VRUK Blog Hop #4

Circle HopI didn’t get a Virtual Run in last month, which is pretty bad since I’m supposed to be hosting the thing, but I have my reasons.

Mostly, it was because I was training for the London 2 Brighton Challenge, which meant lots and lots and lots of walking!

So, even though I didn’t manage to run 10K or even 5K for the whole of May, I did manage to walk a total of 119K in May, with a bit of jogging thrown in here and there.

This month though, what with Juneathon and a new 10K training plan, I’m trying to get back into running again. It’s not easy after the last couple of months of walking, but I’m slowly starting to build it up again and am looking forward to seeing if I can get back up to speed for this month’s Virtual Run.

One of my favourite things about Virtual Running though, is that you get to connect with new runners through the Virtual Running UK Blog Hop. It’s still quite small as blog hops go, but I kind of like that as it means that you can get round all of the other blogs more easily. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Virtual Running UK Blog Hop.

Have you tried Virtual Running yet? Click here to find out about this month’s virtual races.

Juneathon Day 6: Routine Stuff

Friday wasn’t the best day. I woke up feeling a bit off balance – literally! I didn’t feel dizzy exactly, but for some reason I kept leaning over to one side when I got out of bed. It only lasted a few minutes, but it was a bit odd – perhaps all that Yoga has stretched me out so much that one leg has become longer than the other! More likely though,  I was just a bit tired.

I didn’t feel too great for most f the day and when I got home I really didn’t have the strength to do anything for Juneathon, so I decided to have a rest day instead. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t exercise.

A couple of years ago, I changed my job. It’s a long story and I won’t bore you with the details, but one of the things I like about my current job is that I can walk to and from work each day. The distance, door to door is 1.7 miles, which takes me a bit less than 30 minutes to walk. So, Monday to Friday, I generally get at least an hour of exercise each day without even having to think about it.

When I first started doing this my main goal was to save money rather than to get fit, but I soon realised that walking to work was much more fun than catching the bus. Even when it is cold and wet outside, it’s much nicer being out in the fresh air than being packed into cramped, clammy, germ riddled metal box and, with traffic being pretty much nose to tail during rush hour in Brighton, it doesn’t actually take that much longer to get from A to B on foot.

So, while it’s not strictly in the spirit of Juneathon to include my daily foot commute, on days like this it is perhaps worth reminding ourselves of the exercise that we take on a daily basis and the difference that it makes to our general fitness and well being.

Do you walk to work? What exercise do you take as part of your daily routine? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Juneathon Day 5: Every Run Counts

According to my training plan, tonight was to be another nice easy 5K and I was feeling pretty good about it. Despite my legs still feeling a bit heavy, I’m starting to find that my energy levels are getting back to normal again so I headed down to the seafront to reacquaint myself with my favourite 5K route.

2014-06-05_Map

It was a nice evening. Warm but not too hot and there was a nice breeze coming in from the west to give me something to run against on the way out, and a little helping hand to push me along on the way back.

The first couple of kilometres were a bit of a struggle as my legs still aren’t moving as easily as they did before, but once I passed the half-way mark I began to find my stride again. The pace didn’t pick up much, but I could feel my confidence returning as I made my way along the seafront, revisiting familiar landmarks that reminded me of how far I have come over the last year. And it has been almost a full year since I started running. How time flies!

In a way, the last week or so has felt a bit like those early days of C25K. The frustration, the longing and the determination to keep going. Back then, every run was tough, but they all counted. No matter how short or how slow, they all made a difference. Each and every one of them.

So, as I plod along through the next few weeks, trying to regain my running fitness, I suppose I ought to remind myself of how easily the human body adapts. It takes time, but just getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other makes a difference. No matter how slow or how short or how frustrating it feels at times, every run counts.

Juneathon Day 4: Second Attempt At Yoga

My legs were feeling a bit stiff today after yesterday’s run (yes, I know it was only a short run, but I’m a bit out of practice) so I thought I’d have another go at some Yoga to see if it might help loosen things up a bit.

I decided to follow the same workout that I used on Monday and, to my surprise, it was a bit easier the second time round. I’m still not quite there with some of the stretches, but having done it once before, I found that I could focus a bit more on what I was doing rather than watching the video.

The main difference that I noticed was that I was much more relaxed than I had been on Monday. I could focus more on breathing and even felt slightly more flexible. I’m not sure if it was this that made me more relaxed, or if being more relaxed to begin with made the workout itself easier.

Either way though, I did enjoy it and will continue to practice on my non-running days as part of my training for my next 10K race in July.

Are you taking part in this year’s Juneathon? Do you do Yoga as part of your training? Has it helped with your running or general fitness? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Juneathon Day 3: Back In Training

Today was the first 5K run of my new training program in preparation for a Race For Life 10K in five weeks time. Although I was really looking forward to getting a decent run in after a month or so of walking, I was a little bit concerned about how I would cope with running again. After my last two recovery runs, I couldn’t help but notice the difference in my running fitness, and it wasn’t good.

