I haven't blogged about my running in a long time. I wasn't running consistently, and when I did run I didn't run far enough to justify blogging about it. At the same time, I have been dealing with a number of different personal trials over the last few years which have led to the development of depression. Depression can cause people to lose interest in things that they really enjoy, and on many occasions I didn't run simply because the motivation to do so wasn't there.
However, there is lots of research that shows exercise can be helpful as a treatment for depression. Knowing this, I wanted to start running more consistently, however it was really difficult to find the necessary motivation to get out the door on a daily basis. On top of the lack of motivation, I was in poor enough running shape that I knew I could not run farther than a couple miles on a daily basis or risk injury. Unfortunately, the prospects of a daily 15 minute run which seems to finish right after it has started didn't help to increase my motivation.
Eventually, I did find the motivation to start running consistently again. I had been praying a lot, asking the Lord to help me finish my dissertation and find a job. Over the course of a few weeks, as I prayed I did not receive direct inspiration regarding the dissertation or a specific job, instead I consistently felt prompted to start running again. These promptings helped me to find the extra motivation to really make the effort to run consistently again.
I had previously been running approximately two miles once a week or so, with a couple weeks last summer in which I ran more frequently, and many weeks in which I did not run at all. I wanted to keep the daily mileage low until I was running 6 days a week in order to avoid potential injuries. I started in late January by running 2 miles per day, 3 days per week. By the fifth week I was running 6 days per week, and I have only missed one day of running since (a red-eye flight, subsequent nap, and six hour drive round trip with temple attendance trumped running that day). Once I was running 6 days per week, I started to slowly increase my mileage. It took me until approximately the 13th week to get to where I was running 3 miles a day, and I am now at the end of week 18, having run 4 miles per day so far this week (20 miles total; Mileage during weeks 14-17 was 20, 19, 21, 22). I am not sure yet how high I will push my weekly mileage, but for the foreseeable future I plan to continue slowly building mileage/fitness.
Today's run: 4 miles in 30:38.
I helped with some testing and validation for the New Balance RunIQ smartwatch, and since we appear to be mostly finished with that work, my advisor at ISU gave me one of the watches yesterday. I won't speak about our test results as I'm sure my advisor signed a non-disclosure aggreement, but I plan on providing some commentary about the watch as I use it on a daily basis.
Today I ran the standard 4 mile route that I have been running lately (measured using the blog course tool), however the watch was measuring things slightly shorter so I ran just a little farther to satisfy my desire to see 4.00 miles appear on the watch face (I measured the route on the course tool afterwards at 4.05 miles, which is within the range of error I would expect from a device like this, especially since my course tool measurements are not 100% accurate either). However, once the run was uploaded to Strava, it changed the distance to 3.9 miles for some unknown reason (Possibly related to my fumbling with the pause button when I resumed running after stopping at a stop light? Tomorrow I will try the auto-pause feature instead). During the early portions of the run, my HR was reading about 50 bpm high as well (I was measuring my HR manually, so my own readings were crude, but 50 bpm is a lot). This problem seemed to go away about halfway through the run as my HR on the watch dropped from about 190 down to about 140 (this was similar to what I was measuring by hand). I will watch this to see if the problem repeats itself.