It’s Been A While…

It’s been a while since I last posted, or ran for that matter, so I hope you are all doing well.

Despite my best efforts to keep training over the last twelve months, things came to a bit of a standstill… literally. There are too many reasons to go into and it’s not that interesting anyway, so the short story is that I needed a break. A complete and total break from running… and I feel much better for it.

Now though, with a new year approaching, I made the decision to start up again – the training, the blog and the whole getting fit thing. So tonight when I got home from work, I decided to dust of the old treadmill (and yes, there was a lot of dust!) and see how it felt to have a bit of a run. And it was only a ‘bit’ of a run.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my treadmill doesn’t work in either miles or kilometres, but somewhere in between, so for the purposes of tracking progress, I’ll refer to the distance as TMUs (treadmill units).

I decided that I wanted to cover at least a mile so I knew that 1.6 TMUs would be enough and set off at a good steady walking pace and then had a go at a bit of a jog to see how it felt. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel too bad but I didn’t want to risk aggravating the old injury so I went back down to a walk to finish.

In the end, I covered the 1.6 in 18:49 so I was happy with that for now.

At this stage it really is just about testing the injury and building up strength, so I plan to mix things up with a bit of work on the exercise bike, treadmill and maybe some nice long walks if the weather permits. Then, all being well, I’ll look at starting a 5K program in the new year.

How has your running been going this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Advertisements

Easy Means Easy

I had to adjust the training plan this week due to a social event at work, so I ran this evening instead of yesterday. It should have been an outdoors run but I wanted to eat first and then it got dark, so I opted for the treadmill instead – a bit of a cop out, I know, but at least it was still a run.

In this phase of the plan, the idea is to run easy to make sure that I have enough time to recover before the next one. I still aim to do a bit better each time, whether it’s reducing the ratio or improving the average pace, but ultimately I need to make sure that I can run every third day.

The aim for tonight was run 3:1 ratios and to try to hit something around the 36 minute mark. That would be a huge improvement on my last run, but with the treadmill it’s much easier. Apart form the fact that there’s no wind, hills or obstacles in the way, the fact that the machine controls the pace makes it much easier to keep things nice and even.

In the end, I completed the run in 35:50 and felt pretty good afterwards. Of course, the next run will be tougher as it will be outside, but it’s still good to get it done.

How’s your training going? Do you keep your ‘easy runs’ easy or are you tempted to push harder each time? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Setting The Base Line

2016-08-05_SummaryHaving decided to get back into running shorter distances, I wanted to get out this weekend and see where I’m at in terms of my 5K time. I had hoped that, after last weekend’s exertions, I would be able to achieve something around the 35 minute mark. Unfortunately, however, things didn’t quite work out that way.

I knew I was still not feeling 100%, so I set off at a very modest pace to see how long I could manage without a walk break. As it turned out, this wasn’t very long and after the first kilometre I had to stop and walk. My legs felt ok, but my breathing wasn’t great and, even though I don’t use a heart rate monitor, it was pretty obvious that my heart rate was a lot higher than it ought to have been.

Not to be put off, I decided that I would just take it easy, taking walk breaks at the end of each kilometre for as long as I needed to recover. This worked well until the final kilometre where I had to take an extra break half way through, before jogging the final 400 metres to finish with a time of 37:14.

It’s a pretty slow time, I know, but if that’s where I am at the moment, then so be it. At least it means there’s plenty of room for improvement!

In terms of my sub-30 training plan, I’m going to start off by taking things fairly easy and not worry too much about pace for the first three weeks. The plan will be to run 5K every 3 days (outside where possible), using a variety of different routes to keep things interesting. My hope is that this will bring me back into the 33 to 35 minute range and, ideally, without walk breaks. But we shall see. For now, I’m just happy to be focusing on the 5K again.

How’s your training going? How long does it take you to get back on track after a tough race? please share your thoughts in the comments.

Some Thoughts On Repeating C25K

Today was Week 2 Day 2 of Couch to 5K. Six reps of 1:30 running and 2:00 walking, and it all went pretty well. The running pace was quick and comfortable, the walk breaks were more than plenty and I feel that I am making progress, not just in terms of the C25K Program, but also in terms of my running as a whole.

Couch to 5K works, there has never been any doubt in my mind about that. However, I have noticed that the whole experience of repeating Couch to 5K is very different than it was the first time around, not just physically, but also mentally. So, here are a few of my thoughts on repeating the program:

Difficulty

Firstly, and probably most obviously, is that doing Couch to 5K the second time round (after successfully completing it before) is much easier. Even though I’ve had a few months of running on and off, and for the past 12 months have been using run/walk for my races (marathon included), I was still starting off at a much higher level of fitness than the first time around, so those early week sessions haven’t been anything like as hard as they were before.

Motivation

Motivation has been a problem though. The first time I did Couch to 5K, I was so desperate to run that I could barely wait to get out and do the next session; however, this time around, I’m much more laid back about the whole thing. Yes, I want to get back to running 5K, and yes I have a specific goal in mind, but that sense of urgency has gone, which means I need to draw on all of my old motivational tricks to make sure I get myself out the door and stay on track.

Pacing

One of the best things about repeating the program is pacing. Not only do I know how to judge my pace for each session, but I can also run much faster than before without tiring. Ok, so the running sections are still very short at the moment, but even with that in mind, I know that in running faster for these shorter intervals, my 5K pace will have improved by the time I complete the program.

