Some people are "born runners." They were on their high school track team, ran multiple marathons, and would run 10 miles just for fun. I am NOT one of those people. I quit the high school track team and would really only run if someone was chasing me.
All of this changed about five years ago when I started to count macros and ran to keep myself in a calorie deficiency. The run prep was still a motivational struggle. Putting on my running shoes, lace them up, find my armband for my phone, grab my earphones *where I put those damn earphones*, do a little stretching, and then take off. After that first 1/2 a mile, I am good-to-go. Usually never going over 4 1/2 miles, with an occasional, unplanned six or 7-mile run.
The back story
In 2019 I decided to run my first 1/2 marathon, which was in Florida in February.
I don't know about everyone else, but I absolutely, positively HATE the cold (I live in the wrong part of the country), and because of this, it has hindered ANY training in the months leading up to my race. Loan-be-hold the day of the race, I ran all 13.1 miles without stopping. But your best bet that I was SORE after-for like a week. Did I mention that the race was in Disney, so of course, for the following 4-days, I put in a boatload of extra miles, walking around the parks.
I vowed right then and there that my next race, I will train for it.
Later that year, I decided to run the Army 10-miler in Washington DC. Since the race was in October, I knew that I could get in some solid training. The question was, what type of training was going to be the most effective? After researching and talking with many advent runners, a friend referred me to a running coach, who introduced me to Runners Connect and heart rate zone running. Here is a good heart rate zone basic blog to get you started. In basic terms, every run is for time and not distance, and you strive to keep your heart rate within certain parameters. Owning a watch that will show you your current heart rate is ideal for this type of training. I love my Polar Ignite! It's cost-effective, stylish, and simple.
I trained for a solid 12-weeks leading up to my race. It was really beneficial and worked with my busy schedule because I knew just how long I had to run on any given day.
I am proud to say that I ran my best time! Under 90 minutes to complete the race. I wanted to continue with running in my heart rate zones but after that race. I didn't have another lined up, and then dun, dun duuuuuun winter hit. And as I mentioned, I am NOT one for the cold. So, again my training took the back seat to the bitter coldness of New England.
How I started running on the Assault Runner
Many of the population will take part in Dry January (especially this year); I would like to say that this was me too.... but it wasn't. However, on February 1st, I decided to relax with drinking a bit and to start running on a piece of equipment that my gym has called an Assault Runner.
What is an Assault Runner, you might ask? It resembles a treadmill, but there is a slight curve to the machine, and it is self-propelled, meaning that there is no motor. These types of treadmills are not as popular and typically only found (if at all) in a CrossFit gym mostly because they are more expensive than your typical state-of-the-art motorized treadmill.
Because I like a good sweat session, I began running on it 5-6 times a week for 400 calories, which is roughly 30 minutes and just over 3-miles. Running on an Assault Runner resembles running outside in the sense that it actives the same muscle groups.
I hoped that when the weather is Brittany-nice (I don't get a chill from just stepping outside), all the training I have been doing on the Assault Runner will help my run time I hit the pavement. And I am happy to report that it has!
I ran outside for the first time a few weeks back and was impressed with my time. I ran 3.5 miles with an 8:36 pace. Not bad for not running outside in months. As the month progressed, and I continued with a mix of running on the Assault Runner and the occasional outside run, I only got better. I was able to complete my yesterday 3.6 mile run with an average pace of 8:07/mile.
3 things that I learned from this
Training is training, no matter if you are running on an Assault Runner, outside, or only have a spin bike at your disposal. Increasing your VO2 can only help you with your run time.
After a good 30-minute sweat session, I was undoubtedly in a better mood. The winter months can be emotionally draining for a lot of people, including myself. The lack of sunlight, the cold, bitter months, and the inability to engage in social interactions can leave people feeling blue and out-of-sorts. Studies have found that engaging in exercise that elevates your heart rate 3-5 times per week for 30 minutes can increase your mood and help to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Running form is very important. How you run can impact performance, breathing, and injuries. Being able to practice good running form on the Assault Runner can help you transition to outside running. I have tight calves, and running can definitely worsen this. I have made it a habit to roll my calves, IT band, and shins BEFORE and AFTER using this handheld roller.
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