Archive | June 2014

Playing With Pace

I decided to go for a run this evening. I don’t know why, but for some reason I just felt like it.

With less than a week to go until the Race For Life 10K, I realised that it would be a bad idea to do two long runs back to back, so I opted for some speed work instead. Nothing too strenuous. Nothing too rigid. Just a quick short run along the seafront.

To be honest, I’ve kind of missed doing speed work. Much as I love pushing through those long slow runs on a Sunday morning or after work, there’s nothing quite like that feeling when the momentum takes over and your legs really start moving, going  faster and faster until your lungs start to burn and your heart feels like it’s going to burst through your chest. No, really, it is a good feeling. Honestly. Although, to be fair, I don’t have to run very fast before that happens.

Anyway, this evening I wanted to run fast so I set off at a good pace and managed to sustain an average of 5:44 for the first kilometre before slowing to a walk break. Now, I know I’m not even close to being able to maintain that kind of pace over a longer distance, but it didn’t feel as hard as I thought it would, so maybe this is something that I could work on after next weekend’s 10K.

2014-06-29_Graph

The second kilometre, however, was made up of a couple of shorter walk breaks and running segments, working out at just over 50% running (in terms of distance), so the average pace was much slower at 7:13. In saying that though, the running sections were a bit faster than in the first kilometre, which was good in one sense, but was probably the reason I had to walk for longer.

The final 500 metres was kind of interesting though. Although I walked about 100 metres of it, my average pace came out at only ten seconds slower than in the first kilometre, which has got me thinking about the whole run/walk thing again.

2014-06-29_Splits

I know Jeff Galloway has built this whole training philosophy on how to use run/walk ratios and, much as I hate to admit it, I’m starting to like the idea of it.

Of course, I’m not going to give up non-stop running. A huge part of what I love about running is the ability to push on and to keep going without stopping or walking, even if it does mean that I’m slow, but in terms of achieving quicker times over longer distances, it is an interesting idea.

How do you feel about using run/walk ratios in races? What type of difference does run/walk make to your average pace? Have you tried the Jeff Galloway program? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

10K At Last!

2014-06-28_10KAt last! Today I finally got myself back up to 10K. Ok, so I took some walk breaks, but I still went the distance, which makes me feel like I’m getting myself back on track.

The surprising thing about this morning’s run though, was that even with the walk breaks, I was pretty much at the same pace overall as I was back in February when I ran in the Chichester Priory 10K. In fact, today I was a whole second faster!

With only one week to go until the Race For Life 10K, I know that I’m not going to run anything close to my PB, but I don’t really mind. I’m gradually learning to accept that progress isn’t always a linear thing. Sometimes we have to go back before we can move forward, and I’m totally fine with that.

I’m not planning on doing any more races for a while after next weekend. Instead, I plan to get back into parkrun and just have some fun with my running without the pressure of race days and training schedules.

Of course, I’ll still be running and blogging as always, but I’d like to try out some different types of workout and just enjoy running for the sake of running. Besides, it’s summer now and I’m just not very good in the heat.

How’s your running going? Do you have any races lined up for the summer months? How do you cope with running in the heat? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Post Run Paddle

It’s finally starting to feel like summer here on the South Coast, so much so that I’m having to make sure that I get out early for my weekend morning runs before it gets too hot.

I had planned to get out before 7:00 am for this morning’s run but after last night’s slightly greasy spag bol, my stomach wasn’t really up for such an early start. Luckily, things settled down by about 8:00 am and I headed for the seafront for a nice easy 7K.

It was already warm down on the seafront and there wasn’t much of a breeze to cool things down, but I was feeling pretty relaxed about it and decided that I would take a walk break if I had to. This is something that I usually avoid but, as I’m really not very good in the heat generally, I realised that it would probably do me more harm than good to push it.

2014-06-22_7KSo, I took some walk breaks: one at 4.9 kilometres, another at 5.4 kilometres and a final one at 6.1 kilometres. Each break was only for about 100 metres, so it didn’t make too much difference to my overall pace. In fact, it probably helped as it meant that I drank more water than I would have done had I kept running.

By the time I finished, however, I had almost run out of water and was feeling pretty hot and sweaty. Normally I have about half a bottle left to drink as I stretch and cool down before heading home, but that wasn’t an option today, so I tried something different. Something that I’ve thought about doing before, but never got around to trying. I went for a paddle in the sea.

I know. It’s obvious, right? A natural ice bath within minutes of finishing a run! They say that it’s supposed to help ease muscles aches and, to be honest, I’ve always been a bit sceptical about that – mostly because I hate the thought of jumping into a bath of ice – but this morning’s post run paddle really seems to have done the trick.

I wasn’t in the water for long, maybe about five minutes or so, and I only went in up to my knees, but the usual aching calves that I experience after a run (even with stretching) are nowhere to be found this morning. In fact, apart from feeling a little bit tired, my legs feel better now than they have done in weeks!

So, it looks like running in the heat isn’t so bad after all.

What are your thoughts on ice after a run? Do you take ice baths or do you prefer to just a have a good stretch? Please share your thoughts in the comments?

Hello Mojo

After last Thursday’s confidence knock, I decided to take a week off from training. Even though there’s only a couple of weeks until my next 10K race and I’m still a long way from getting back up to the distance, it seemed like the best course of action. I mean, the important thing is to be able to take part in the event. It doesn’t matter if I run it all or have to walk some of it; as l long as I get to take part, right?

