Running Challenge Update – A Tool to Fight Boredom

If you’re like most people, you hate running. You hate it because you feel miserable during the run, and you’re tired and sweaty afterwards with no short-term rewards. If that describes you, you likely also hate running because it’s boring. After two minutes, you just can’t stop thinking, “When will this be over? Am I done yet? I have how much farther!?!” For me, running is either a thinking time—much like showering for many—or it is a zoned-in, focus time where there is only me and the road. However, I still often get bored with the idea of running and struggle to get motivated to actually begin. Instead of giving in to the boredom, I use a few tools and tricks to keep it exciting. Here I cover one of those tools in an update on my self-initiated running challenge.

Last week I ran three miles for the first time in two and half years. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it. Three miles in forty minutes. The first mile was just under twelve minutes, the second was 13:30, and the last was 14:30. I averaged a 13:19 minute per mile pace, a heart rate of 155 beats per minute (bpm), a cadence of 148 steps per minute (spm), and an aerobic training effect of 3.9 ( I still don’t know exactly what that means). I have all of these stats and more thanks to my Garmin Forerunner watch. It also records a digital map of my run accurate to 30 feet and viewable on Google Maps.

This investment isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy viewing your progress like I do, the availability of these stats will encourage you to get better and excite you for the next run. The watch also helps me plan my training according to my current fitness level, so that I can improve quickly and efficiently without overworking or slacking. Here is an example of my recent three mile run results.

I also use the heart rate monitor for every run. The elastic band around my midsection sends my heart rate to the watch, so I can stabilize it at the optimal level for whatever distance I am running. After just a few a weeks, I have already noticed a huge difference in the pace I can manage while keeping my heart rate at a reasonable level. The other stats will become more important as I begin quickening my pace and working on technique.

If you are a goal oriented person who would like to become a runner but just have not been able to overcome the boredom, look into GPS watches by Garmin, Suunto, and more. FitBits and other fitness watches can be great motivators too, but I would encourage the use of GPS as the distances are more accurate and the maps can add a lot to your running experience. This tool could provide the extra push and level of interest to get you on the road and in shape.

Running Challenge

When I created this website, I intended to write about adventure as a lifestyle based on a daily mindset. Well, so far I have only written about a huge road trip that I took with some friends last summer. There are more stories from the road trip coming, but I want to diverge from that kind of adventure for a moment and discuss something new I have begun. First, a little background.

In high school I played soccer and football. As a goalkeeper and a kicker—two positions that can develop a reputation of laziness from people who don’t see the day-to-day training—I worked very hard to build and maintain a high level fitness. For both sports I trained daily in agility, strength, and endurance. Now, having just graduated college, I fall into a large category of people who look back and realize they were in the best shape of their lives at 18.

But I refuse to let that remain the case. Monday I ran the worst two miles of my life. Actually, it wasn’t even two miles. I stopped at 1.75 because my head felt on the verge of exploding, and my calves burned like never before. I wanted to lie down and writhe in pain and humiliation for about an hour afterwards. My resting heart rate in high school was in the low 50’s; now it’s in the high 60’s. This is the worst cardio shape I have ever been in. No exaggeration. Since I began playing middle school sports, I cannot remember 2 miles ever being this difficult.  And it’s discouraging. I’m standing at the bottom of a metaphorical mountain, knowing that I was once near the summit. Now I’m looking up at this daunting task of climbing back up that mountain and wondering how long it will take.

Every mountain, every challenge is an adventure. I’m challenging myself now to run a 21 minute 5K in 3 months. If I ran one today, the timer would stop around 30 minutes. By looking at this as an adventure, I can hopefully make the journey fun and enlightening. Running can teach us about ourselves and about the world. It can build character and increase our mindfulness if we take the right attitude. So now I will begin this adventure to take back my fitness. Over the next few months I will write updates on how I’m keeping this challenge exciting and adventurous. I encourage you to begin your own fitness adventure whether that means getting back into shape, or exploring new (to you) activities like yoga, climbing, or weightlifting!