal so far is to continue my average five miles per day and to do the Capitol 10K.  I may add more goals to my running later, but for now that's it.  I have no plans to do a marathon this year, though I would eventually like to complete one.

- Running longer distances makes your body adapt so that it can handle these distances better.  It changes your body.  After just 10 days, I'm noticing that it has really has amped up fat loss.  That's good.  Even though I have seen tremendous changes from following Dr. Fuhrman's dietary recommendations and exercising regularly, it's nice to see that accelerate even more.  While all of this is ultimately about health and feeling great, it's still nice to see my love handles start to shrink away a little more quickly.

- Running makes you stronger and that carries over into other areas of your life.  I'm sure that Jessica gets sick of hearing me talk about running, but she has also said that I have become a more positive person since I started running.  I do feel stronger, like I'm capable of doing more.  

Murakami doesn't proselytize about running since he thinks it may not be for everyone, but he shares his own experience for what it's worth knowing that some may gain from it.  In doing so, he definitely motivated me to think about my running and my goals.  This is a book I will listen to again, and I'm sure that I will gain more insights from doing so.

Exercise Log:
1/3: Running (5.03 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 2).  Total Miles for the day: 5.03
1/4: Walking (4.11 miles); Running group (2.48 miles) + hill training drills @ 7th St; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 3).  Total Miles for the day: 6.59
1/5: Walking (5.45 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 4).  Total Miles for the day: 5.45
1/6: Walking (2.51 miles); Running (5.08 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 5).  Total Miles for the day: 7.59
1/7: Running group (5.04 miles - ran some of this on my own after training) + drills + circuits @ Clark Field; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 6).  Total Miles for the day: 5.04
1/8: Running (5.23 miles); TotalGym Ab training.  Total Miles for the day: 5.23
1/9: Running (5.01 miles); Running group (1.84 miles) + drills @ TSD; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 1).  Total Miles for the day: 6.85
1/10: Running (3.69 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 2).  Total Miles for the day: 3.69 (averaged with previous day = 5.27 per day)


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