I’ve been waiting for this day quite a bit, but now it is here – the first official day of my marathon training. May 18 is the target – that’s when I want to run the Colfax Marathon here in Denver. But Colfax is just the beginning as I have signed up for two additional marathons that will happen on the two weekends immediately following after the Colfax Marathon (Colfax = 05/18 – Vail 05/26 – Steamboat Springs = 06/01). Think of this as an optimized marathon training cycle – one marathon training cycle for three marathons.
Anyway, my plan for today was to kick off the training cycle with a half marathon distance training run, but mother nature did decide that it is time for some snowfall. As a result all the local trails were covered with several inches of snow and they had not been plowed because it was still snowing of and on. The last time I ran in conditions like this my feet got really wet from the slush and I had to cut a long run short (7 miles instead of 13 miles) and I was not in the mood for that to happen again. Therefore I decided to run on an indoor running track. Where I live we have access to four local recreation centers. They offer swimming pools and a fitness center each – including an indoor running track at each of the four recreation centers. Up until today I never used the indoor running tracks, but I figured it would be the best option for today’s run.
Usually I use my Nike Plus GPS Watch to track my running, but I figured that alone would not be a good option for an indoor run. Fortunately I also have the Nike Plus Shoe Sensor that syncs with the GPS watch and even though I never used it before I was ready to give it a try. That’s where it also comes in handy that I have a Nike running shoe (Nike Pegasus 29) which is designed to hold the sensor, I just had to figure out how to connect the sensor with my Nike Plus GPS watch. After a quick online search I found the information – since I had purchased the watch with the sensor the two were already synced and I just had to turn on the sensor setting on the watch. Easy enough – let’s go running.
I switched into my running clothes and headed out to one of the recreation centers. The indoor running track was fairly empty with 2 walkers and 2 other runners. I had brought a bottle of PowerAde and two strips of Gatorade Chews for refueling while running. I found a spot where I could leave my stuff close to the running track so that I had easy access to everything while running. I turned on the GPS watch and made sure it picked up the signal from the shoe sensor and then I started running. I was not sure how accurate the data was that the GPS Watch displayed, but I figured I would not worry too much about the pace and the distance, but rather look at the overall time of my run. After all I knew how fast my pace has been when running outdoors and I figured I could kind of translate it towards the indoor run.
Well, the intentions were good, but I kept looking at the watch to see how fast and how far I was going. The average pace showed up in the low 7 minute range and I thought that simply can’t be right. I understand that running indoors is faster compared to running outdoors, but this was over a minute faster per mile compared to running outdoors and I am simply not that good of a runner. My goal was to run the half marathon distance, but to make sure I really ran that far I decided to run “the extra mile” on top of it – meaning I would run 14 miles based on the GPS watch distance measuring. I figured running over 14 miles based on the readings would be close enough to make this run count. I did a manual mile check to see what my pace would really be. Ten laps on the indoor running track make one mile. I measured that I ran the lap in around 42-50 seconds on average and that would roughly make me run an eight minute mile (average). I am not that good in calculating things out while running, but when I did the math at home later on and I figured I ran about 12.625 miles. That leaves me a bit short of the half marathon distance, but considering the speed/pace that I ran, I think that it was close enough to make this a great run. Once I reached mile 10 I slowly felt the run in my legs and I knew that the higher speed was responsible for that, but it was a good feeling because I knew this would be a good run.
Running on an indoor running track is quite different. There were only three marked lanes and while walkers were supposed to walk single file and stay on the inside lane they were all over the place. While there were only 2 walkers in the beginning, at one point there were approximately 20 people on the running track. One couple (what does single file mean again and the inside lane must be the one in the one in the middle) also decided it would burn a lot of calories if they would randomly swing their arms to the left and right and it was kind of hazardous to run by them because you could never tell when the next arm swing would happen. At one point they barely missed me and I gave them a very nasty look and from there on things improved a little bit. They switched to random forward and backward arm swing rotation, but of course they still stayed on the middle lane and they did not walk in single file formation making passing an adventure at times. But overall things worked out Ok I would say. There was only one situation where I had to slow down because all the runners and all the walkers “met up’ at the same spot at the same time, but other than that it was good running. I had one Gatorade Chew at the 45 minute marker and I also stopped a few times to drink some PowerAde. I decided to pass on the second Gatorade Chew this time, but I think next time I will go and use it to make for a stronger finish. As mentioned, I felt the effort at around mile 10 but pushed through anyway.
For my marathon training I will count this run as a 13 mile run and call it good for today. I also did some heavy snow shoveling today and I think that made some great physical exercise as well. All in all – a great day. Depending on how things go tomorrow I will add another run, but usually Sunday is going to be my rest day. I am still setting up my training plan, but I will probably post it here over the next week or so.