Archive | July 2013

Sod The Sniffles

I’ve been feeling lousy since yesterday’s run. Not because of the run itself, but because I started getting a cold and my sinuses were killing me. To be fair, it has been coming on for a few days now but came to a head yesterday afternoon with the result that I really didn’t feel like doing my run this morning.

I woke up at 8am, which is late for me even at the weekend, and decided that, apart from my sinuses feeling rubbish, it was too late to go out. I could always start Week 6 tomorrow. No big deal as you are supposed to leave a day between runs on C25K – I just do two at the weekend because I prefer to run in the morning.

Anyway, I made myself some coffee and logged in to WordPress to see what everyone else was up to. As usual, I read a whole load of inspiring stories from people doing anything from C25K up to marathon training and I realised that I was being stupid. 

I ran for twenty minutes non-stop yesterday and all I had to do today was a couple of five minute runs with an eight minute run in the middle. Was I really going to let my sniffly sinuses get in the way of that? Of course not!

So, I grabbed my trainers and a huge wad of toilet roll (I didn’t have any tissues) and headed for the seafront just after 9:00 am. To be honest, the run wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Perhaps it was the fear of my nose running faster than I was (which it didn’t) or the fact that having run twenty minutes non-stop yesterday I thought I had super human powers (which I clearly don’t) that made it tough. I’m not sure, but I did get through it and I feel so much better as a result.

Yes, I still have horrible itchy sinuses, but they feel better than they did when I first woke up this morning, so maybe it did me some good in that sense. The main thing though, is that I got my run in. And the thing that made me do it was reading other people’s blogs and comments. It really does make a huge difference.

I’m going to have nice hot Lemsip now and chill out for the rest of the day. So, thanks for your words of encouragement. Have a great weekend and feel free to leave a comment or a link to your blog.

Cheers!

Twenty Minutes Non Stop

I did it! Today was Week 5 Day 3 of C25K, the day that everyone looks forward to with a degree of excitement and a fair amount dread.

The goal for today was to run for either twenty minutes or two miles without stopping. As my main goal at the moment is to keep going, rather than thinking about speed or distance, I opted for the twenty minutes rather than the two miles.

Having only ever run for eight minutes at a time, I did have some doubts about whether I’d be able to do it. However, it proved to be a lot easier than I thought it would be.

This is partly to do with the fact that the C25K program allows your body to adapt to running for longer, but more than that, it also has a lot to do with the way that doing C25K makes you listen to and understand your body’s needs and what it is capable of.

The most important thing that I have learned over the last five weeks or so is how to pace myself. I no longer worry about how I look when I’m running, about what people think of my half jog half shuffle, or about how many people overtake me as I make my way along the seafront. If I have to go slowly to keep going, then that’s what I’ll do. And it works.

The other thing that I have learned is that the way you breathe makes a huge difference. As well as ensuring that your body is getting a steady flow of oxygen, focusing on breathing helps keep my mind off other distractions like how hot it is, how much further I have to go, or how my legs are starting to hurt.

If you missed my post about breathing, you can check it out here. The technique used in the video really helped me get through today’s run without feeling like I was going to keel over by the end of it.

Ok, so I didn’t manage the full two miles. I checked my distance when I got home and found that the running part of my work out, not including the five minute warm up and cool down, was only 1.78 miles. But that’s close enough for now and gave me a pace of 11 minutes and 14 seconds (or thereabouts) per mile, which I’m pretty pleased with.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back to intervals of walking and running again with Week 6 Day 1, so hopefully that will help me to work on my pace for next Saturday’s 22 minutes. I can’t wait!

How’s your training going? Have you done Week 5 Day 3? How do you find the leap to longer running segments in your training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Waiting For The Storm

I’ve been really enjoying the thought of running in a thunderstorm this week. After the last couple of weeks of record breaking temperatures in the South East of England, the weather forecast has been promising lots of lovely cool rain to lift the atmosphere again.

Unfortunately, we’ve not had any. At least, not while I’ve been awake.¬†Still, the high temperatures are starting to ease off a bit so this evening’s run was much more comfortable than I thought it would be.

This evening was Week 5 Day 2 of C25K, which meant I had to run two eight minute segments with a five minute walk between them. I felt pretty confident about the eight minutes as I’d already run for eight minutes a couple of weeks ago when I accidentally set my app to the wrong day, but the entire run was so much easier than I thought it would be.

I don’t know if it was the cooler weather, or the fact that I’m getting better at pacing myself, or a combination of the two, but I absolutely loved this evening’s run. Don’t get me wrong, the first eight minutes of running wasn’t easy, and the arrival of the five minute walking segment came as a welcome relief, but after a just couple of minutes of walking, I really wanted to run again.

When I did start to run again, I couldn’t believe how good it felt. Instead of praying for the final minute with every step, or using my soundtrack as rough a guide to how much time I had left, I just focussed on my breathing and tried to keep a steady pace.

Then, when the signal came for the final minute, I pushed myself a little bit harder and tried to run a little bit faster. Nothing crazy. No sprint to the finish line or race to complete exhaustion. I just picked up my feet a little bit more to give myself a slightly longer stride, a bit of a push to see how it felt. And it felt good.

I know I can’t run for thirty minutes the way that I ran for that last sixty seconds (yet), but it was good to give myself that extra little push without overdoing it.

I’m still waiting for that lovely cool downpour of thundery rain, when I can splash through the puddles as I race to get home; but for now, I guess I’ll have to make do with a nice cold shower.

How do you cope with running in the heat? How does the cooler weather affect the way that you feel about your progress? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Breathe

After yesterday’s run, I decided not to repeat Week 4 after all. I don’t want to push myself too hard, but I do want to push myself to run further, so this morning I bit the bullet and moved on to Week 5.

