It’s Getting Better All the Time

It’s the name of a Beatles song I enjoyed as a kid, but I find myself saying this to myself as my speeds are finally starting to come up a bit on my runs. I’m not nearly as fast yet as I’d like to be in six weeks, but I know that the real improvements will start coming soon enough.

I performed well enough during HIIT exercises with my military unit last week, but my long-distance running is still slow. I will continue with HIIT once a week and two-three longer, slower runs. According to everything I’ve read, this should help improve my run times.

I also need to reintroduce my weightlifting. I think I’ll be ready for it in March. Until then, I look longingly at my weights and rack, looking forward to the day I can start using them again.

Three Weeks of Running, and…

It’s incredible how much better I feel, both physically and mentally. I’m able to run without any sort of pain or soreness aside from the standard, “I just ran” soreness which is natural and good. I may very well start running more often now.

I have a run scheduled for tonight, and I’m going to take it easy again: a 5.7 mph pace. I may kick it up for the last .5 or .25 miles to 6+ mph, but we’ll see how I feel. Anyway, I remember reading many years ago that it takes three weeks for initial conditioning to take place, and here I am, three weeks later, and I’m able to work out without lingering soreness or pain. I guess “They” were right.

I’m not fast yet. But I wasn’t working on that part. I’m running, and that’s what I wanted to achieve at the end of this three week period. Now, I will begin working on speed by implementing a routine of sprints and weightlifting. I just need my shoulder to get with the plan and stop being sore.

Rest Day Yesterday

Yesterday was a rest day; today is a move day.

The good news about yesterday is that my legs felt normal for the first time in weeks after a run. Immediately after the run on Wednesday, I still had slight spaghetti legs, but that went away after an hour or so, and Thursday, my legs felt as normal as they ever feel. Today, I’m ready to run.

Rest days are super important. In my experience, having a day of rest between workouts has helped me keep from injuring myself during my runs, and allowed me to make some great progress and reach new levels of fitness in a relatively short period of time.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s run to see how it is. I’m hoping for some improvements in speed and in ease. We’ll see how it goes.

Making Progress Again

Me after a 2.8 mile run. Hopefully I’ll be back to 3+ miles soon.

It was a five-month break from running. It was a long, miserable, and depressing five months, but I’m past it now. I’m in my third week back to running, and while my legs are still getting used to it and I’m still very slow, it is getting better, and I’m already seeing progress.

Unlike the first time I got into running after a 20 year break, this time has been much easier, although if I’m being honest, I’m pushing myself harder now that I did the last time. Back in 2016 when I got back into running, I was taking it easy. I was making very slow but steady progress, and I focused more on not feeling any pain than making progress. That led me to making small but solid gains over three months. This time, however, I’m in the National Guard, and fitness isn’t something that’s nice to do; we MUST be fit. So, I’m pushing myself much harder.

The funny part; it doesn’t seem to make my progress any faster. I’m in my third week, and while I am seeing myself get faster and the soreness after the runs is decreasing each time, I’m not making the huge gains that I’d have expected commensurate with the effort I’m putting in. It makes me wonder if the route I took the first time was better or not.

Regardless, I have physical fitness tests to pass and schools to attend that verify height/weight adherence and PFT scores, so I don’t have the luxury of taking it easy. Besides, I really want to run faster and eventually to be able to do a run and feel great afterward like I used to. So, I continue to push hard.

I am being very careful to not push too hard, though. The last thing I need is another injury. That’s what put me in this position, so I’m very careful to listen to my body and to analyze the pain I feel at any point. So far, it’s been “Good” pain which is muscle burn or getting past the soreness of seldom-used joints, ligaments, and muscles. The bad pain is easy to recognize: these are injury pains. Fortunately, I haven’t felt any of those yet.

If you’ve taken a break from running for a long time, what are some things that helped you get back into the swing of things? What helped you get your speed back? What helped with relieving the muscle pain?

Progress is progress

I started my weightlifting last week. In that time, I’ve increased my squats weight every time. On the StrongLifts 5×5 program, you actually increase weights every single workout. It sounds intense, and aside from the DOMS pain I had the first week, so far, it’s been completely manageable. Sure, at some point it’ll become impossible to progress, but that day is far off for me. I started with the starter weight amounts, and while they feel easy in the beginning, by the last set of each exercise, I feel mostly pretty tired. I’ve not yet noticed it getting really hard yet, but again, after just a week, it’s more about learning the proper form and movements of each exercise. There are a few that still feel awkward to me; I need to work more on my form for those.

In related news, I received a new set of weights, a new bar, and a new bench. Much like any hobby or endeavor, you learn what works best for you by doing. The weights I bought to start with were acceptable but the attachment system for the weights was annoying and used up a lot of time. Also, the bar wasn’t weighted and was throwing off all my calculations for weights. I needed to get a bar and weights that were standard, so I did that. It wasn’t cheap, but I figured that an investment in my health and fitness was worth the expense. It does feel good to be using high-quality weights and a very nice bar.

So, the graph on the weights I am lifting are on the climb. It looks great (I love data!), and I feel great. I look forward to five weeks in the future to see where I’ll be then!

Running? Weightlifting?

This site’s current URL is running.paleomarine.com. I think that’s going to change to fitness.paleomarine.com, or maybe exercise.paleomarine.com. Not sure which yet. But the reason for that is that I don’t just run anymore. Heck, right now, I’m not running regularly because I’m doing StrongLifts 5×5. I need to increase my strength much more than I need to get fast. I know that within 6 weeks, I can get my run times to where I need them to be to pass an APFT with a 70 or better in the running event. My push ups and sit ups will be just fine with the weight lifting (and the fact that I’ll continue to do push ups after my weightlifting). What is NOT okay is my upper body strength right now (and that is unacceptable).

So, it’s all up to weightlifting for me now.

I have purchased my own free weights, squat rack, and bench. I have a gym in the house that I can use anytime to get my workouts in. I’m actually excited and motivated in a way I don’t remember myself being in a long time. I actually look forward to working out and getting stronger.

So, you may see more from me here in this space, but it won’t just be about running. It’ll be about just about anything I do to get stronger, faster, and leaner.

Unplanned Running

I had to do a stress test as part of my annual physical, and part of that was running on a treadmill on an incline. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal at all, but I ran hard yesterday, and while my legs weren’t sore when I went into the run, they certainly were when I got done.

I passed the test with flying colors; the doctor was very impressed with my heart’s performance during the test. I had to take an extended test because my heart rate stayed very low when most other people’s heart rates would have reached their max. The funny part for me is that I never felt out of breath or tired, but my legs began to burn something fierce. Were it not for that, I could have easily gone 30 minutes.

So, I will take tomorrow off from my scheduled run and catch back up later this week. I need to let these old legs rest a bit.