Consistently Inconsistent

Edit: 09/26/12 – I just wanted to thank Running from Hell with El, tristenblog, imarunner2012 and Urban Running Girl for the advice and encouragement!  I truly appreciate it.  I highly recommend everyone visit their blogs..they are great!

To me, one of the most frustrating parts of being a new runner is how consistently inconsistent I can be!  One day a run can feel like you are running with lead boots on your feet, through a mud pit, at 10,000 ft. elevation. Then the same run on a different day can feel like your running on air, faster and easier than a gazelle (in my case an older, much heavier gazelle).  WHY?

I keep a fairly consistent lifestyle.  I get up each day around the same time, I eat healthy and about the same calorie and nutritional values each day (trying to lose weight), I work fairly consistent hours and I get to sleep around the same time.  With all this consistency in routine, I am amazed at how inconsistent running can be!

The most inconsistent part for me is my breathing, not my leg strength, my bad knee or my flat feet….my breathing!  Now don’t get me wrong…3 months ago I couldn’t run for more than 30 seconds without sounding like an asthmatic water buffalo running slowly walking a marathon, and now I run for 45 minutes non-stop (most days).

My last 2 runs illustrate my point and are what inspired this post.  Friday, it took everything I had to make it through my run.  My legs felt good, my feet felt good but I could not get my breathing into a steady rhythm and it just sucked!  Welcome to the lead boots, mud pit, 10,000 ft. elevation run!  Fast forward to this morning.  I ran my usual distance, I felt great, ran great and had my fastest run time yet!  (The old over weight gazelle made an appearance.)

Breathing is a natural function of the human body for most people (all people really), but there are those of us that have various respiratory problems that can effect breathing.  In my case it is/was Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Basically, I would stop breathing for 10 seconds or more (as long as 40 seconds) 59 times an hour.. suffocating myself as I slept!  Fortunately after decades of this I was diagnosed and have been on CPAP treatment now for almost 3 years.

Doesn’t that look comfortable to sleep in? (and oh so sexy!)  It really isn’t so bad actually.  I basically had to decide between wearing the CPAP mask while I slept, having an operation to open the airway or suffer with OSA.  Well, the OSA was causing other medical complications that were only going to get worse as I got older, the surgery is incredibly painful and not 100% permanently successful or wear a mask as I slept that blows air into my airway to keep it open while I slept.  I chose the mask.  My OSA is very well controlled, the other medical conditions are a thing of the past and I feel great (most days).

So when does the consistency come into running?  I would even settle for a little more consistency on an inconsistent basis if I could get it!  LOL!  I would love to hear any tips, stories, metaphors or sage advice ( I would even take a Haiku at his point) anyone would be willing to share.


About ZekeRunning

My name is Harry, I am 46 years old living in Mesa, AZ. I work in Retail Management and I am an Aspiring Amateur Home Chef. I weigh too much (getting less by the day), work too much and I wasn’t getting any exercise! I had to do something…and I chose to start running!
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8 Responses to Consistently Inconsistent

  1. Running from Hell with El says:

    I think this is true no matter how many years you’ve been running. In a normal week, you might get 1 great day, 1 awful day, and a mix, or an average, on the other days. The key is training smart, not overtraining, and taking the good with the bad and all places in between.

    • ZekeRunning says:

      Thanks for the advice El! I will heed your words and keep at it. I just need to gain experience and wisdom (sometimes difficult for me. LOL). I also wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your writings on your blog and FB page. It is the first thing I look at in the morning and your talent and passion always shine through. I hope I can someday be 1/100th of the writer you are.

  2. tristenblog says:

    I have tried a couple different things to get my breathing down and have found that I struggle the first 1/2 mile to mile almost everytime I step out the door. If you find something that works let us know!

  3. It is common to feel sluggish the first 1/2 to full mile of any run. Try starting out slow so that you can warm up your muscles. After the first mile you should feel better.
    You should also pay attention to what you eat and drink before a run. Are you properly hydrated? If you can eat before a run, I would encourage you to do so. High glycemic index foods before a run are best. You want your blood sugar to be high while you are exercising so that your muscles will have plenty of energy. I don’t mean candy bars but white rice, power bars etc.
    Good luck and let us know how you are doing.

    • ZekeRunning says:

      Thanks for the reply. I know what you mean…it takes me a little more than 1/2 mile to a mile to warm up. I am still very new to running so by 1 mile I am almost 1/3 of the way to my goal for the day! 🙂 LOL! Eating before a run is difficult right now. I live in Arizona and it is still too warm to run in the afternoon or evenings (100+ degrees still) so I run around 5:30 am. Running that early I would have to get up and eat by 3:00 am if I were to eat before hand..and I learned the hard way NOT to run until my food was well digested. Thanks for the input and I will let you know how it goes.

  4. I have a challenge for you. Do you have a Garmin or other device that allows you to set a time to run and a time to rest? You said in your post you can run up to 45 minutes non stop. I’m wondering if you are battling a bit of fatigue during your run. Have you looked at your splits? My challenge (if you have a garmin/similar device) would be to set it for 10 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Pace yourself accordingly during your running times. Like for instance, I’m pretty steady for the first six minutes, and then I push a little more for the last 4 because I know I will be coming up on a 1 minute walk. On my one minute rest, I walk briskly, and then when the beeper tells me to run again, I repeat with the run. I have found that by walking the one minute, I am stronger and end up going farther/faster in the same time if I were to run non-stop. The walking gives me enough recovery to push myself.

    • ZekeRunning says:

      Thank you for the advice…I certainly need all the help I can get. I do track my mile times as I run and my splits are pretty consistent. I think you could be right about the fatigue though. My breathng seems to get more problemeatic after I have a “good” run day. I have been getting one day of rest in between running days so I think after the harder days I am going to increase that to 2 days in between and see how that does. I will look at adding the intervals workout you mentioned.

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