3K – No Walking!

I’ve not been doing too well this week with my resolve to run three times a week. I keep thinking about it, putting it off and promising to go later, but later never comes. The root of the problem, it seems, is thinking about it.

Take this morning for example. I woke up and my brain said ‘you’re awake nice and early – go for a run!’; but then I started thinking about it, which made me think of other things and I ended up checking my email instead. And, as generally happens when I start the day by checking email, the day was gone in a flash.

I felt pretty bad about it, to be honest. I really want to get back to running without walk breaks, but to do that I need to practise and get into a regular routine, otherwise I’ll just keep going backwards, which isn’t much fun.

So, this evening, once I’d finished work for the day, I decided that I had to go for a run if I was going to get three in this week. I didn’t think about it either. I just got changed and got myself out the door. Simple as that!

It wasn’t until I was half way to the seafront that I started to plan my run. This week, I’d hoped to be running 3.5K without walk breaks, but as I’d only managed 2.3 last week (should have been 3) I decided that I would be happy with anything more than that, and run/walk the rest to make the 3K or maybe 3.5 if I felt like it. We’d see – this is me not thinking about it!

The breeze was pretty warm down on the promenade, but it was comfortable enough to run nice and slowly. I wasn’t worried at all about picking up the pace; if anything I made myself back off to make sure that I could beat last week’s distance.

Surprisingly, as I approached 2.3, I felt pretty good. Yes, it was hot. Yes, I was sweating like crazy. And yes, I did almost choke on my water while I was running. But I felt ok. As I passed 2.5, I even considered the possibility of going for 3.5; but when I reached 3K I knew I’d had enough and decided to stop there.

Even though it was after 6:30 in the evening, the sun was still pretty strong, so I headed for some nice shaded side streets and made my way back home.

I realise that if I’m going to get my three runs in this week, I’m going to have to do two days back to back. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll make it out of bed and out the door before my brain kicks in? Here’s hoping!

How’s your training going? What strategies do you use to get yourself out the door. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

The Getting Lost Game

This whole Jantastic nonsense really seems to be doing the trick in terms of getting me off my backside and out the front door in the evening. take tonight for example. The temperature was 5 C (might as well call it freezing really) and there was an icy breeze blowing in from the sea. It was cold, dark and damp outside, while inside the heating had kicked in, the cat was looking for cuddles and the couch was calling. Which would you choose?

Ordinarily, like any vaguely sane person, I’d opt for the latter. However, as it’s the beginning of the third week of Jantastic and last night was the coldest night of the year so far (not quite as dramatic as it sounds since we’re only 20 days into the year, but it was pretty damn cold nonetheless), I figured I’d better get a run in before the temperature drops even further. So, wrapped up in double layers of everything, I headed out to… not the seafront!

I know. I usually head for the seafront for my evening runs, but the thought of walking for ten minutes in the cold to get to the promenade wasn’t very appealing. I wanted to start running as soon as possible, so I decided to head in the opposite direction, into the residential rabbit warren known as Deepest Darkest Hove. I didn’t have a particular route in mind, so decided just to have a bit of a run around and get myself lost in the winding streets before trying to find my way home again.

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The pace was pretty slow, partly because I had to pause to cross roads, but mostly because it was dark and the headlights from the oncoming traffic was glaring on my glasses. But I didn’t mind. It was nice to run somewhere different with plenty of hills and dips to keep things interesting. That and the fact that, once I was off the main road and the streets started twisting and turning, I didn’t have a clue what direction I was running in, never mind where I was on the map that I had going on in my head. At one point I even managed to run in a complete loop without realising it!

After about 5 kilometres, however, I found myself back on familiar ground and decided to head for home. I retraced my steps to the point where I had started running and then continued a bit further to complete a total of 7 kilometres. Not bad for an evening run on an unfamiliar route!

How’s your training going? Do you like to vary your routes or do your prefer stick to the same well trodden paths? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

3K And An Onion Bhaji

It has been a long time since I went out for a mid-week evening run and I have to admit, I’ve missed it. A lot.

After a long day at the office, heading out into the dark damp drizzle for a run along the seafront was just what I needed this evening. I wasn’t aiming for anything spectacular. Just a solid 3K run to unwind, clear my head and enjoy the peace and solitude of running in the dark. And that’s pretty much what I got.

I started off slow and steady and didn’t even look at my watch to check the pace. I knew it wasn’t fast, and it didn’t need to be, but as I got into the rhythm of running again, I could feel the pace increasing. But I didn’t push it. In fact, I did the opposite.

I focussed on staying relaxed and loose, keeping my posture strong and my strides short and light, making sure that I wasn’t putting too much strain on my ankle and achilles.

In the end, I completed the distance in just under 20 minutes, which isn’t fast by any means, but at an average pace of 6:33 minutes per kilometre is pretty much where I should be at the moment. 2014-10-29_Splits By the time I had finished, I was feeling pretty hungry. That’s the only problem with running in the evening. If I want to get out and run, I have to do it before I eat, otherwise it won’t happen. But on the way home, as I passed one of the restaurants on Church Road, there was a waitress outside giving out free onion bhaji to passers by. Now how could I refuse that?

So, all in all, things seem to be progressing nicely. I won’t run again until the weekend but I plan to use the exercise bike again tomorrow to keep things ticking over.

How’s your training going? When do you do your mid-week runs? Do you prefer to run in the evening? Or are you an early bird who likes to start off the day with a workout? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Tough Day

running in rainAfter a tough day at work, the last thing I usually feel like doing is going for a run. But this evening I made an exception.

Normally, after a day like today, I would crash out on the couch or have an early night, hoping that tomorrow would be better; but instead, this evening, all I wanted to do was get out and run off all the tension and frustration of the day.

