Running In The Dark

Despite having had most of the week off work, when I had the freedom to run at any time of the day I wanted to, I seem to have ended up doing all of my runs in the evening. This is a bit strange for me as I usually prefer to run first thing in the morning, but for some reason I just didn’t feel like it until it started to get dark outside.

Thinking about it though, this isn’t such a bad thing. Being in the habit of only running on Saturday and Sunday mornings was making it hard for me to find the motivation to run in the evening when it’s cold, dark and usually either rainy, windy or both; but now that I’m getting into the swing of it, it’s not so bad and I’m starting to feel like I’m ready to up my running to three times a week again.

This evening’s run also helped in that respect. I didn’t run on Saturday so I wanted to make sure I got 5K in at some point today. I’ve been struggling with running without walk breaks since I started training again, but have managed it a couple of times in the last few weeks so I wanted to build up consistency by getting a few continuous 5Ks in.

At this stage, pace doesn’t really matter, so I set off nice and slowly, running by feel and only looking at my watch occasionally to check on the distance I had covered. I was feeling pretty relaxed and the weather was pretty good too – a bit warmer than I had thought it would be, but with a nice cold breeze to keep things comfortable.

The way I had planned my route, I would run East along the promenade for just over a kilometre and then turn back, run past my starting point until I had reached about 3.6 and then turn around again and run back to where I had started to complete my 5K. I like to run like that, rather than just out and back, because it means I have to do the maths in my head while I’m running to figure out when to turn around, which gives my brain something to focus on.

However, when I reached 3.6K, my pace had picked up a bit and I didn’t want to slow and turn back round. So I decided to just keep going and turn back at the Lagoon, which is at the end of the promenade. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to run all the way back to the starting point but I didn’t really mind either way. All I knew was that I was feeling good and I didn’t really mind as long as I got the 5K done.

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At about 4.5K though, I started to feel a sharp pain in my right shoulder. I couldn’t really understand it as I was still feeling quite relaxed, but I gave my arms a bit of a shake to try to loosen it up and tried to find something else to focus on. This seemed to do the trick and before I knew it I was back where I started, having completed just over 6K without stopping for a walk break.

I’m not sure if it’s the cooler temperatures or the fact that I’ve been taking it easy and eating well throughout the day, but running in the evening this week seems to have given me a much needed confidence boost for these continuous runs. So, starting from next week, I plan to get at least one mid-week evening run in so that I can start working on my speed. After all, I’ve got a very important Santa Dash to run in a couple of weeks and I don’t want to mess that one up!

How are you getting on with your evening runs? Do you find you run better in the evening or first thing in the morning? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

After The Storm

After The StormThankfully the storms that have been battering the south coast seem to have passed for the time being and, despite the beach’s temporary migration to the promenade, there were plenty of people around this morning to take advantage of the calmer weather.

I’m not sure if it was due to the nice weather or the fact that I headed out later than usual this morning, but the seafront was buzzing with people. As well as a notable increase in the number of runners and joggers (New Year’s resolutions looking good!), there were dozens of dogs, plenty of walkers and more than a handful of photographers capturing the aftermath of the storms.

The promenade itself had taken quite a beating, with many of the beach huts looking battered and broken and the the path itself was covered in pebbles, seaweed and other flotsam and jetsam that had been washed up by the unusually high tides. So much so, that finding a path through it all was a bit of a challenge.

Used to running on a clear path, I found running on the stones and pebbles a bit tricky. As well as being harder on the legs, there was the added danger of rolling my ankle which, with my achilles almost back to normal, was a bit of a worry. But I took it easy and it felt fine. In fact, I kind of enjoyed hopping around a bit to dodge the larger pebbles and find clear patches to land my feet on.

My goal for today’s run was to build up my distance in preparation for the Chichester 10K, which takes place in just over a month’s time. I was aiming for 5 miles but, as I often do, decided to go a bit further and ended up doing 5.7 miles (just under 9.2 kilometres) – my furthest run yet!

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. Ok, so I’ve skipped quite a few of runs on my training schedule, some due to poor weather and others because I felt I needed a rest, but it doesn’t seem to be causing any problems. If anything, I’m finding that listening to my body and taking rest days when I need them seems to be helping.

