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Shaving time … not my face

April 4, 2012

Time is a completely different monster when you’re trying to use less of it. I’ve spent so long coaching myself to run longer, and now I’m doing the opposite. It’s like getting the lowest score in golf has suddenly become a bad thing.

It’s still the same though. I had to push myself more than I ever had in order to run for longer periods of time (or even to run at all), and now I’m having to pushing myself even harder to cover more distance. However you look at it, I was able to shave off more than 12 minutes and end up just four seconds shy of my best average time from C25K. Not bad at all if you consider that those extra four seconds were also coupled with an extra six-tenths of a mile.

One thing that helped was mapping the BPMs of my iTunes library and then creating a smart playlist of songs between 150-170 BPM (beats per minute, for the non-musical). It’s relative due to people having varied stride lengths, but 160BPM seems to be the average number for hitting a 10-minute mile. With the playlist I built, I’m allowing myself small “breaks” when the tempo dips toward 150, and then forcing a little extra push when it rises up to the 170 range. If you’re a math wiz like myself (and rhythmically literate), then you’ll know you can include songs between 75-85 BPM as well, as long as you run to eighth notes instead of quarters.

The pace was so much faster that the one I’d been keeping that I did have to walk about four times yesterday morning. I was able to make it through the first kilometer, so the goal next time is “no walks until at least my third interval.” I’ve heard people talk about being upset because they couldn’t “run” the entire distance, but I’m in no danger of throwing one of those pity parties. Even with the walk breaks I took I was still able to finish in under 50 minutes, when just a few days earlier it took over an hour to “run” the same distance.

I might have to eat these words, but I think I can hit an average of 12 minutes (my second post program goal) within the next two weeks. Of course if I do have to eat them, they will be spelled out in barbeque sauce on a beef & link po-boy.

To give you an idea of what running at 160 BPM is like, listen to this song and think “1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and-left-right-left-right-left-right-left-right …”

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