Analyzing My Run: The 3-Miler

Hello and happy weekend! 😀 The weather is absolutely gorgeous today, so it was a lovely day to get out and get some miles in.

In my last post I freaked out a little because I’ve got a half marathon coming up very quickly, and I am nowhere near prepared. For at least part of my brain, it’s tempting to use a morning like today to up my mileage so I feel even a little like I’m getting closer to half-marathon-shape. However, I am terrified of injuring myself and know that upping mileage too much too quickly is a recipe for disaster (see RW’s 10% rule).

Last week I ran 5 miles: 2 under-hydrated, post-work miles around my neighborhood, and 3 miles with the Shammies… well, 1 mile with the Shammies, in which I started much too quickly and 2 by myself after I split off to a more familiar trail and a buddy-less situation where I wouldn’t feel embarrassed if I needed to walk:

The run with the Shammies... the first mile did me in.

Run with the Shammies: the first mile did me in!

Earlier this week, Drew and I hit the lake trail for 2 slow and ankle-turn-y miles, leaving a need for 3.5 miles if I were going to follow the 10% rule. That said, I didn’t calculate how much 10% of 5 miles was until just now (and it’s a pretty easy calculation, I know… I don’t have a math brain!), and for some reason I thought it would be more than sufficient if I did 3 miles again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I hopped on MapMyRun to give their Route Genius tool a go – you put in your starting address and how many miles you want to run, and it spits out a route for you to follow. If you don’t like it, you can hit the “recommend a new route” button as many times as you want. I had never used it before and had maybe too much fun hitting the button again and again to see where it would take me. (Map nerd alert!)

Anyway, armed with my fun new route, I did a quick warmup and hit the pavement. I ran the first mile, took a walk break, and then not far into the second mile began regretting not taking a walk break sooner. I had gassed myself in the first mile – yet again – and caught a few rides on the struggle bus for the rest of the run. It was near 70* (20 C) already at 8:30, and my fancy new route was not only dragging me up All. The. Hills. but it was also making me run into the sun for 75% of the time.

My head was very red and throbbing so much when I stopped that I decided to keep walking for another mile(ish) as a cool down. My splits were thus:

3miler2I need to learn how to take it easy in the first mile on these runs. Clearly.

I also had many thoughts as I ran/walked/dragged myself along, and decided it might be fun to share them. So below is the little graph of my run from Garmin Connect, featuring little asterisks that mark the highlights:

3miler11: [Simon beeps for 1 mile] Oh God, that mile seemed like an eternity. This walking break is the best thing ever.

2: Woohoo, crossed Main Street and now I have to run at least somewhat normally because there are so many cars driving by. I wish I weren’t so self-conscious.

3: Holy hill, Batman! Why didn’t I check the elevation before deciding to do this route??

4: Steep downhill that ends abruptly on a busy road with no sidewalks… yeah, I’m going to slam to a halt here.

5: [Simon beeps for 2 miles] Thank God, another mile done. Another walk break, another tissue break. Boo, pollen. Boo.

6: [Cat trots across the street toward me, so I stop to crouch and hold out a hand] “Kitty!!”
[Cat looks at my hand and possibly crazed smile and gives me a wide berth] Aww. 😦 Bye kitty.

7: FFS another hill?!? Will I never be free?

8: [Slight dip] Ooh, the beep for 3 miles, huzzah! But I’ve got a lady with a dog immediately behind me and if I stop now that could cause a situation. Maybe I’ll try for a full 5K.
[Deep valley] Well… not a full 5K but this intersection with a stoplight is as good a place to call it as any. Right?

9: [In Dunkin Donuts, forgetting to pause Simon]

10: [One final spike] Wheeeeecrossingthestreetrealquickthankyou

The tiny bumps on the elevation chart look completely harmless, but holy mackerel… some of those hills were basically straight up. I tried running up the first one and quickly decided that all hills would be walked. So I walked quite a lot.

