I'm chronicling my efforts to get back into running after a long absence. To start, I'm participating in the Men’s 4-Miler Training Program offered by the Charlottesville Track Club.
This was the penultimate week of the training program, and the last at Charlottesville High School (where every direction is up). Next week, we do a trial run over the actual course.
The goal this time was 3.5 miles, and for the first time I felt pretty good about the run. I accepted the fact that I would be dead last, and with that out of the way, concentrated instead exclusively on my breathing. My goal was the recommended rate of one breath (in and out) for every five steps.
For my purposes, I counted each half breath as a beat, meaning I needed to do two beats for every five steps. As a trained percussionist, I've had a lot of experience playing odd metric combinations against each other, so this one was pretty easy. The breath "2" simply falls between steps 3 and 4.
If you want to figure it out for yourself, the process is pretty easy (especially if you read music). Just find the lowest common denominator, write out all the numbers, and align both patterns up against it. Play it for a while counting the pulse, and once you get the feel of it, you're ready. Here's how it works:
Pulse (Common Denominator)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
It worked. Sure, I was last and pretty quickly, too, but my first mile was 16.47. The second mile was 16.25. I should have also worked on the pulse, because the first mile was a little fast. My third mile was 17.02. But the last half mile was exactly 8 minutes.
And while I was running, I got into the rhythm. We were running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute, and soon I was surprised to hear it was time to walk. In previous weeks I lived for the walk mode! And as we dropped further back, I kind of lost track of the time and found myself running for 4-5, occasionally even 6 minutes at a stretch. With no shortness of breath, and no undue fatigue.
I think I've finally hit on a race strategy. We'll see how this week goes!