It was a good run. I kept the pace slow and steady, which is something I seem to be getting much better at. When I first started, I found slow running kind of frustrating and, if I’m honest, a bit embarrassing. I want to run, not jog, but we all have to start somewhere, right?

Now, a few weeks on, I don’t really mind that I might look a bit silly shuffling along the seafront. The nice thing about living in Brighton and Hove is that you see a lot of runners around and they’re not all ploughing through the pavements at high speed.

We come in all shapes and sizes, running, jogging, walking and no one seems to be at all interested in what anyone else is doing or what they look like when they’re doing it.

However, I would like to run better. A bit faster, a longer stride, and a more even pace would be good. But where do I start?

I tend to find that the main problem I have with the longer running segments is that I start to get out of breath so I decided that, for the next week, I’m going to focus on my breathing.

There’s plenty of information and advice about how to control your breathing when running, but I found this video really helpful today.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve got it spot on, not by any stretch of the imagination, but focusing on this technique really helped me to get through those longer segments today.

Have you thought about your breathing when running? What techniques have you used to help get it under control? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

Back On Track

I’m back on track with my training this morning after a week or so of not doing much. It’s pretty hot here in Hove and I woke up with a horrible headache. Probably a bit dehydrated after two alcohol free beers last night.

Needless to say, the thought of running in the heat was a bit daunting, but I knew that the longer I put it off, the hotter it would get. So, after two long glasses of cold water I got my running gear on and headed out to brave the heat.

Surprisingly enough, it didn’t feel that hot at 7:30 this morning. As I stepped out the front door, I was welcomed by a lovely cool breeze. It was much cooler than inside my flat, which I hadn’t been expecting given the recent rise in temperatures.

Still, I knew it would be hotter than I am used to when running and, since I haven’t been running regularly for the last week or so, I decided to take this morning’s run at a slow, steady pace.

When I got to half way, I couldn’t believe how far I had run. I made it much further along the seafront than ever before and it felt really good. I didn’t think I had been going that fast, but I guess even with last week’s break my fitness level is still improving.

I’m not using a GPS to track my distance as it eats up too much of my iPod battery if I want to use my C25K app and listen to music at the same time, but according to Google maps I did about 2.4 miles this morning.

While it’s tempting to try to push myself harder to run faster and further each time, one of the things I love about this whole program is that it’s not about how far or how fast you run, but the fact that you can run for longer each week.

It still blows my mind to think that I can now run for five minutes without stopping. Even at my incredibly slow pace, it feels like a huge achievement.

It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow we are, if we run every day or a couple of times a week, or if we take breaks from the routine every now and again. As long as we are running, we can call ourselves runners and that’s something to be proud of .

How’s your running going? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments.

Sidetracked

I seem to have become a little bit sidetracked as far as my C25K training is concerned. Usually, I run Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, but last week and this week, things haven’t really gone according to plan.

Last Wednesday’s run was postponed until Thursday as I had noticed some pain in my shins that I thought might be shin splints. By Thursday, they felt fine though and I had a good run. I was surprised by how well I was coping with the three and five minute runs and managed to complete the run without any pains or niggles.

However, as I had family visiting this week, I guessed that I might not manage Week 5 quite so easily so decided to repeat Week 4. Saturday morning’s run was good, but after a busy day and late night out in London, I missed my run on Sunday morning. Then on Wednesday, even though I had booked a day off work, I didn’t get up early enough to go for a run and was busy doing things with my family for the rest of the day.

As a result, my whole schedule has pretty much gone to pot, but it was worth it. I got to spent time with my family, who I haven’t seen since October, and even though I wasn’t running, I certainly got plenty of exercise this week just by walking around and acting like a tourist with them.

So, I have decided that next week I’m going to repeat Week 4 and get back into my running routine. If things go according to plan, I should still be able to complete 5K by the end of August; and if they don’t, well, I can still run a lot further than I could a month ago.

For me, the most important thing is to enjoy the training. Sometimes life gets in the way of running, but it’s no big deal. As long as I get back out there and keep making progress, it’s all good.

How’s your training going? How do you juggle your time between running and other commitments? How do you get yourself back on track when injuries, work, family or life in general interrupt your running routine? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

Sunday Sun And Shin Splints

It looks like summer has finally arrived, which is lovely if you want to laze around in the sun, but not so lovely if you want to run.

Being a fair skinned Scott, I’m really not a fan of hot weather. Warm and sunny, yes; hot and humid, not so much.

Still, I wasn’t going to let a bit of hot weather spoil my run yesterday. I got up early, drank plenty of water and then chose to run along the main street rather than the seafront so that I could at least stay in the shade. It was a straight run there and back and, apart from the fact that I sweated a bit more than usual, it was all pretty uneventful.

Despite taking the run slow and steady, however, I started to notice some pain in my shins. This is unusual for me as my aches and pains tend to fade as I run, but this was getting worse with each step. Not bad enough to stop me from running, but bad enough to make it feel uncomfortable.

My guess is that it’s shin splints, possibly caused by heel strikes or running on an uneven pavement. Not too serious at this stage, but it does mean that I should avoid running until they feel better.

I usually have Monday and Tuesday as rest days so hopefully it will have cleared up by Wednesday’s scheduled run. If not, I’ll have to wait, which is kind of annoying. But I guess that’s all part of being a runner, right?

How do you deal with shin splints? Do you keep running or take some rest until the pain clears up? What’s the best way to avoid them altogether? Please share your thoughts, ideas and tips in the comments.

 

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