Recovery

Unlike last time, recovering from a run is so much better. I no longer feel the need to raid the fridge after returning from a 2.5K run; I don’t need to take a nap in the afternoon if I run in the morning; and the DOMS, when they do appear, are nothing compared with what they used to be.

Progress

And finally, progress. We all know that Couch to 5K produces great results and that the progress is noticeable after only a couple of sessions, but here’s the difference. The first time around, the sessions became less difficult; this time around, they become easier. I know, there’s a fine line between something being less difficult  and something being easier, but the point is that repeating Couch to 5K is not difficult at all. The sessions are easy and they become easier, which definitely helps with the whole motivation thing.

How’s your training going? Have you gone back to Couch to 5K after injury or a break? What differences did you notice the second time around? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Month Off

Circle HopWith September almost at an end, I was a bit shocked to realise that it I haven’t run at all this month. It wasn’t something that I had planned for. In fact, my plan was to finish up my adapted C25K program be running 5K again by mid-October. But it didn’t happen, and I’m fine with that.

When it comes to training, I’m usually pretty focussed, and even obsessive about making sure I stay on track. Even when I miss a few sessions or don’t quite hit my targets, I still manage to put a positive spin on it, reassess what needs to be done, and get moving again. But this month I just wasn’t  feeling it.

To be honest, I haven’t really been feeling it since April. There was the longer than expected post-marathon recovery, the niggles that just wouldn’t seem to settle and the fact that my employment situation has been (and still is) in a state of transition since May probably didn’t help.

In saying that, having a month off hasn’t been a bad thing. It has given me the chance to relax, recover and reassess a few things. And it has made me realise just how much I want to run again.

So, with the final quarter of the year approaching, October is going to be a new beginning for me. I’m going to re-launch myself into Couch to 5K and this time I’m going to do it properly. No adapting the ratios, no short cuts with the walk breaks and, most importantly, no pressure to get to 5K before I’m ready.

After all, this running lark is supposed to be about having fun, so that’s what I’m going to do.

How’s your training going? Have you taken an extended break from running? How to you get yourself back on track again? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

This post is part of the Virtual Running UK Blog hop. Click here to find out more and join the fun!

 

Bleurgh!

I know, it’s not a word, but ‘bleurgh’ describes exactly everything about my run this evening. I was supposed to do 3K (not much, I know) but I only managed 2, then walked a bit and then ran a bit to make 2.5. Not good. Not good at all. But I did try my best, I promise.

I’m not sure exactly what went wrong. I kept the pace nice and slow and even changed my route to keep things interesting, but at 2K I began to feel that something wasn’t right. I figured I probably just needed a drink, so I walked for about 100 metres to hydrate and catch my breath.

That seemed to do the trick so I started running again. Within a minute though, I knew that I wasn’t going to get the 3K done. My stomach felt weird, not quite like I was going to throw up, but not far off it, so I decided get to 2.5 and then stop.

As soon as I stopped running though, I felt terrible and decided to sit down for a bit. This is not something I normally do straight after running as I like to walk to cool down, but today I had to. My legs felt really weak and I was starting to get light headed, so I found a bench and sat for a few minutes until it passed.

I knew I wasn’t going to throw up or pass out or anything like that. It took a couple of minutes before I could catch my breath properly and get my heart rate back to normal, but once I did I felt fine. A bit tired and annoyed that the run had been so crap, but fine nonetheless.

I’m not sure what went wrong really. Perhaps I didn’t hydrate properly before going out, or maybe it was something I ate. Who knows? But tomorrow I’m going to take it easy and postpone my parkrun return (again!), and have another go on Sunday.

Everyone has an off day from time to time, and at least I got a bit of a run, so it’s all good in the end.

How’s your training going? How to you pick yourself up after a bad run? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Getting Back To It

So, that thing I said about liking a bit of drizzle on run days? Perhaps I should have mentioned that it doesn’t count if it’s blowing a gale, which is pretty much what it was doing yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, a I quite like a good strong breeze, but when I find myself jogging on the spot in a headwind, I know there’s not much point.

Needless to say, yesterday’s run was postponed but, since I’m determined to get back into a regular routine again, I went out today instead. In the sunshine! I know, but I need to stop making excuses and just get on with it.

Fortunately it wasn’t too warm when I headed down to the seafront this evening and the breeze was nice and cool so I was happy enough to have a go at a slow 3K. I wasn’t sure if I could manage without a walk break but, determined to drop the ratios, I left my GymBoss at home so that I wouldn’t be tempted to go back to run/walk for this session at least.

As it turned out, it wasn’t too bad. I managed to run the first 2K without any problems. My leg felt fine and the new shoes felt really good – a bit warmer than the old ones, but the cushioning felt great.

Still, after 2K I did take a short walk break as I was feeling a bit more out of breath than I would have liked, plus I really needed some water – I seem to have forgotten how to run and drink at the same time without choking myself!

After the walk break and a bit of water, I felt a lot better and plodded on to finish the 3K in 20:19 – not terribly fast, I know, but not terribly terrible either. Besides, the main objective for this week is to start running regularly again, so it’s a step in the right direction.

My plan for the rest of the week is to do another 3K on Friday and either parkrun on Saturday or a 5K on Sunday using run/walk ratios to get the distance in. I can’t wait!

How’s your training going? How do you get back into a regular routine again after a break? Please share your thought in the comments.