I almost didn’t want to blog about my workout tonight. Or, worse yet, lie about it or not give all the details.

But if I’m not honest, how am I going to improve? These posts are for me, not anyone else.

The plan called for 30 minutes of running. After a quarter-mile walking warmup, I hopped on one of the good treadmills and set the pace for 10:20 or so, with a 1% incline. I figured that I could maintain that speed for most of the time, if not the entire time.

8 minutes in, I was stiff and my legs felt heavy and hard to move. 10 minutes in and my breathing was becoming more labored. I had to stop to walk. I walked for a minute and let my breathing return to normal, then picked the pace back up. But as the minutes passed, my guts started to, um, make themselves known. Ugh. My digestive system wasn’t cooperating, along with my lungs and my legs. I stopped at 15 minutes, walked for a minute, felt my shins (of all things! I’ve never had problems with my shins before!) feel tight and sore and just on the verge of hurting, and then… I got off the treadmill, got some water, and went to the bathroom. I was so disappointed in myself.

However, when I returned, after about a 10-12 minute “break”, I got back on the treadmill and set the pace for 10:30, and just plodded along. I kept setting a goal of “just another 2 minutes” or “just another quarter-mile” and, as each goal approached, I would set another one further out. I finally saw 10:00 of jogging. I told myself to just keep going… and I made it to a full 15 minutes before I had to stop again.

My breathing, while deep and heavy, wasn’t labored during my second 15 minutes. I think that, for these early runs, unless I’m working on speed work, I’m going to have to give myself permission to stop and walk if I need to during the first half of the time or distance, but push myself harder during the last half, just as I do during a race. Running hard during the last half is called “negative splits” and the running that I do later in the workout is more beneficial to me. But taking that break tonight felt like giving up.

After my run, I hit the weights. I got through one of my ‘circuits’ when I asked one of the trainers for some advice on how long to rest between sets. He told me that what I had been doing was more inclined to increase muscle mass rather than simply burn calories like I’d like. He suggested, instead, that I a) not rest between exercises, and b) do 15-20 reps at a slightly lighter weight (60% of my maximum, rather than 70-80%). I did one more circuit using his suggestion and then decided I was done for the night.