I felt pretty miserable for most of the run, but felt awesome once I was walking my cool-down. I spent most of that .96-of-a-mile walk thinking back and analyzing the run, and here’s what I decided:

What didn’t work:

  • Lack of hydration
    You’d think I’d get this concept by now, wouldn’t you? *sigh* I went to the pub with some coworkers yesterday, and then had some cheeky alcopops after supper. I don’t think the carton of coconut water in the middle was really enough to rehydrate me, especially as I had drunk only coffee during the day and no water. No need to say anything; I am hanging my head in shame as I type. I also only had a few sips of water before the run. No good.
  • Insufficient fueling
    It was only 3 miles, but I didn’t feel like I had much gas in my tank. I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and half a banana before the run… and intended to run about a half-hour after eating… but spent a bit longer (more like an hour) than that playing with the Route Genius. I think I either needed to run sooner, or have a more substantial breakfast.
  • Going out too fast
    This is something I know I need to work on… and if I were following GRG’s intervals plan, I’d probably be handling it better. My new gait makes me run faster, but my fitness levels aren’t quite up to the task of maintaining that pace for long. Apparently at some point I decided to do this the hard way. Maybe I should give the intervals another go…
  • Running into the sun
    I should have worn a hat. Or I should invest in sunglasses that aren’t so cheap so that I don’t squint constantly even when I’m wearing them. I was squinty and hot and red and throbbing and that made the run feel endless.

What did work:

  • Motivation tactics
    -Drew had an early soccer game, so I made myself get up with him at the crack of dawn, even though I wanted to stay in bed. The peer pressure helped get me going.
    -I need coffee in the morning, and so told myself that I could have Dunkies as a reward for finishing the run. I picked a route that would end near a Dunkies for that purpose, and the dangling carrot definitely helped.
  • Taking a long cool-down walk and stretching
    I usually don’t do much of a cool-down… maybe a few yards of walking, but that’s generally it. And my relationship with stretching has been all over the place. But I walked nearly a mile to cool down, and then took the time to stretch properly, and my body feels great – no niggles to speak of. I must remember this in the future when I just want to sit down after a run!

Usually running a new route helps as well, since I can distract myself with new things to look at. That definitely helped my little neighborhood 2-miler last week; I took a detour through a new development that’s being built, and distracted myself so well by gawking at all the giant houses that I didn’t even realize I was running low-9:00s/high-8:00s. However, today I was so red and throbby and thirsty and angry at hills that I hardly looked around.

The good thing about all the hills, I suppose, is that the half I’m doing in less than a month (!) is supposed to be pretty hilly. Might as well get used to dealing with them sooner rather than later, eh?

I guess my all-over-the-place brain has exhausted the analyses for this run. Thanks for sticking with me, if you did, and if you didn’t, I don’t blame you 😉 Stay tuned for more run analyses as I try to distract my still-panicky brain before the half marathon!

Do you like to switch it up with new routes, or do you tend to stick to the tried and true?

How’s your weekend going? Are you racing?

6 thoughts on “Analyzing My Run: The 3-Miler

  1. I’d never heard of the route finder thing before. I got stuck on the free website for way too long! 🙂 Except 99.9% of the routes it suggested were horrible! It really loved the freeway for routes! Yeah, no. Fueling is something I really need to work on- I ran 12 mile today on 2 sausage patties and a cookie. Not at the same time but still. Oops!

    • Yikes, freeway routes are no good!! Sounds like they may need to work out some kinks on that thing 🙂 99% of the routes it gives me are wicked hilly, but it’s fun to play with!

  2. Sounds like you had quite an adventure! In theory I like new routes and scenery, but in reality, I’m a creature of habit and like to know the terrain and where I am and how far I’ve gone, so I tend to do the same routes over and over.

    • I get that. I tend to default to my pond loop route most of the time… and have fallen back on it often when my new experimental routes always end up being incredibly hilly! 😉

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