September 05, 2019

Taking It Outdoors

This is going to have to be a quickie post if I hope to get it done before midnight! I knew that if I publicly stated my goal of writing on my blog daily that I would jinx it and then it wouldn't happen. I am so tempted to just go to bed after an exhausting day, but I'll at least write about my run today.

Since I started running again a few weeks ago, I've been running on the treadmill. I don't know why I feel so intimidated to run outside right now--it just seems so big and scary. The thought of running outside gave me anxiety, so I'd decided to just run on the treadmill until I felt ready.

The last couple of mornings have been pretty cool outside (starting to feel like fall!) and this morning, I decided that I'd go run outside on my way home from driving the kids to school. I even laid out my clothes yesterday so that when I got up this morning, I'd dress in my running clothes and be ready to do it.

I pass right by the state park on the way home, so I chose to go there and run a loop. There are several loops of whatever distance I'd like, but I've done the 5K loop so many times in the past eight years or so that it felt comfortable to me. However, I've been listening to so many true crime podcasts that I'm starting to get paranoid. Instead of taking my favorite 5K loop, I did two laps of a 1.5-mile loop that is far less remote. (Which is interesting, as I'll explain later...)

I was very curious how my heart rate and pace would compare to that on the treadmill. On the treadmill, I basically bump the speed up until my heart rate reaches my MAF rate (143 bpm). As soon as it hits 144, then I lower the speed to get it back to 143 or less. The past couple of runs on the treadmill have shown some improvement... I was able to go between 4.7 and 4.9 mph for most of the run. That may not sound like much, but when I first started, I had to lower the speed to 4.1 mph at a couple of points.

Unfortunately, today's run wasn't a great comparison. During the first mile, I came upon a drunk man that was on the path, and my heart rate instantly shot up. I've always felt very safe on my runs at the park, and I carry pepper spray as well as a mini airhorn, but nobody else was around and he made me nervous. He was carrying a bottle of liquor of some sort and stumbling slowly forward. I quickly made it past him and then saw that my heart rate was nearly 160.

It took a couple of minutes to bring it back down. Still, the first mile was right about where I expected it to be--13:28. My average heart rate was pretty low, still, at 136 bpm.

I hoped the second mile would be uneventful, but I ended up running into an old friend that I hadn't seen in probably a decade. I stopped to say hi to her for a minute and didn't stop my Garmin, so the second mile was about a minute slower than actual (it read 13:45, with a heart rate of 141 bpm).

The third mile may have been better, but of course, I just had to try to take a mid-run selfie and that always makes my heart rate faster (I usually end up running faster for some reason--not on purpose). For that whole third mile, I felt like my heart rate was going up and down way too much, and I had to compensate by varying my speed.

Mile 1: 13:28, 136 bpm
Mile 2: 13:45 141 bpm
Mile 3: 13:38, 142 bpm

Other than the variables I mentioned, my heart rate and pace seem to be very similar to that on the treadmill. It's nice to have a reference point, and it will be interesting to see if it improves with solid MAF heart rate training.

And I honestly really enjoyed running outside! I despise running in the heat, so I will stick to the treadmill if it's hot or humid, but if the weather is nice, I think I'll run outside more. After writing about the things that I miss about running, I do feel that urge to go outside and run my regular routes.

I'm starting to think that maybe this 3-3-3 plan (3 miles, 3 times a week, for 3 months) just might stick! The difference is that I actually feel like I'm enjoying it. I'm doing something that I missed. Let's hope that I continue to enjoy it enough to get through three months and reevaluate ;)


  1. Hey Katie! I'm a newer blog reader; I don't think I've commented before but I just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying your blog. We have a lot in common, it's actually kind of funny! I live in SE Michigan, and I'm a runner who's just getting back into it after a 3 year hiatus (with some running here and there, but mostly not). I also spend too much money on nuts to feed a squirrel who hangs out in my backyard. :)

    But anyway, I just wanted to say that I identify with a lot of what you write and appreciate your blog.

  2. Hi Katie, First time I have seen your blog, and I love all the different articles to read. I used to run quite a bit in my 20's and 30's. Now that I am in my 50's, it seems so intimidating. So I am hoping to find some motivation here. I tend to overthink everything, and making it harder that it actually is. I love that all your info is current. Thanks again, Maria

  3. I'm so happy to see you blogging more regularly and to see some running posts make their way back into the mix! As a longtime reader, I've often found comfort and strength, (it's true!) in the consistency of your posts. Since shortly before I began reading your blog, until now, a span of about 8 years, I've lost and kept off 60lbs. Running has fallen to the wayside for me as well, but I'm optimistic about getting back to it. You are, once again, a great inspiration to me. Thank you for grinding out these posts even when you don't necessarily feel like it, I know I'm not alone when I say that I truly appreciate your hard work.

  4. Katie I'm jealous! The look on your face says it all. You're happy and you feel so healthy and strong. I know the feeling well from running most of my life except the past two months I haven't done one run because of pain in one hip. Thought if I took time off and kept taking Glucosamine I would recover, but no such luck. I decided I'm getting on the treadmill this morning anyway. I'm gonna huff and puff and sweat, it's not gonna be fun, but my leg muscles are gone & I'm so out of shape. So happy for you that you're back to running!

  5. Thank you Katie. I just did 3 miles on the treadmill in 38 minutes 11 seconds @ a 2% grade! It's the first time I paid attention to the miles instead of time or laps. I pushed myself and got in an excellent cardio. Now I'm smiling too! I used to only want to run outside no matter what, even dead of winter here in NE Ia. Now too scared because of mean aggressive dogs.

  6. that's awesome! way to go!


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