As promised, this weekend I ran outside for the first time. And it was 50 zillion times better than the gym.
Last week the Couch to 5K app had me run for 5-minute stretches for the first time, and I really struggled with it. By the third workout I could do it, and with walking I was able to do the full 5K distance, but I still found the 5-minute runs really difficult, partly because they just seemed endless. Running outside solved that! Instead of being bored, I had people to watch, sights to see, and sunshine to enjoy, all of which made the 5-minute stretches seem not bad at all. I’d never been on the East River path before (usually sticking to the west side and the Christopher Street pier), and was pleasantly surprised by how nice it was. It also didn’t hurt that it was finally 60 degrees, sunny, and spring in New York this weekend.
The one thing I did find difficult about running outside was pacing myself. At the gym, I set the treadmill to 5.2, and I run at 5.2 miles per hour. But outside, I realized that my natural inclination is to run faster–good for when I’ve been running longer and want to improve my time, but bad for right now when my goal is to run a 5K without burning out. I finally figured out that if I really watched myself and actively thought about going slower, and if I kept my iPhone on songs that I knew I ran on the beat to on the treadmill, I could use the music to keep my pace in check.
I’ll still need to use the gym on weeknights because I don’t have enough daylight yet for running outside by the time I get home from work (which is really just as well since then I can attempt to do weights and things), but I’m definitely going to start doing all my weekend runs outside, at least until it gets too hot. I still wouldn’t say I enjoy running, but when I’m outside in the sunshine, I don’t hate it.