So what’s all this running stuff about anyway…

So, those with an eagle eye may have noticed that I, of all people, have been mentioning the fact that I’ve been starting to go running on Facebook and Twitter. Now why on Earth would I do that? Anyone who knows me well, but has not known me for more than 17 or 18 years might not believe that I’ve ever been a runner. To be fair I’ve never been a particularly __good__ runner, and I am mindful of the fact that having been a runner in my teenage years, at boarding school, should not allow me to misguidedly think that I can easily recapture that level of fitness. After all it was roughly 21 to 17 years ago, and while I’m not __old__ I am older. So why would I put myself through the horror of trying to become a runner once more?

Well, I have gone through short periods of finding some success with running in the last 8 years, but not really in the last 4 years, so it’s not actually that long ago that I have done __some__ running, and so it’s not quite as mad as it might sound. Still, having made great strides (if you’ll pardon the pun) with adopting cycling for my personal fitness and as one of the core choices supporting my decision last year to slowly and sustainably change my lifestyle with a view to better safeguarding my long-term health, what need is there for running? The answer is quite simple – it’s not really very safe for me to be out cycling 10 to 15 miles in the pre-dawn mornings or the post-dusk evenings that I have access to as a working stiff. My vision is more than good enough in fine and light conditions, though I do have to take particular care with regard to looking over my right shoulder, with the defecit in my vision being mostly in my right eye, but I am of the opinion that it is other people actually seeing me, even with lights and high-vis / reflective gear that is more worrisome. I am intending to continue to cycle at the weekends and on days when I am not working, and of course once the year rocks around to light mornings once more then I want to be putting in as many miles as I can on Suzie, but in the meantime I am worried that my fitness is going to suffer if I don’t take up something as an alternative, an activity that I can easily and cheaply partake of 4 or 5 days a week. Thus I have started running. This is not as grand or foolhardy as it sounds, I am taking it easy, keeping an eye on my knee (the one that’s damaged), and not going all out to immediately be running half-marathons by Christmas, but listening to my body and yet allowing myself to push enough that I am doing meaningful exercise.

The thing is, I’m a bit of a neophyte as to the science of all of this… I’ve had one good recommendation on Twitter, that I should buy a heart-rate monitor and use it to achieve and maintain a target heart-rate, while also using it to time myself so that I run for an allotted and increasing amount of time, rather than worry about distance, and this seems to be a very good bit of advice on the surface… The thing is that I’ve not even the first clue about which brand of heart-rate monitor to buy, let alone how much I should expect to spend or once I’ve got the thing how to work out what my target heart-rate should be. I am still managing to lose weight by increments, and my primary motivation for exercising at the moment is to support and strengthen the weight-loss objective, but I’d like to think that I might be able to get a little bit fit(ter) as well, over time… Do I focus on fat-burning, do a bit of both (i.e. fat-burning AND cardio), or do I wait for fitness to come as the next stage after I achieve my target weight? I’m sure I could find answers to these questions on the ‘Net, but I’m just as sure that I could find five different answers (at least) on the ‘Net and I’m not really sure who to believe…

I suppose what I am asking for is some guidance from friends / readers who have gone through this process, so based on actual experience and wotnot. If you’ve bought a heart-rate monitor or you’ve got some good advice about training regimes and so forth, then please let me benefit from the wealth of your experience, and beyond that, if you can recommend any good fitness / running / cycling websites to me then than would also be really cool.

Right, back to the lazing around and reading… 😉

Cycling Bore Alert!