Aug 20, 2009

I'm in Training!

Recently, I've started running more intensely every morning. I'm now running 3K at least three times a week, and my goal is to reach 5K. Let me stop for a sec because I know what you're thinking...what's with all this metric system mumbo jumbo? Well, it seems like runners like to measure things in meters, and I admit that "3K" sounds more impressive than "1.89 miles". So, I'm going to use the metric system. (Here's a quick primer: 1 mile = 1.61 km, and 1 km = .62 miles.)

My ultimate goal, (and what I'm training for), is to run in the 'Trots for Tots' 5K here in Panama City on November 14th. I'll be happy just to finish, but my target time is 30 minutes. That's 6 minutes per kilometer. Earlier this week, I was running the 3K at a pace of 6'30'' per kilometer.

I was thinking that if I could control my pace a little better, I could make the jump to 6'00''. Then I realized that if I could figure out what pace I ran at, I could create some music that had a slightly faster BPM and run to that! I thought I had a really great, unique idea until I did some online reading (dangerous, I know) and found that this idea is anything but new. I did find a chart on the
run2rhythm website that really helped out by providing me with BPM time table conversions for different running speeds. To run 1K in 6'00'', I would need to run at 163 BPM. Sounds simple, right?

Well, I tried that. I created a 20-minute track and tried to run to it and failed miserably. The pace was way too intense - I could only match it one of two ways: either stand in place and rapidly pound my feet into the ground, or take a humongous stride and rely on gravity to pull me to the earth fast enough to stay on pace. Either way, it clearly wouldn't work for me.

So I tried slowing the song down to 160 BPM, and found that I was able to match it for most of the run, it just really wore me out. I timed myself and found that I ran the 3K in 16'57'', which averages out to 5'39" per km! According to the chart, my time per kilometer at 160 BPM should have been 7'00". I guess the chart is for someone with much shorter legs than me!

I plan on dropping the BPM down to 157 and trying again...I wasn't able to run the 160 BPM pace the whole time, and I was exhausted at the end. No chance of increasing distance at that pace. I think the 157 BPM will put me back around 6'00"/km, which is my goal, and I'm hoping to be able to steadily increase the distance from there.

I'm planning my first attempt at a 4K on Monday morning, so I'd like to get the pace established by then. If I can't get it worked out tomorrow, I'll chuck the headphones on Monday and just run at my natural, slower pace and work on nailing it down later next week. Wish me luck!