This is a quick follow-up posting about my fitness progress since joining a local 24 Hour Fitness. I have been running for the last 3-4 years and kind of hit the wall at around 6 to 7 miles. For one I was limited with the time I was able to allocate and then I made a few mistakes the way I was training and working out. Since I joined the24 Hour Fitness gym things have changed quite a bit. Here is where I am right now.
I am currently concentrating on building a much stronger core and back. While I had done some exercises for the core and the back before, I can now tell that I was not putting in enough effort. I was also limiting the core and back workout to certain exercises. This clearly limited my ability to really build up muscle where I needed to become a better runner. In addition I always built up some muscle and then dropped those exercises because I’d rather would head out for a run. That is going to change now.
I had some personal trainer sessions now and that helped me a lot. I have a clear plan now and I am executing it. I realize how important it is to build my core and back (and a lot of other muscle groups) to a certain level and then to maintain them at that higher level. So, right now I am running a little less during the week, replacing some of my weekly runs with extend workouts for the core and the back. I still do some cardio, but not to the same extend as before. The good thing is that I can feel and see the results – which helps a lot to stay motivated.
I also added a longer run to my weekends where I usually did not actively worked out in the past. I did yard work and some family stuff, but not a dedicated workout session. That has changed now and every Saturday morning I am heading out for a run. I already wrote about one of those runs here. Well, last Saturday I headed out and I was better prepared. I had bought a Nike Running Belt and I also bought some “Under Armor” compression shorts to help against chaffing. I followed my usual route when heading out. The reason I love this specific route so much, it allows for variations depending on I feel. If the legs are heavy I can cut back on the hills and distance, but if I feel strong I expand the running distance. I pretty much have it down to create variations that translate in runs that are 3, 5, 6, 7.5, and 9 miles long. Reading this you might be able to guess – my last Saturday morning run turned out to be exactly 9 miles long.
As mentioned I did buy a Nike Running Belt and some compression shorts. As a result I had enough fluids with me and I also brought a Power bar along which I slowly chunked mid-run while waiting at a traffic light to let me cross a busy street. I felt strong during the entire run and probably could have added some additional distance, but I do not have a Garmin GPS and so it was difficult to determine how far I had been running. I knew it was a longer run than before because of the route variation I had taken. Later that day I mapped out that run at MapMyRun.com and it turned out to be exactly 9 miles. I never had run 9 miles before.
I am totally excited about this. Not only have I been able to break through the “runner’s wall” that was holding me back, I have been able to expand my runs quite a bit and I still felt strong after running miles. I am also just 4 miles away from the half-marathon distance. I never thought about running a race really, but now I am actually thinking about taking a stab at the half marathon distance. Maybe time to find a running buddy and tackle this beast.