I find that my motivation to run looks kind of like this:
- 24 hours since last run: YEAH LET’S OVERDO THIS
- 48 hours since last run: YEAH LET’S DO THIS
- 72 hours since last run: sure I’ll run
- 96 hours since last run: mmm sloth
Lots of my friends get around this problem by signing up for races to force commitment to a training schedule. But I’m not really interested in running races. I just want to keep up a regular running schedule because it makes me feel good.
Beeminder has been a huge help getting me back on track when my motivation flags, but I have gotten myself in trouble after the past by overdoing it and getting injured. Any buffer long enough to give me a break while I heal is too long to maintain motivation. But I don’t want to be stuck with the choice of derailing or hurting myself further.
The obvious solution is to substitute walking. My rule used to be “you can only substitute walking when injured or sick”, but that’s a little bit nebulous and prone to abuse. A few months ago, I came across a Lifehacker article about World Health Organization exercise targets that inspired a better approach: track cardio time, but count walking time at half the rate of running time. Thanks
The gist of the WHO target is that adults should aim for one of:
- 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio per week
- 150 minutes of low-intensity cardio per week
In either case, the exercise should be spread across three sessions of at least ten minutes each. I think the natural way to differentiate between high and low intensity is which heart rate zone I’m in… but I don’t want to be dependent on accurate heart rate tracking for every session. I just bucket walking into low-intensity and everything else into high-intensity.
I’ve been tracking all of this manually in my cardio goal, but I believe there is Strava autodata support for my crazy edge case in the works! Thank you for humoring me, Beeminder crew!