How’s your training going? Has your schedule been affected by winter weather? Have the interruptions helped or hindered your progress? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

My C25K Comeback

It has been so many weeks since I went for my last run that I don’t even want to think about it. After being ill for a couple of weeks, I was still finding myself short of breath and really didn’t want to make things worse. But today I decided that enough is enough. It’s time for a comeback!

So, tomorrow evening I’m going to try to pick up the C25K program from where I left off. Somewhere in Week 6, I think. I did consider going back to Week 4 or 5, but I really want to be able to run 5K by the end of the month if possible and there’s not much time left.

Of course, if I can’t do it, then that’s ok. I’m not going to push myself too hard or beat myself up about it. But I want to get back out there and get fit. I miss it. I miss the running, the routine, the knowledge that every day is progress. And of course, catching up with this wonderful blogging community.

For now though, I’m going to enjoy the final evening of my prolonged rest.

I hope you’re all doing well. See you tomorrow!

Back On Track

I’m back on track with my training this morning after a week or so of not doing much. It’s pretty hot here in Hove and I woke up with a horrible headache. Probably a bit dehydrated after two alcohol free beers last night.

Needless to say, the thought of running in the heat was a bit daunting, but I knew that the longer I put it off, the hotter it would get. So, after two long glasses of cold water I got my running gear on and headed out to brave the heat.

Surprisingly enough, it didn’t feel that hot at 7:30 this morning. As I stepped out the front door, I was welcomed by a lovely cool breeze. It was much cooler than inside my flat, which I hadn’t been expecting given the recent rise in temperatures.

Still, I knew it would be hotter than I am used to when running and, since I haven’t been running regularly for the last week or so, I decided to take this morning’s run at a slow, steady pace.

When I got to half way, I couldn’t believe how far I had run. I made it much further along the seafront than ever before and it felt really good. I didn’t think I had been going that fast, but I guess even with last week’s break my fitness level is still improving.

I’m not using a GPS to track my distance as it eats up too much of my iPod battery if I want to use my C25K app and listen to music at the same time, but according to Google maps I did about 2.4 miles this morning.

While it’s tempting to try to push myself harder to run faster and further each time, one of the things I love about this whole program is that it’s not about how far or how fast you run, but the fact that you can run for longer each week.

It still blows my mind to think that I can now run for five minutes without stopping. Even at my incredibly slow pace, it feels like a huge achievement.

It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow we are, if we run every day or a couple of times a week, or if we take breaks from the routine every now and again. As long as we are running, we can call ourselves runners and that’s something to be proud of .

How’s your running going? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments.

Sidetracked

I seem to have become a little bit sidetracked as far as my C25K training is concerned. Usually, I run Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, but last week and this week, things haven’t really gone according to plan.

Last Wednesday’s run was postponed until Thursday as I had noticed some pain in my shins that I thought might be shin splints. By Thursday, they felt fine though and I had a good run. I was surprised by how well I was coping with the three and five minute runs and managed to complete the run without any pains or niggles.

However, as I had family visiting this week, I guessed that I might not manage Week 5 quite so easily so decided to repeat Week 4. Saturday morning’s run was good, but after a busy day and late night out in London, I missed my run on Sunday morning. Then on Wednesday, even though I had booked a day off work, I didn’t get up early enough to go for a run and was busy doing things with my family for the rest of the day.

As a result, my whole schedule has pretty much gone to pot, but it was worth it. I got to spent time with my family, who I haven’t seen since October, and even though I wasn’t running, I certainly got plenty of exercise this week just by walking around and acting like a tourist with them.

So, I have decided that next week I’m going to repeat Week 4 and get back into my running routine. If things go according to plan, I should still be able to complete 5K by the end of August; and if they don’t, well, I can still run a lot further than I could a month ago.

For me, the most important thing is to enjoy the training. Sometimes life gets in the way of running, but it’s no big deal. As long as I get back out there and keep making progress, it’s all good.

How’s your training going? How do you juggle your time between running and other commitments? How do you get yourself back on track when injuries, work, family or life in general interrupt your running routine? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.