I've since started running on the treadmill about 4 days a week, depending on my workout schedule. However, I've peaked at about a 30-32 minute 5k which in my mind, is not that great. I've also peaked at that distance which is definitely not that great considering my half marathon aspirations. Occasionally I'll have a burst of motivation and go for longer, but 30 minutes/ 3 miles seems to be that milestone that I just can't break through on a regular basis. It's incredibly frustrating, because I know it's purely mental. It's not like I hit 3 miles and my legs suddenly give out or my lungs are on fire, which means that it has to be purely mental.
I've tried inserting sprints which has actually helped my speed a little but I'm stuck at 5.5 mph (@ a 2% incline). I'm not so much worried about going faster as I am about going longer. I'm really hoping that by taking my runs outside, the change in scenery will take away the mental block that I'm having. I love the feeling of running and its so rare to find something like that these days that I want to prolong that feeling as long as possible, and 30 minutes just isn't enough for that. I want to be able to just go out and take a 5 mile run or say that I woke up one Saturday morning and ran 10 miles.
I've also noticed that as fun as running is and as much as I love the runners high (I never say no to endorphins!) by the end of the week my knees are killing me. They get this dull ache in them that spreads down my calves that no amount of time spent on the foam roller (which I swear by to relieve sore muscles) can cure. I've stretched, rolled, iced, taken glutamine, tried different socks (hey anything might work!), altered incline & speed, altered pace, and nothing has worked. Come Thursday I still feel like an 85 year old woman with arthritis in my knees, and I'm no where near 85.
My last thought (at the suggestion of a friend) was to get custom running shoes. I currently use some adorable blue Adidas tennis shoes for all sorts of workouts both indoors and outdoors. They aren't specifically made for running and that's the only thing I can think of to change. As I've started reading more blogs from runners, they all talk about having good shoes. Right now I'm debating between custom running shoes (uh, hello expensive!) and regular running shoes from my local Big 5. Being so new to running, I'm not really sure which one is a better investment (especially to have to replace them in 300ish miles anyways) and even how to go about finding a decent running shoe. You know what that means??? RESEARCH here I come!
So just in case another set of eyes happens upon this page, do you have a preference? Or a recommendation for a struggling beginner? My knees would greatly appreciate it :O)