2014-06-19_6KSo, after a week of rest, recovery and good eating to build my strength back up, I headed out this evening for a nice easy ‘no pressure’ run along the seafront. The aim was to run a minimum of 5K and a maximum of 7K, nice and slowly without any pressure to go fast or far.

As it turned out, this evening’s run went much better than last week’s. Perhaps it was due to the cooler temperature or lack of people on the promenade or just the fact that I’d taken some time to rest, but I managed to complete 6.26 kilometres in 41:23.

The pace wasn’t great, but it was respectable enough for me at 6:37 per kilometre, so I’m happy with that. The main thing was to get running again and to feel good at the end of it. Job done!

I guess that means my mojo is back!

Bloggy Birthday To Me!

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my blog – a whole year since I made the decision to start running with the C25K program.

In some ways it’s  hard to believe that it has been a whole year already since I started running; yet in other ways it feels like I’ve been running forever. Running has become a big part of my life and has taught me a lot about myself. So, in order to celebrate my bloggy birthday, I thought it would be good to reflect on some of the things that running has taught me over the last twelve months:

1. Listen To Your Body

This is one of the first big lessons that I learned (the hard way) and it is a lesson that I have to remind myself of frequently. No matter what the training programs say, we are all different and some of us need more rest and recovery than others. It’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean that those of us who need more recovery time won’t make progress; it just means that in order to make progress and avoid injury, we need more non-running days. I mean, I know I’m much fitter than I was a year ago, but at the age of 40, I’m not going to beat myself up if I need more recovery time than a 20 or 30 year old!

2. Do It Even When Especially When You Don’t Feel Like It

Sometimes, it’s not our bodies that are telling us not to run, but our minds. On days like this, the best thing to do is go out and get a run in. It doesn’t have to be the run you planned. In fact, I find the best way to deal with days like this is to just get out there and see what happens. Run a couple of kilometres to let yourself get back into it and then see how you feel. No pressure, no goals, just run and enjoy it. It’s amazing how many times I’ve done this and found that, after a couple of kilometres, I suddenly feel like doing more. Of course, there are days when I just do a couple and then stop. But it always feels good to know that I’ve done it.

3. Take It One Step At A Time

This one has really changed my outlook, not just on running but on life in general. The C25K program taught me to be patient. Follow the steps and put trust in the process. It’s frustrating at times when the progress feels slow, but if you take it one step at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will get there. Ironically, since I started running, I have become much more patient, methodical and relaxed about life in general. Running is definitely good for the soul!

4. You Are Capable Than More Than You Think You Are

When I first started running, my only goal was to be able to run for a sustained period of time. 5K seemed like a lot, and it was, but since then I’ve built up my distance to 10K and even managed to run a half-marathon distance with only a couple of walk breaks. My biggest achievement over the last twelve months though, was to walk/jog 100K from London to Brighton, finishing in just over 26 hours. It wasn’t a particularly fast time, but I did it. Who would have thought that was possible a year ago?

5. Your Body Adapts

The human body is an amazing thing. From Day 2 of C25K, I started noticing the difference. It wasn’t a big difference, but throughout the program and in the months that followed, I was continually surprised by just how well the body adapts to exercise. Every week, I ran further, or faster and or kept going for longer. It was a gradual process, but I felt it in almost every run. Yes, some runs are better than others, but the body learns quickly; the trick is to keep the mind on track!

So, that’s it. My first bloggy birthday. Lots of lessons learned and plenty more to come, but it all started with that simple decision to put on my trainers and go for a run – best decision I ever made!

How has running changed your outlook on life? What lessons have you learned along the way? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Juneathon Day 12: Where’s My Mojo?

mojoI’m struggling to find my mojo this week. I’m not sure what it is, but something just isn’t right. The legs, the lungs, the mind… it all just feels a bit out of balance at the moment.  Something is missing, but I’m determined to find it again.

This evening’s run was to be an easy 7K to try to build up my distance again and, while I did manage to cover the whole 7K, it wasn’t easy by any means. It could have been the temperature, maybe I wasn’t hydrated enough or perhaps I should have eaten more before run, but it just didn’t feel right.

I took plenty of water with me, tried changing my route to run in the shade and even had walk breaks (which I hate doing), but my head, my heart or whatever it is that usually pushes me through just wasn’t in it. I don’t know. Perhaps it was just one of those runs that everyone has from time to time.

2014-06-12_7K Overview

On the up-side though, I completed the 7K that I set out to do. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t pretty, but the fact that I kept going is something to hold on to.

Tomorrow is another day so hopefully I’ll find my mojo again on my next run.

How do you get yourself through those bad runs? What do you do when you can’t find your mojo? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Juneathon Day 10: Back On The Wagon

It seems that I fell off the Juneathon wagon a little earlier than I’d hoped. Last week’s return to running and the beginnings of a new yoga adventure left me feeling pretty drained by Friday so I decided to take a couple of extra rest days to let my body recover. And it seems to have paid off.

Tonight the training plan called for 5K and Fartlek. I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to do, but I was ready to climb back on the old wagon and give it a go.

The truth is that, much as I like those long slow runs, I kind of miss that feeling of pushing the pace to that trance like state where the only thing that matters is the rhythm of my feet on the pavement and the air pumping through my lungs.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Not tonight anyway. Tonight was more of the same long slow plodding to make sure I got the distance covered, but with a couple of short bursts of speed – not many, but enough to know that I can still pick up the pace.

The legs were still feeling a bit heavy for most of the run, but they are getting better. Hopefully some yoga tomorrow will help to loosen things up and I’ll be ready to take on a bit more distance on Thursday.

Until then, happy Juneathon!

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