For the last several months, I’ve limited my runs to the treadmill for several reasons.
First, I wanted to find my pace, a pace that I could run continuously for the mile, two miles, 5k, without turning into a floundering, gasping fish out of water.
Second, I also wasn’t quite sure how my joints, ankles, knees, and feet would take to running on cement. I started this somewhat overweight. I don’t think my body would have handled the 220 pound pounding on unforgiving concrete.
So I took the the treadmill, working on my running style, my pace, and my weight.
Last night, I decided to give the streets a shot and I set out running around my neighborhood. I didn’t have a mapped course, I just ran this way and that, along side streets and main streets, through the park, until I finally came home.
The one advantage I found to street running is that you can moderate your pace. Sure, you can do that on the treadmill, increasing or decreasing your speed in 0.1 mph increments, but I also noticed that sometimes, when using a preset program, the tread would increase or decrease, but the computer keeping track of things wouldn’t. So although I’d change my pace from say 6 mph to 5.4 mph, and although the tread would physically slow down, the readout on the treadmill sometimes would stay at 6 mph.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, pace moderation. So if I did find myself gasping for breath, it was a simple matter of slowing down. When I caught my breath, I could speed up. I could also vary my running stride. Going for short, faster strides or long, slower strides. I could vary from heel strike to midfoot strike.
It was exhilarating to be outside for the first time in at least a decade. It was more interesting having the scenery change instead of staring at a wall or the TV. It felt good to be able to run for a goodly amount of time. And I don’t think I could have done it straight up without treadmilling first.
I used the Runtastic app to keep track of my run. I ended up running 2.75 miles in 32:31 minutes at an average pace of 11:46 minutes per mile, an average speed of 5.1 mph and a maximum speed of 8.2 mph. It even said I made one of my miles in a little over 10 minutes, which I don’t think I’ve ever achieved on the treadmill.
The only problem? My headphones. The cord kept tangling up and yanking the earbuds out of my ears. The reason is I was holding the phone in my hand. I need one of two things to fix that. Either wireless bluetooth earbuds or an arm band that will hold the phone.
I was very pleased and look forward to my next outside run.