I was still feeling a bit tired and stiff after last night’s run but, despite the damp and the drizzle, I really enjoyed it.

I took it fairly slowly for the most part, trying to keep a nice even pace. I knew that I didn’t have anywhere near as much energy as yesterday, but that didn’t matter. I’d been pushing myself to the limit all day at work, so tonight was about relaxing and enjoying the moment, while getting one run closer to my goal.

As it turned out, my pace was pretty good by my standards, averaging out at 11:05 minutes per mile. I would like to run faster, but that will come with time and training. For now though, I’m just happy to be able to get out there and run.

The Power Of The Moon

I wasn’t really looking forward to this evening’s run. Maybe it has something to do with still feeling tired after my move, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been feeling a few aches, pains and twinges with the ever increasing distances of the C25K program. Who knows? But it’s the beginning of Week 8 and I only have 10 days to go until my Park Run, so I knew I had to just get out there and do it.

After the ups and downs of Hove Park this weekend, I decided to head back down to the seafront for a nice flat run this evening. And it was nice. Very nice. In fact, it felt like a perfect evening for running.

The sky was clear and the air was cool and fresh, but not too cold, so I pulled on a t-shirt and headed for the sea just as it was starting to get dark.

I don’t really mind running in the evening. In fact, I quite like it when it’s starts to get dark. Not so dark that you can’t see properly, but I find that evening twilight quite peaceful somehow. And tonight was no exception.

There was a beautiful full moon as I headed down to the seafront to start my run so I paused to take some pictures on my iPhone.

Fourth Avenue Full Moon

Full Moon Hove Lawns

I started off at an easy pace, knowing that I had to do an extra quarter mile. That last quarter mile had been tricky when I was doing 2.5 miles during Week 7, so I was a bit concerned about how I would cope with 2.75 miles.

However, running on the flat again made the whole thing a lot easier. I got to 2.5 miles without any problems, aches or wanting to stop. I even picked up the pace at various points just to see how I would cope with it. And I did cope. I even managed a sprint of sorts for the final quarter to achieve my fastest pace ever for a C25K run.

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I’m not sure how I managed to improve my pace. Perhaps it was because I was running on the flat again; or maybe it was the fact that I had two rest days in a row; but I can’t help but wonder if it might have had something to do with the peacefulness of twilight and the power of the moon.

Life’s A Beach

As I’ve said plenty of times before, I love running on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Mid-week, however, it’s a whole different story.

I’ve avoided going for a run before work because I kind of like my morning routine as it is, but I’ve never really liked the idea of running in the evening. I’m not particularly tired after work and I don’t mind eating a bit later; it’s the traffic and the people that get to me.

When I set out on this evening’s run, I planned to run along the main street and then down to the beach when I got to half way, but it didn’t work out like that. Whenever I reached a road, I always seemed to be in mid run and the traffic was relentless. Not wanting to stop and wait to cross the road, I decided to turn down some side streets so that I could keep going.

The problem with this was that the pavements on these streets were pretty narrow and there were enough human obstacles in the way to make it difficult to pass without slowing down. This meant weaving between parked cars to dodge pedestrians and traffic, which was a real pain. My breathing went to pot and by the end of the second running interval I started to get a stitch in my side. I wasn’t happy but I knew I had to keep going.

At half way, when I headed down to the seafront to join the runners and joggers on the promenade, I couldn’t believe the contrast.

I’ve run along the promenade before, so I don’t know why I didn’t just go there in the first place. I guess I felt self-conscious about being a beginner or maybe I just wanted to get into my stride first. I’m not sure, but as soon as I hit the seafront, the whole atmosphere changed. With plenty of space to run and a nice breeze to cool me down, I could focus on my pace and my breathing, and pretty soon my mood lifted.

I completed the run and passed Week 2 of C25k. But most importantly, I realised that I’m incredibly lucky to have a whole wide long stretch of seafront to run along. So, from now on, Wednesday evenings will be for running on the promenade. Running by the beach and loving it!

Where do you like to run? Do you have a local track, park, or beach? Or do you prefer to pound the pavements? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

First Evening Run

hove seafront runningI completed my first evening run and my first week of C25K today.

To be honest, I was a bit worried about having to run mid week. I wasn’t keen on running before work as I kind of like my morning routine on work days; but I wasn’t sure if I would have the energy to run after a busy day at the office.

My main problem with running in the evening was that I’m usually hungry after my walk home so I have something to eat as soon as I get in. There was no way I would be able to run hungry, but I knew that running on a full stomach wouldn’t be a good idea either.

In the end, I decided that the best way round this was to have a snack in the afternoon. I also made sure that I cut down my caffeine intake and stuck to drinking boiled water instead of tea or coffee. This seemed to work really well as I didn’t feel hungry or tired when I got home.

As it was a pretty warm muggy day, I decided to do my run along the seafront. I felt a bit self conscious at first but there were plenty of runners and joggers around so I soon forgot about everyone else and just focussed on my run.

My last run had been on Sunday so I was a bit worried about how I would get on. As I had feared, the first 60 seconds of running weren’t great, but this was probably because I was feeling a bit tense. So I reminded myself to relax, keep my head up and just breathe. It worked a treat!

I soon got into my rhythm, taking it slow and steady on the runs and keeping a strong but relaxed pace on the walks. Strangely enough, the runs seemed shorter than before while the walking seemed to go on for too  long by the end. In fact, for the first time this week, I was a little bit disappointed when the session was over.

Part of me wanted to do just one more repetition, but I knew it would be silly to over do it. So, I headed home with a grin on my face, looking forward to stepping things up a gear next week.

What’s your favourite time of day to run? How do you adapt your running schedule to fit in with other aspects of your life? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments.