Getting faster + hill workouts

So I don’t know if I’ve written about how my time has been improving. Partly, I think, because I don’t want to jinx it, like write about it and then all of a sudden lose whatever momentum I am building. Partly , also, because I haven’t really believed it. But my regular run time for a 5 K is now in the 25-26 minute range, whereas this Fall I was pretty psyched if I was 29:30. So that puts me at about an 8:00 mile at the 5 K distance (and a 5 mile run I did a couple weeks ago). I’ve been a little slower at distances higher than 5 miles, about an average of 8:35.

I’ve been using a combo of my new Fitbit Charge + Map My Run in order to figure out time + distance on my runs (why both? let’s just say I’ll listen to those who tell me that I need a wearable with GPS next time) My incredulity was great enough after using both of these consistently that I ended up registering for a Run Keeper account because I figured that this combo was somehow wrong and under-reporting my time or over-reporting my distance. Nope.

Actually, let me explain the importance of a wearable device with GPS, should you be new to running or just the whole wearable thing. Most wearables use your steps to estimate distance traveled. So if you walk 10K steps, it is about equivalent to 5 miles depending on your stride. If you use your sans-GPS wearable to estimate running distance it counts the number of steps you have taken but not the correct distance you have traveled because when you run it presumably takes you fewer steps to reach a similar walking distance due to increased stride.

So tl;dr means get the GPS-optioned model if you are shopping for a Fitbit or something similar.

Another update: I decided this week to start weekly hill training workouts. Although I’ve been trying to incorporate hills into my outside routes, it’s a little difficult to figure out exactly what I should be doing to prepare for what I have been told will likely be the most difficult course I will ever run. (Kentucky is known for its rolling countryside, and that’s fine — it’s just what goes up usually must come down. Apparently the RTB course mainly just goes up. And up. And up.)

The folks at RTB very helpfully provided us with a route simulation designed for treadmill use. That way I can pre-run the course, at least in chunks that correspond to whatever mileage I have planned for that day. It won’t be the same as doing all 13.1 at once, but at least I won’t be completely unprepared.

So right out of the gate you can see it gets interesting…

I did miles 1-3 last Thursday and will continue working off of this plan on Thursdays til the event. I’ve spoke to a couple people who have done this race and they think it’s a solid plan, so… we’ll see!

And one more training update: this is the last week where my M-Tr runs are 3 miles only, as next week I start getting some longer weekday distances. This weekend my long run is up to 8 miles. The weather looks like it will be PERFECT.