I Need A Physical Challenge… So Let’s Go For A Run
I’ve been searching for something challenging to do for a while now. I have a void that needs to be filled and I’m currently writing this after getting my ass kicked (that’s the nice way of putting it) running just a single mile on an indoor track at a… wait for it… 9:25/mile pace.
I don’t consider myself out of shape but that was a very humbling experience and it made me realize, I have found my new challenge.
For some reason, I like taking on things that will take me 6-18 months to be able to do. In 2016 it was qualifying for the drug-tested national powerlifting meet in Orlando. In 2017 it was writing and self-publishing a book, in 2018 a blog, 2019-2021 a successful YouTube channel, since then I have been entirely consumed by work. Which has been a major challenge in itself getting to know a new role. But now I need something new.
I have tested a couple of different things but either I don’t enjoy them, don’t have easy access to do it, or it isn’t enough of a challenge. What it has come back to multiple times is just running. Running is f*&cking hard. It is honestly the worst and that is what I want to do. So like any logical person, I bought myself a new pair of Hokas, a Garmin Forerunner 255, and went on the first run of many.
What’s the end goal here? Well, the obvious choice is to run a marathon. I’ve been advised to do a half marathon first but honestly, that sounds boring so we’re going to go for a full. Which one? Well, I’ve given myself until 11/1/2023 to pick and sign up for one.
This blog post is going to be the first of many. The cool thing about using a Garmin watch paired with Strava is that I can track everything and share it with you. Weight, miles, pace, etc. I will share it all.
To start let’s go over a couple of things:
- Starting weight: 201.2
- Starting miles/week: 1
- Starting pace: 9:25/mile
In the next post, I’ll give you an update on how things are going, with screenshots straight from the apps. I’ll also talk about what I’m shooting for pace-wise and what the true end goal for all of this is. Until then I’m going to take my fat ass on another run, wish me luck.
I’m writing this post as my legs are currently throbbing from a 5-mile run last night at a 10:00/mile pace. Holy shit, I’m out of shape and it feels great. The feeling I felt after finishing those 5 miles made me feel great, it’s a drug in itself. I know this pain will pass with some active recovery, stretching, food, and most importantly sleep. Then I’m going to do it all again.
From what I’ve read, if you are training for any sort of endurance race, it is to get miles in. I thought it was a slow build at your marathon pace but that seems to be the opposite of what I should be doing. Good to know.
The biggest thing I want to work on right now (besides getting miles in) is finding a flow to run in. One that my mind doesn’t wander like crazy and I start thinking about the pain or how much longer I have to go. Putting my body into autopilot is what I’m thinking.
Currently stats as of 10/4/2023
- Average weight: 200lbs
- Miles last week: 11.4
- Total miles run so far: 19.4
- Average Pace: 9:40/mile
Overall I’m happy, let’s keep going.
Another couple of weeks have gone by and here is where we are at. Yesterday I did my first race of the running prep and well, it went not great. It was a simple 5k run and I went into it feeling ready but after the first half mile, I knew I didn’t have it in me. Below are the stats from the run:
So while an 8:16 per mile isn’t terrible seeing the total time over 25 minutes is quite disappointing. What does this tell me? Well, I need to be running more! This seems obvious but what I’ve come to realize is that I have severely underestimated the amount of work I need to put in to make a marathon happen in the early spring.
To give myself some credit I have only been running for the last 4 weeks. What this means is that I also severely overestimated my base fitness level. I was extremely out of shape (and still am) and that was also reflected in the Dexa scan I did a couple of weeks ago. We’ll talk about that in the next update. Below are my stats for the last 4 weeks.
At first glance what I’m pretty happy about is seeing that I’ve run almost 46 miles. If you had told me I could do that 4 weeks ago I would have laughed. The other two things that stick out that I want to improve on are average weekly miles and long run distances. Weekly miles need to be around 15 miles per week if not higher for November if I have any hope of doing a marathon in the spring. I also need to add in some longer slower runs.
Saying all of that here’s what we are looking to do over the next 4 weeks:
- Average weekly miles: 15
- Longest run: 10 miles
- Pace: Don’t care about pace, need to build endurance
Let’s get back to work.
This post isn’t to talk about the goals I set out for the next 4 weeks. More on that at the end of the week ;). This post is about 2 big things I did on this whole series of becoming a (less shitty) runner.
First up we got a DEXA scan done! Now if you don’t know a DEXA scan is a way to get a starting point of where I am body composition-wise. It’s a form of X-ray that gives you a load of information like weight in every area of your body down to the bone, fat, muscle, etc. The whole point of getting a scan was to see where I’m at and then I’ll get another one at the end of the year and then another before the marathon. More on that part in a bit…
I’ve been getting DEXA scans for years, actually almost 10 years now. It started in college when I was helping a friend out with a study he was doing and I continued it as I got into powerlifting. It was another data point to see if I was making progress. The last time I got a DEXA scan was 1/26/2016 so almost 7.5 years ago… that’s a long time.
To save some of the boring parts I’m going to make a table comparing the two time periods in my life. I’ll then expand on this table in a later writing to make the comparison easy.
|Body Fat %||11.3%||18.5%|
|Lean Mass (lbs)||159.38||146.13|
|Fat Free (lbs)||167.76||154.54|
As you can see by this chart something (not so) shocking stands out. When I was 21 I was in great shape. I was lean with 7% less body fat and had over 13 more lbs of muscle on me at the same weight as I am now. When I first saw these results I didn’t react great to them. But then I remembered what my routine was like back then. I trained hard and my diet was strict, except for the partying on the weekend. My go-to meal was 2 cups of egg whites and 12 ounces of chicken with hot sauce on it. That’s not a joke, I ate that every day for months if not years. Wasn’t the best point in my life but we can talk about that later.
After I got over myself I realized that again this is just a data point and I will be doing another scan around Christmas time and then again before the marathon.
I’ve committed to a marathon. Still on the fence about whether it’s a good idea or if I’m going to get the shit beat out of me but regardless on March 3rd, 2024 I’m running the Napa Valley Marathon. This means I have roughly 16 weeks to figure out how to run a marathon.
I chose this race for a couple of different reasons.
- it’s a net downhill race that doesn’t have a ton of hills.
- The weather should be decent. Maybe slightly cold but I shouldn’t have to worry about snow.
- It’s the right time of year. We have plans that will make training incredibly hard after April so this is the time to do it or don’t.
- It’ll be a nice vacation. My cousin is also going to run with me and taking her, my wife, and the baby on a trip for a couple of days to explore Napa will be a good getaway.
Again, I have no idea if this is a good idea or not but all I’m going to do is keep trying to pound miles and get in the best shape I possibly can. Knocked out 4.1 miles tonight in anticipation of my big 10-mile run this weekend. Let’s see if we can get it done!
The First 10 Mile Run 11/18/2023
Well, we did it.
The first attempt and successful completion of a 10-mile continuous run and let me tell you it absolutely sucked. Below is the stats for the run which I’m quite happy with because the goal was to just complete it. Feel what 10 miles even feels like. I didn’t have a single care about my pace because I think that will come with time.
This is just another brick in the building of this marathon prep and I have a feeling when I attempt this run again, probably in 4 weeks or so, I’ll end up smashing the time.
Let’s keep hammering.