Run Ben Run.

Terry decided to get a little deeper cardio a few months back.
Not sure exactly what triggered that desire, but it was a good idea. He has only a few percent body fat (and a nice 6 pack) so it’s not like he needs to get ‘fit’, but just because he has low body fat does not mean that he is fit.
(I could do a whole blog entry on ‘fit’ and ‘fitness’ and such if there is any interest – It’s pretty simple, but I found it interesting).

Soon as he mentioned it, I was down. Been wanting to shed some weight and gain some fitness for a while, so needed very little prodding to do something.
Running would not be my first choice. I had in fact tried it a few times since moving over and the result is always the same, I give up due to some pretty intense pain.

We have changed our diet (roughly Paleo) to the point where it’s now a lifestyle, so I was down to add exercise to the lifestyle change as well. Honestly, I also missed taking Terry to school every morning, so thought a morning jog would be a pretty good way to spend time with my boy.

First Problem. Terry is (at the time we started) 17, I am 47.
Second Problem. Terry has a base level of fitness due to his Parkour. I have negative fitness due to me sitting on my fat butt all day.

Nonetheless, we set off at 5am one morning back in April.
Having no idea of pace, we just jogged.
Since its going to be a lifestyle change, I decide to track our progress (something that I am disappointed I did not do from the very start of the whole diet thing).
My boss Benson uses ‘Runkeeper‘ to track his runs and so I grabbed the app and have been tracking my runs with it every since. [Edit: I now track my runs on Strava. It is a lot more aimed at serious runners and has shoe tracking].

Here is a screenshot of one of our runs not long after we started;

run with terry

From the top down… We can see it was May 9th.
We ran 2.48 miles (3.99km) in 18 minutes.
The thing that will become important is the pace. We ran an average pace of 7min 32 seconds per mile. Note the ups and downs in the blue pace graph.
We started running ‘around the block’. For two reasons, the duration felt about right (stick with me here) and we wanted to keep a set course so we could map our progress by using the same distance and hills, thus showing any changes.

Straight out of the gate, I was in pain. The same as always, left knee, right hip.
In the past, I always gave up, but Terry and I were keen, so I did the usual stupid thing of ‘running through it’. It was kind of fun, I would start complaining on the first hill, and Terry would start ignoring me as soon as we left the house.
I’m so glad that I had a running buddy at this time, he kept me going out each morning. No question, if I had been on my own, I would have given up. Again.
This went on for about 6-8 runs. It was not getting any better, but it was also not getting any worse. I stopped complaining out loud, but it was not ‘fun’.
It was hard to talk at the pace we were going and the pain made it hard for me to relax and escape into my mind.

Benson and I talked a little about it, he’s been running for years and years, so I was listening to his advice. One day, I showed him my Runkeeper stats.
He had two things to say. 1. It’s too fast. I should be aiming for 10 min per mile and 2. It’s too short. I need to be aiming for 35-40 min.

Around this time, two things happen.
First up, Terry graduated school and so was on summer break. Ain’t no way I am getting him out of bed at 5am, in fact, we often would catch up at 5am as I was getting ready to head out and he was getting ready for bed (teenagers!).
In the past, every time I tried to slow down, he would get frustrated and bored. (To the point where he would start doing somersaults while we were running. When he started to do them while going uphill I knew I would never be quick enough to keep him happy). With no Terry, I could start to go my own pace. I started to really focus on slowing down and getting 10 minute miles. I could also put headphones on and jog to music.
Interestingly enough, the slower pace made no difference to the pain. It started a little later in the run, around the 1 mile mark, but it was just as intense.

At this stage I started to wonder if I should stick with it. Terry and I started to talk about getting the bikes out and doing some riding…. I really liked the simplicity of running, so kept at it, running 2-3 times a week.

The second thing happen out of the blue. My other boss Bob and I got talking about running and more specifically about an article he had just read about rhythmic breathing while running.

Not to understate this. It changed my life.

Again, just to be clear, rhythmic breathing while running has changed my life.

Here is the short version;

This one is a bit of a read, but if you run or want to run, its worth a look.

In a nutshell, you breathe out as different feet strike the ground.
So, breath out when your left foot strikes the ground. Breath in over as many strides as you need but breath out when your right foot strikes the ground.
That’s it. I tried getting all fancy and counting my strides and such and just gave up. You need to breathe, so breathe, just make sure you breathe out on different feet.

Took me a few miles to get the rhythm. The first few runs were a mess. But I kept at it because I was in less pain.
Now, I think nothing of it. In fact, I found myself in rhythm within about 10 meters of the driveway on my last run.

So now here is a typical run;

run stats

Usual 5am start. (On my own). 4.44 miles (7.1km) and check out that pace. A perfect 10.00 min per mile. Take a look at the blue graph at the bottom. Nice and flat. I really work hard to go fast uphill and slow down hill to keep the pace spot on 10.
Also check out the duration; 44 minutes – nice!.
The best thing of all? Pain free. Totally. Pain. Free.

I never ever thought I would go out and run 4 miles. Never in my life. It’s amazing. I run in the morning, come home, do gardening with Freddy and whatever needs to be done and just feel great.
Ran my first 5 miler the other day with Terry. It did not do it for him, but it was cool to share it with him. (I thought the longer distance might make up for the slower pace for him, it didn’t).
Now and then I have started running 4 miles during lunch at work. The heat is knocking me around a little, but I am getting better at handling it.
The other day, I rode my bike 7 miles to work, ran 4 at lunch, and rode 7 home. Pretty cool.

So far, I have run 77.2 miles…. That’s 124.2 km. Pretty crazy in my mind, but while it’s been a lot of work, now that I can run pain free, it’s a lot of fun.
I put my headphones on, cue up some trance and I am good to go.
Yeah, I think I have hit a runner’s high a few times. The music helps. You’re just getting into the tunes and the breathing just happens, it just all comes together and you feel like you can go for ever – you feel so alive.

Ok, way longer blog entry than I expected.

TL;DR. Rhythmic breathing while running has changed my life. I love to jog while listening to trance.