I'm in my third week of the Couch to 5K program, and it's going surprisingly well.
Last week, I had 90 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking, and I was really struggling to complete the full 90 seconds. In fact by the second run of the week I was feeling like I would probably need to repeat that week, which would put me off schedule a bit.
Somehow I completed that week, but feeling very dejected.
This week is week 3, so it was two rounds of 90 seconds running then 90 seconds walking, and then 3 minutes running followed by 3 minutes walking for two rounds.
When I woke up and put on my shoes, I just thought... there's no way. I struggled so much with the 90 seconds last week, that going up to 3 minutes would be just unheard of.
But I put in my headphones, grabbed my puppy, and out the door we went anyway. 5:30 AM was dark, lonely, and cold... but it was perfect. I really like going that early because no one sees me - so there's no one to pass judgement.
As I moved into my stride, I realized I really wasn't straining as hard as last week, and I wasn't struggling to breath so much. Before I knew it, my phone chimed at me - signaling the end of my run, and I hadn't even noticed the time go by.
I'm amazed at the rather quick improvement I am starting to see in my ability to run.
It also helps, that in the ongoing saga of my fight with shoes, that I found a pair of minimal shoes that fit rather nicely. My Zem's that I had purchased earlier this year bit the dust a ways back during my second Savage Race. I was running in my old Nike Frees again, and every time I came in after a run my feet hurt so bad I could barely stand up, let alone walk.
My feet were in agony. I don't know what it is about shoes, but running shoes just cause extreme pain and discomfort through the arches in my feet. The only way I've ever gotten away from it, is by running barefoot.
I can't very well run barefoot in a park in the dark though, because of the risk of glass and other nasty things that may be lurking.
I tried the Fila Skele-toes, but they seemed... very cheap. They were on sale for $39 this weekend, which is why I wanted to try them. But they were big, bulky, not very flexible.. and I was not very comfortable just standing in them. So I headed over to Fit Niche instead, and again decided to give the Vibrams another try, as they now carry a much larger variety than they used to.
I came across the Bikila LS. I'm really not sure what makes these fit better than other Vibrams I've tried, but with a little help from the store employee in helping me fit properly, and get my toes in the right pockets - I found that even my little toe was snug in it's own little compartment.
I walked around with them and was really surprised at how... good they felt. It was... almost as good as being barefoot. I walked out of the store in them, walked around the outdoor mall, then headed home.
After the first run in them, I was surprised at how much less pain in my feet there was. Since I'm already fairly adept at running barefoot, there was minimal learning curve in teaching myself to land lightly and not heel-strike, and I found I was just so much more comfortable.
Maybe that's the difference a good pair of shoes makes in your ability to run.
I've also made some slight adjustment with my Body Media Fit armband. Based on it's original settings, it had me burning 2990 calories a day, and eating 1990 for a deficit of 1000 calories. I had no issue eating the 1990, most of the time coming in a little under - but I had a VERY hard time burning the 2990 calories a day.
I think it's mostly my sedentary job - but if I'm not burning the right amount but still eating that much, if offset the deficit. I was hitting closer to 700 calorie difference, rather than the 1000.
So I went in and played with the settings, and found how to scale it down. I'm now aiming at 2700 calorie burn a day, with a 1700 calorie food goal. Move less = eat less.
We'll see how this plays out, but so far it looks like I'm hitting more consistently on the mark.