The new math: 8.67 miles == 5 kilometers

I have three week­ly items in my to-do list which set a rather low bar for my week­ly mileage: first is to walk one mile, once per week. A few years ago my doc­tor pre­scribed this for me. He told me it was inten­tion­al­ly an easy goal so that I could com­mit to it and keep my com­mit­ment. I added a sec­ond recur­ring task to «walk or run at least two miles», and more recent­ly I added «run at least three miles.» Six miles per week is a pret­ty poor train­ing reg­i­men, but it’s a min­i­mum of three out­ings per week.

I had­n’t intend­ed this when I cre­at­ed the lat­est recur­ring task, but it occurred to me as I was warm­ing up (walk­ing) today that per­haps my «three mile» run ought to be specif­i­cal­ly three miles of actu­al run­ning. That is to say that I should add up the miles I run sep­a­rate from the miles I walk while I’m out on a run, and that no mat­ter what my total dis­tance I ought to count it as a three mile run only if I run three miles.

It also seems appro­pri­ate to change the task from «three mile» to «5K» because I mea­sure my runs in kilo­me­ters even if I know most dis­tances (eg to the gro­cery and back) in miles.

Today I also took advan­tage of my warm-up to inten­tion­al­ly set up walk/run inter­val goals. Rather than take walk breaks when­ev­er I feel like I should, I planned my walk breaks in advance. I start­ed with a one-mile walk­ing warmup, then ran a mile, then walked a half mile, then ran a mile, walked a half mile, and so on. It did­n’t work out quite per­fect­ly because I want­ed to get pic­tures both of the [Hornet]([canonical-url:media-gallery/detail/1662/509]) and of the [A‑4 Skyhawk]([canonical-url:media-gallery/detail/1662/510]) in front of [Enci­nal High School](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encinal_High_School). Those loca­tions were nine-tenths of a mile apart.

At six and a half miles, half of which had been run­ning and half walk­ing, my leg and knee began to hurt. It was a pret­ty dull ache but per­sis­tent. I am still not sure what the pain is, but I don’t keep going when there is pain I can’t imme­di­ate­ly iden­ti­fy. Unfor­tu­nate­ly at that point I was still two miles from home. So I walked the remain­der of the way, stop­ping at Trad­er Joe’s again to pick up bananas and limeade. I was limp­ing notice­ably by the time I arrived home but I don’t think I seri­ous­ly injured myself, just pushed some­thing a lit­tle too hard.

So the actu­al dis­tance run today was 3.25 miles out of a total of 8.67 miles trav­eled. It took eight and two-thirds miles for me to be able to check «run at least 5K» off my to-do list.

And I sus­pect I’m going to be sore for a cou­ple of days.

All that said, today was a great day out. It ful­filled one of the pri­ma­ry rewards of run­ning for me: I got from one place to anoth­er entire­ly under my own pow­er. I don’t real­ly get a sense of dis­tance and loca­tion if I dri­ve some­where, not the same way that I do if I trav­el on foot. It’s not prac­ti­cal to walk every­where, but I get to do that kind of explo­ration when I run. Com­ing home and say­ing that I did x num­ber of miles is an achieve­ment, but one with less mean­ing than, «I ran out to see the Hor­net.» The best runs I’ve done have all been ones where I tried a new route or got to explore an entire­ly new area. Some­times it’s great to go far­ther along the same route, but that’s because it means there is new ground that I haven’t cov­ered before. Run­ning is the pure do-it-your­self method of trav­el and today that vital aspect of the exer­cise paid off nicely.