Tuesday, January 31, 2012

9.0 mph ACTUALLY EXISTS on a treadmill

Tonight, in an attempt to make my cardiovascular system capable of running 10 miles without stopping just two months from now, I flung myself down to the gym, where I set the treadmill to a 1% incline and proceeded to do Week 3 of Couch to 5K.

Here's the news: I started my first running segment (90 seconds) at about 5.8 mph, but I was feeling good and quickly pushed it up to 6.2 mph. Did the second running segment (3 minutes) at 6.5. Third running segment (90 seconds) zipped along fairly easily at 7 mph. Fourth and final running segment (3 minutes) started at 7, but my footfalls weren't keeping up with Aerosmith's beat, so I pushed it up to 8. Now I was barely keeping up with the beat, but I still felt like I could do more...

For the first time in my life, I pushed the treadmill up to 9 mph!

I kept it there for over 30 seconds before my body forced me to pull back. I quickly dropped down to 8, 7, 6, and finished the last 30 seconds with a 5.5 jog.

The key takeaway here is not just I managed run at 9 mph for half a minute and not go shooting off the back of the belt (that's a 6:40/mile pace!), but also that my speeds were generally off the chart the whole time. Except for that part at the end where I really pushed myself... it was all so... easy! When has 7 mph EVER been easy? Sure, I didn't hold it for very long - just 90 seconds - but just a few weeks ago, even holding a 5.5 mph jog for 90 seconds was treacherous. I felt like I was going to die. And today it was EASY!

Is this all just a quick reaction to a bit of applied exercise? Sure that's part of it, but I think there's more: For one, my diet today was pretty clean. I started with a spinach florentine bagel with butter, and coffee. With butter, cream, and sugar, we're probably close to 700 calories. So far not so good, but after that, the next thing I ate was a wild rice mix with grilled chicken breast and sauteed walnuts! It was positively delicious, and probably no more than 600 calories. A few hours later, I had some whole wheat pasta with three turkey hot dogs: 500 calories, perhaps. And throughout the day, I had been partaking of sweet Honeybell oranges. Add 200 calories for the juice and fiber.

All told, before I went out running at 9, I had consumed about 2000 calories for the day, most of them pretty solid grains and protein. My body had no gooey cheese to contend with, no disgusting deep fried BLECH to clog the veins. I was appropriately fueled and my body had rebuilt itself from the last time, and I was ready to go.

(Oh, and due to frequent massages with The Stick, my calves didn't tighten up at all.)

For the first time in years, a really good run! To cap off a really good day. I might just make this 10 Miler after all.


Addendum: Upon reviewing the archives, I am shocked to learn that tonight's experience is about exactly where I was, cardiovascularly, in 2003 -- nine years ago! Take a look at my 2003 description of a treadmill run. I wasn't knowingly using the C25K program, but my method -- run till my pulse hits 170, walk till my pulse hits 130, rinse and repeat -- is essentially exactly what I'm doing now. Wow! This means that I might be in just as good shape as I was when I was 23; I just have a little extra padding around the middle, that's all!


  1. What is this calf stick of which you speak? My calves usually tighten up halfway through the run.

  2. http://www.thestick.com/

    Changed my life, man. Also search the reviews on Amazon. Everyone loves it! I massage my calves at the tight trigger spots 2-3 times a day, and when I'm out running, the tightness is greatly diminished and sometimes completely nonexistent.