chasing a runner’s high in 2020

for 2020, i made the same new year’s resolution that i had tried and failed at in 2019. i wanted to start running seriously again. i set an arbitrary goal of 730 miles — an average of 2 miles per day, with the expectation that this would turn out to be more like 4–6 miles, 3 times a week.

so far, i am doing much better than last year:

January 2019: 19 miles/8 runs

January 2020: 88 miles/19 runs

aside from the fact that we’ve had far too many 40+ degree days for a january in NYC, there were plenty of differences and lessons learned from last year which have contributed to my progress this year.

  1. moving to strava from mapmyrun

ever since tracking mileage via the GPS on your smartphone became a thing, i had always had the motto that if you didn’t log your mileage, you might as well have not run at all.

i’ve always loved exercise logging apps. back in 2010 or so, I logged mileage on strands.com (RIP) and blogged on flotrack. (flotrack still exists, but probably costs $30 a month.) from there i migrated to nike+, mapmyrun, and now finally strava.

so why do i think strava is the primary reason for my success if i have always been logging my mileage on various other apps?

the community and larger userbase is probably the most important reason why i prefer strava to mapmyrun. it seems to be the de facto running app for nyc runners. i only had 2 active friends on mapmyrun, but i have 5 that are super active on strava. in addition, strava links your runs up with people who are running similar routes to you, which has helped me find run buddies around my fitness level who run in the same areas.

otherwise, it’s more aesthetically pleasing than mapmyrun, and i enjoy the segments tracking feature as well, so i can how fast i am running a certain route over time.

2. treadmill only when necessary

a half hour on the treadmill, even with music feels like a lifetime for me.

it is quite easy to say “forget the treadmill, run outside” when this is the warmest january i can remember. i still managed to get outside on the few days this year that were below 25 degrees. i would much rather triple layer than spend more than 15 minutes on the dreadmill.

3. nyrr open run

for the most part, i have had bad experiences with racing in nyc. spending $40 to wait in a corral, crossing the start line 10 minutes after the gun and then being boxed in for a full mile has never been my idea of fun.

new york road runners does free 5K runs in various parks around nyc every saturday morning. they are not particularly competitive (last year, i never placed below 3rd while running ~10 miles a week at most) but i found them to be excellent way to gauge your fitness, and of course extra motivation to have your results timed and posted somewhere.

4. run frequently and don’t make it a chore

in 2019, i was under the perspective that i could not run more than 3 times a week with my busy work schedule.

i regularly have stretches where i work from 9AM to 10PM for 2 weeks straight. i generally have a solid block between 6PM and 8PM where i can go for a workout but i rarely utilized it and ended up hating myself on the treadmill at the gym at 11PM.

i am not sure how my mindset changed on this one, but i am averaging 5 runs a week now — it’s very quick for me to hop into central park for a 5 or 6 miler in the quiet hours of my workday and blow off some steam.

5. resetting my goals

at this rate, i will crush 730 miles, and i knew if i held myself accountable (or more accurately, had strava friends to hold me accountable) last year, i have decided to set some more ambitious time goals for this year.

5K -19:55

my pr of course, is 16:50, but i do not believe i have run a sub-20 5k in my 20s. this number stands out to me as this was my PR during my freshman year of high school. i’d like to think i can beat myself at age 15.

10K – 42:30

i have never run a timed race longer than 5 miles before. i would like to be in a place where i can run around 7 minute pace for 6 miles. it seems to be the sweet spot to get my endorphins going at the level i like

half marathon — 1:41

half marathons have never interested me in the past, simply because i am not interested in running slow, and at no point after high school was i ever in shape enough to run a half marathon fast. i am finding myself enjoying hour long runs, and i can see myself finally running.

at the beginning of the month, i cramped up running a 5K at 7:30 pace. a month later i can maintain that same pace for over double the distance. i’m proud of my progress so far and am excited to see what i can accomplish in the running world this year.

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