Jeff Time: Day 11

I’m thinking about making some coffee.  It’s 2:44 in the morning though.  That’s probably the stupidest time to make coffee.  Maybe I can do decaff and trick myself into staying awake.  Hmm… that there is a good idea.

I was going to skip my blogging today.  I’ve been on a role making videos and drawing pictures and all that stuff.  But today I am just tired.  I am behind.  I guess I’m getting back to basics with a normal old a typed out blog.  

I just ran 4 miles again.  It took me 35 minutes and 25 seconds.  I’ve been running regularly since June.  This is actually the longest I’ve ever run straight.  I’ve grown notorious for starting to run and then giving up.  I’m usually the guy who drank too much Dr. Pepper and then barfed on the side of the road.  I’ve often gone for about 2 weeks but then I push myself too hard and quit.

But this time I’ve been studying up on how to do it right.  I have a book by a guy who won an Olympic gold medal in the marathon.  His name is Frank Shorter.  He has some good, practical advice.  

One of the things he talks about is being realistic about your goals and pacing yourself.  It turns out that there are a lot of people like me who start with big goals and get burned out fast.  He is all about just getting out there and being consistent over the long haul and not just in the day to day.  

So that helped me to set my goals a lot lower.  And that has helped more than anything to stop the burnout.  His advice is to start small and build up slowly over time.  Like, in the very beginning, I would run just a mile each time.  But then, when that got easier, I would increase the runs by half a mile.  It seems like my distance has gone up about every 2 or 3 weeks.

And I have also gotten into podcasts during all of this.  I’ve found them to be perfect things to listen to while running.  They are often about 30 to 50 minutes.  I will start one and not only does it give my mind something to do, it also acts as a timer.  I’ve listened to so many great concerts that I got from N.P.R.  I’ve also gone through about 90 episodes of a podcast about screenwriting.  

Since June I have been logging my runs in a little green notepad.  I put the day of the week, the date, the time of day, the distance and then the time of the run.  It’s been pretty cool to see the progress I’ve made.  In fact, I seem to run my miles in about the same amount of time.  2 miles takes me around 17 minutes.  3 miles is around 26.  And 4 miles, so far, is averaging about 35.5 minutes.  Tonight was my 47th run.

The author of the book also suggests measuring your running in time instead of distance.   Since I know how long it takes me to run 3 or 4 miles, I can be portable.  I mean that I can just run through the neighborhood or on a trail and I don’t have to keep track of my miles because I know how long it usually takes me.  Of course that isn’t completely accurate but it’s still pretty cool to be able to run wherever I want to.

I am not sure what my goals are right now.  I used to want to run a marathon but I know that would probably kill me.  Maybe I could work up to a half marathon.  When I lived in Nashville I used to sit and watch all the runners go by during the Music City Marathon.  It was always so inspiring.  During the last one in April I actually got to sit and eat breakfast on a porch at some friends’ house as we watched thousands of people run past us.  It was an incredibly emotional thing to see.  You could tell what a big deal it was for a lot of the runners, like they’d been working up to the day for a long time.

Actually, I do have a goal.  I would like to be consistent with my running for a whole year.  I’m sure I’ll go past that but that’s what I would like to do.  It feels good just to be in better shape.  I think that is the real benefit.  I feel more confident and running also gives you a lot of good thinking time.  

It’s funny to talk about running because it’s still a pretty new thing for me.  I know a lot of people who have been running much longer than me.  To them 4 miles is nothing.  I’m not quite at their level though so I still feel pretty awesome.

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