Saturday, January 14, 2017

Running Together

Lily started long distance running over a year ago. As time goes on she becomes more and more passionate about it and has encouraged me to run as well. My regular exercise was jogging. I knew that I needed to run a bit to increase my exercise intensity to cardio exercise level. But I could only be consistent with jogging, not even half walk half run.

After our first running together, I finally made up my mind to run with Lily twice a week, one at mid-week, one on weekend. My initial goal was to run 3 miles in 30 minutes, or 6 mph.

The first time we ran 3 miles - it took me 40 minutes to complete it. Lily was way faster than me, to encourage me and be my company without reducing her intensity too  much, she ran slowly with me for some time, and then ran at her regular speed for some time. When she ran fast, she would run ahead for some distance and return  to meet me and then we ran together for some time. I loved it!

My improvement was really significant after 4 weeks of regular exercise, my speed improved to 30 minutes 20 seconds for 3.13 miles. There were a few reasons for this fast improvement - I've been in good shape, and that Lily led the way. She would encourage me if I could not keep up my pace, she would run just a little bit faster if I could stay close to her. Equally important was that she coached me to be a better runner - increase cadence instead of stride, keep heart beat below critical value. We also integrated the cool down period into our routine, run 5K+, and walk 1K or so.

As Thanksgiving was approaching, we were thinking about joining the Turkey Trot 5K run. So I adjusted my goal to 5K run in 30 minutes. My first timed 5K run was 30 minutes 21 second. Unfortunately I had to go to Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving weekend for business, so there was no Turkey Trot for us last year. The regular running exercise paid off. On new year's day, I achieved my best record for 5K at 29 minutes 5 seconds!

Running together also benefited Lily per my perseverance. It was freezing cold at the end of 1st week of the new year. She was hesitant to run on Sunday morning. I prepared for the cold weather, I had gloves, long running pants, heavy long sleeve sweater and knitted cap ready for the run in a very cold morning. She pulled herself out of the bed just to be my company. Due to the cold  weather and her encouragement, I ran really well that morning - best 1 km time, best 1 mile time and best 5K time (28 minutes 18 seconds). Now I can run 5K within 30 minutes consistently.  Last week I ran 6K in 35'32", the same pace as 5K.

In the past 3 months, we adapted to weather, work schedule or body condition, and kept running twice a week every week except my business trip and our ski trip.  In addition to improvement on run speed and time, the accumulative efforts also showed on my body's physiological conditions. On average my cadence improved from 155 to 172, maximum heart beat reduced from 184 to 174 even when I run faster!

We don't talk much during our runs, but the body language and tacit agreement make us understand each other without words. Running together makes our shared life richer!!

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