Not a very clever title, I know, but the fact is, today's run was good evidence that I am improving. My walk breaks were very few. Two, if I recall correctly. Any other dips in my pace chart are due to waitng for traffic to clear. The Polar system is not fooled by jogging in place.
I want you should notice two things: One, that the Polar measured the up-to-Prospect-Park route as 174 feet of elevation. Even I'm surprised by that much, but it makes sense. Two, this run was extremely smooth. It sure felt like it and the graphs bear that out: My heart rate stays in the hard intensity zone far more than half the time, but doesn't go too high - I'd kept an eye on my heart rate and tried to keep it right at 150-155 bpm. This is a good training range, I think. I was able to get up the hills pretty good and didn't want to collapse at the top. Coming back, things were actually pleasant, with my stride slightly lengthening, but trying to keep my speed constant. I would up doing about a 9 minute mile pace for most of the run, with the result that - with the 2 walk breaks and waiting for traffic - my overall pace was about 11 m/m.
Of supreme importance: I felt GOOD. I felt powerful. I didn't stop for any coughing, just ran through the coughing fits. My torso is already feeling the effects of the core workouts (I realize most of that's in my head, of course) and I felt like I had better posture and balance throughout the run. Honestly, this was my best run in months and it gives me belief that this training cycle is going to be a good one. Given a couple more weeks of running and core exercises and get up to some six mile long runs and I'll feel like a real runner again.
I need to improve my habit of not warming up, or not stopping to stretch. I've been denying myself that lately and that's a problem. From now on, my runs will begin with a slow 1/2-mile warmup and several minutes of stretching. Also, I need to start tracking my weight through this cycle. Maybe not every day, maybe just once a week. Well, I've got a coupon that becomes good on Monday for a scale at Costco, bringing the price down to $18. Can't pass that up.