With five months to go until my next Ultra, I figured it was time I started getting some miles beneath my feet.
At the moment I am trying to get back into running again but it’s a slow process, so I figured that the least I could do was go for a nice long walk today, and maybe jog a bit if I felt like it – the key was to spend time outdoors and get the old legs moving again.
My plan for today was to go out for an hour and a half, using a route that included a variety of surfaces as well as some decent inclines. Running along the seafront is fine for most of what I do, but as the South Coast Challenge is going to involve some pretty varied terrain, I wanted to get as much variety in to these early runs and walks as possible.
The area that I live in is fairly urban and, although there are some nice parks, most of the paths aren’t that much different from the road or pavement surface. So, I decided to head for a small trail between Woodland Drive and Woodland Avenue that I had used before. It’s only about a kilometre or so, but it does have a nice incline and the surface of the path has a good mixture of mud, stone, shingle and exposed roots to keep things interesting.
Although my plan was to walk this section, I couldn’t resist breaking into a little jog here and there, just warm up the old leg muscles and get them used to running uphill again – well, the less steep sections anyway.
The trail ends at a main road, which is a bit annoying as it means having to stop before crossing the road, but I think my legs were happy for the rest to be fair.
As I headed across the road to the open field that would take me to the next trail, I noticed that the wind was picking up a bit and it was starting to rain. This was good. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed a bit of rain to cool me down mid run, although I was pleased that it didn’t come to much.
The run across the field was nice. I ran the downhill and some of the flat sections until I came to the gate that would take me into Coney Wood, which I had only ever ventured into once before, but remembered that it had some nice narrow trails and plenty of downhill sections to keep things interesting.
This part of the run was a lot of fun, with much more downhill than I remembered, and plenty of hazards like fallen trees and more exposed roots to keep me on my toes – literally! This was really good practice for downhill running and I tried to remember to land mid foot and avoid braking with my heels too much.
It was a bit disappointing when the trail came to an end and I emerged from the wood on to a residential street, but as I had completed over 4K, I decided to keep running and see what my 5K time would be. As it turned out it wasn’t bad at all, considering the uphills and walking, and I ended up with a time of 42:15 for the first half of my run.
Of course, now I had to turn around and do the whole thing in reverse, which meant a lot of walking to get myself back up the hill. But I did run some of the flatter sections and a bit of the field, before running the whole downhill section of Woodland Ave/Drive. That took me back to the park, so I continued walking and jogging until I had completed my hour and a half, which took me to a bit over 10K.
By the end of it I felt pretty good and was tempted to turn into Hove Rec for an extra couple of kilometres, but in the end I decided just to keep going until I had finished the 11th kilometre and called it a day at that. My final time for 11K was 1:33:11, which was pretty good for what was originally just going to be a walk.
I think that my 1K a day since Thursday might have helped a little bit as well – if not in terms of fitness, then at least in terms of feeling motivated and ready to get this training started.
Yesterday I made a promise to myself to try to run at least one kilometre per day. It’s not much, I know, and hardly counts as proper training, but it does count nonetheless. It counts because for ten minutes or so when I would have been sitting around doing nothing, I was pounding away on the treadmill getting hot, sweaty and making my heart work harder than usual; it counts because even though I didn’t really feel like running this evening, I’d made a promise to myself and I kept it; and it counts because that’s two days in a row and when you go from one to two, that’s called counting.
So, yes, it was only one kilometre and it was slow and it was indoors, but if I can keep this up for a week or so then maybe it will help me to get back into a regular running routine again, which is the first step towards what any kind of proper training.
How’s your training going? How easy or difficult do you find it to get back into a proper routine again after a break from training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
If you are living in the UK, it’s hard not to be aware of and inspired by this year’s Sports Relief, with comedian Jo Brand’s 155 miles Hell Of A Walk from Hull to Liverpool in only seven days and Eddie Izzard’s 27 marathons in 27 days tribute to Nelson Mandela. But the one the really struck me this year was a small segment on BBC’s The One Show about primary a school in St Ninians.
Every day the children and teachers at this school have a Daily Mile walk, jog or run around their playground to burn off some energy and keep themselves fit and active. OK, so it doesn’t seem like much compared to the epic headline grabbing adventures of some of our favourite celebrities, but that’s not the point. The point is that these young people and their teachers are literally taking steps every day to improve their own wellbeing – something so simple that almost anyone can do it.
So, inspired by their energy and enthusiasm, I hopped on the treadmill this evening and made a promise to myself to run every day. Even if it’s only one mile or one kilometre each, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to get on and do it.
I couldn’t find a clip of program online to share with you, but do check out Jo Brand and Eddie Izzard on the videos below if you haven’t seen them already.
To find out more about this year’s Sport Relief, check out sportrelief.com.
It’s amazing the difference a bit of sunshine can make. I had planned to run on the treadmill this evening but when I got home form work I realised that I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to run outside instead.
Without evening thinking about it, I headed straight to the bedroom, got changed into my running gear and headed to the seafront for my first outdoor run in over two months. And it was awesome!
Ok, so I only managed 3K and my pace was very slow, but it was just wonderful to be outside, running my favourite route on a cool, breezy evening.
Welcome back Mojo – I’ve missed this!
In an effort to try to get into more of a regular running routine, I decided to have a short run on the treadmill again this morning. My aim was to run for 30 minutes and try to go a bit faster, but it didn’t quite work out like that.
One of the things I’ve noticed about running on the treadmill is that I feel like I’m going faster than I actually am, and today I realised why – it’s to do with my stride, or rather, my lack of stride.
While I’m becoming more and more comfortable with using the machine each time I run on it, I think there’s still a fear of not being able to keep up. The way I deal with this is by taking lots of very small steps, which means my legs are going faster and my heart is working harder but my pace is much slower than it ought be.
Towards the end of this morning’s run, I tried to lengthen my stride a bit and, although I was pretty tired by that point, I think it made a difference in terms of the amount of effort I had to put in to keep up. I also experimented by reducing the speed to a fast walking pace and jogging for a little while. And guess what? The walking stride was longer and easier than the jogging – makes sense I guess.
In the end, I completed 2.09 km in 20 minutes. Next time though, I’m going to try to increase my stride for the whole run and see if I can increase the speed a bit more.
How’s your training going? Do you run differently on the treadmill than on the road? Has using the treadmill helped you to improve your running style? Please share your thoughts in the comments.