Run training diary, week 1: Starting over

Hi-ho, friends.

We’re in a long, hot summer, in maybe the weirdest year I’ve lived so far.

In the months leading up to my wedding, my sister-in-law (my now-wife’s brother’s wife) suggested we run a 5K every month until the wedding. We ran one together and then she got hurt, but I got the bug.

I was well into my 30s.

I ran a marathon about seven weeks before our daughter was born. That was November 2018. It was my first, and probably my last. I felt great for about 14 miles, and then I felt terrible for about six weeks.

Our daughter was born Christmas Eve, 2018, and after that, running took a back seat. By early this year, not only was I missing the activity, but I was feeling entirely not myself. I didn’t recognize who I was inside my head — running, after all, isn’t only physical.

When COVID hit, it got worse. No need to go too deeply into it, but if you want to hear a little about the psychology of fear and overwhelm we discussed it for about 7 or 8 straight weeks on the JKWD Podcast. But with two of us at home, it gave me the opportunity to start running.

So, with my wife’s support, I committed to some races. Skin in the game is important to goal setting, so I signed up before I started training.

Assuming COVID doesn’t cancel them, I’ll run the local edition of the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon on Nov. 7 and the Savannah Bridge Run on Dec. 5. The Bridge Run offers a 5K and a 10K, and I’ll do what they call a double-pump, which is both of them. There is a pause between the 5K and the 10K, so it’s not a straight 15K.

I’ll post a run diary every Tuesday along the way. I’m using a prescribed 20-week training program for the half marathon, and then I’ll make something up for the four weeks after it through the 15K (I’ve already set out the prescription; I won’t make it up as I go along).

I’m happy to share the training schedule if anyone wants it.

Starting vitals: I’m 43 years old, 5’2″ and 181 pounds. I desperately need to shed some of this weight — it’s way outside of healthy range, and it’s been getting harder to take off the older I get. I’ll weigh in on Tuesdays, the first run of the week, but I’ll be reporting last week’s weight when I do (so, the weight I’m reporting today is my weight from last Tuesday).

Yes, you’ll see me wear the same half dozen or so shirts and the same couple of hats and/or headbands along the way. Yes, they get washed. No, I don’t take a photo every run.

Because of my work schedule, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday runs will be later in the morning than I’d like, which means it’ll be hot, so typically they’ll be slower.

My pre-run regimen: Water (24-36oz), a cup of coffee with turmeric non-dairy creamer, an over-the-counter allergy pill, and then beta alanine, Shroom Tech Sport and Alpha Brain from Onnit.

I’m tracking distance, time, pacing and heart rate with a discontinued model of a Garmin Forerunner on my left wrist and the recovery and strain stats with a Whoop strap on my right wrist.

A little explanation on the Whoop stats: Sleep is a percentage of actual sleep vs. sleep needed. Sleep needed is determined based on previous sleep, recovery, strain, heart rate variability, resting heart rate and breathing rate.

Recovery is based on previous night’s sleep, heart rate variability, resting heart rate and breathing rate.

Strain is out of a max of 21 and accumulates throughout the day; I’m breaking it out for only the run. I imagine it’s based on duration and heart rate. I’m letting the strap auto-detect the activity. If I see a grossly inaccurate detection, I’ll correct it, but I haven’t seen that yet for a run. It happens a couple of times a week with sleep — if I get up to use the restroom or to feed the baby, if I’m up for long enough or my heart rate moves enough, it’ll detect a wake-up time that might be way off.

Anyway, thanks for hanging in on the rambles. The other posts won’t be nearly this long.

Week 1 starting weight: 181 pounds.

Date Prescribed Actual Time Pace Avg HR Max HR Sleep Recovery Strain (run only)
6/23 3 3.13 37:45 12:05 163 190 69 91 17.3
6/25 3 3.04 37:32 12:20 157 177 61 31 14.7
6/27 4 4.02 51:39 12:51 150 196 78 60 14.8
6/28 3 3.16 38:24 12:09 149 181 65 91 13.2

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