However, today was about getting out there again and going the distance. It didn’t matter how slowly I ran or if I had to stop and walk for a few minutes. I just needed to do 5K.

When it comes to running though, even training runs, I really don’t like stopping and starting. I know that there’s nothing wrong with it and that it’s a good way to build up endurance but, even though my legs need it sometimes, my head doesn’t like it. So, in order to give myself permission to stop, I decided to start my run on the streets where I would have to stop for traffic rather than on the promenade where you can pretty much keep running for as long as you like.

I started off at what I thought was a fairly slow pace, but when I checked my Garmin it told me that I was going a bit too fast for an easy run. I tried to slow down a bit and take my time and by the time I reached the seafront, I was doing between 6:30 and 6:40 minutes per kilometre, which is much more in line with my natural 5K pace.

Although I felt pretty relaxed throughout the run and felt much stronger than I had done a few days ago, I wouldn’t say that it was easy. I had to keep telling myself to keep going and focus on my breathing – something that I haven’t had to do on a 5K run for a long time.

Needless to say, when the Garmin beeped at 5K and I saw that my time was only 10 seconds slower than my PB, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Could all that walking really have improved my running after all?

Unfortunately, when I got home and uploaded the data, it turned out that the Garmin had gone a bit wonky and turned what should have been the first 250 metres or so into half a kilometre. It made sense really, as even though I was going a bit faster than I ought to have been to start with, I certainly wasn’t doing the pace that Garmin had said I was.

Still, it’s the first time that the Garmin has messed up like that and I’m pretty certain that I could have done another 250 metres without too much trouble, so it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that I got a decent run in and that I made a good start to my training.

Do you use a Garmin or other device to log your training and keep track of your pace? How accurate and reliable do you find it? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Juneathon: Day 2

Normally, the only exercise I do (other than walking to and from work each day) is running. I’ve never been a gym bunny (can’t afford the membership), have no interest in swimming (not very good at it) and while I like the idea of cycling, I don’t own a bike any more. So, when I signed up for Juneathon, I knew that it was going to be a bit of challenge trying to find some kind of exercise to do on my non-running days.

Fortunately though, thanks to the powers of the internet and the wonder of all wonders that is You Tube, I didn’t have to look too far to find some kind of non-running exercise for this evening.

Yoga For Runners

The truth is, I’ve been thinking about doing Yoga for a while now. As a youngster, I used to be pretty flexible and could put my legs around my head and walk on my hands with the best of them; but these days I can barely get close enough to my feet to pop my blisters – a necessary evil for the aspiring ultra-marathoner!

So, as I am having a rest day from running, I decided that now would be a good time to try out some yoga. Apart from the aforementioned foot butchery, I thought that a bit of yoga might help loosen up the old muscles, so when I got home from work this evening, I changed into some comfortable clothes, positioned myself on the rug (I don’t have a yoga mat) and attempted to follow this little video that I found on You Tube.

To be honest, it really wasn’t as easy as it looks and, while I did my best to mimic the various stretches and poses, the only part that I really managed to do properly was the bit at the end where you lie on the floor and breathe.

Still, as with anything, yoga takes a bit of practice, so I’m not going to give up on it just yet. In fact, I plan to repeat this workout on all of my non-running days this week to try to get the hang of it and see if it makes a difference to my general flexibility and ease of movement when running.

Are you taking part in Juneathon? Do you practice yoga? Have you tried any new types of exercise to help compliment your running? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Juneathon: Day 1

juneathon_participant_logoWith only five weeks to go until my next race, I thought that it might be a good idea to join Juneathon as a way of keeping myself on track. The idea is to do some form of exercise every day and then blog about it and visit the blogs of some of the other Juneathon participants. Sounds pretty simple!

So, this morning I went for a short jog along the seafront. I had hoped to be able to complete 5K this morning, but it seems that my body is still not quite ready after last weekend’s adventures. Apart from the inevitable loss of running fitness after a month or so of mostly walking and hiking, I’m still feeling a bit fatigued. Needless to say, after only 2K, I started to feel a bit queasy so I decided to stop at 2.5 and call it a day.

I’m a little bit concerned that I won’t be back where I want to be for the Race For Life 10K in five weeks time, but I also realise that there’s no point in pushing it too hard at this stage. Recovery is the most important thing right now, regardless of what races I have lined up. And if that means I have to go backwards before I can go forwards, then so be it.

Of course, I am still going to do what I can to get myself ready for the race and I’m still hoping to improve on my PB, but I also accept that it may take a bit longer than I had anticipated. Still, time will tell.

How’s your training going? Are you taking part in Juneathon this year? Do you find it helps you to stay focussed on your goals? Please share your thoughts in the comments.