7 days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. This is a summary of my running week. Ups and downs. Aches and pains. Feelings and emotions.
Distance: 24.64 miles | Time on my feet: 3:38.39 | Races: 0 | PBs: 0
If I was going to describe this week in a word it would be “solid”…
Tuesday 29 November 2011
Club Run 7.54 miles, 1:02:25 (8:17/mile)
Throughout the winter months, Tuesday nights are normally either track night, 5k race night or around a 7 mile route, often with ‘strides’ (for those who don’t have a copy of the runner’s glossary to hand, ‘strides’ are a series of short, fast bursts that concentrate on leg turnover followed by a slower recovery period. Their purpose is basically to improve speed and teach the body to run quicker – and they work!).
To my surprise, no sooner had we got started from the club did it feel as though I had been given a brand-new pair of legs. No aches, no pains and felt really strong. I usually take a mile or two to loosen up fully but right from the start I felt great and as a result I was able to maintain a sub-7:40/mile pace for the majority of the run, slowing only for junctions etc. which brought my average pace down to 8:17/mile. In fact, I lost count of the number of times I looked down at my watch as saw 7:20/mile pace. The fact that I could hold this pace was really pleasing, and a great sign that the training effort is really paying off. With the next 5k race in the series being in a week’s time, I ended the run with optimism that, if I felt as good as this, I ought to be able to shave some considerable time off my PB. Excellent run – very pleased.
Thursday 1 December 2011
Steady run. 6.41 miles, 57:20 (8:57/mile)
Thursday’s run was shorter than normal, and at a slower pace than usual. The ambient temperature had fallen considerably during the week and it took a little while to build up enough body heat to counter the ache in my knees which I am sure were cold related. In other circumstances I might have felt that I was in some way selling myself short doing the shorter distance and slower pace but instead it felt OK to reign in a little and I thought of the run as being a ‘consolidation run’; a chance to test a ‘base performance’ and gauge how it felt.
Once again, I ended the run feeling strong and feeling that, had I wanted to, I could have pushed and delivered a whole lot more, which was a good feeling. To be able to run over 10km and to hardly feel it whatsoever is something that at one point I would have thought impossible, yet here I was, on a fairly unremarkable Thursday night having done exactly that. I also ended thinking that having not pushed hard it would put me in good stead for Saturday’s run…
Saturday 3 December 2011
Long Trail Run. 10.69 miles, 1:35:58 (8:58/mile)
I’m both disappointed and pleased with myself for what happened on Saturday.
Disappointed because for a moment it crossed my mind not to do it.
I knew that a couple of the runners I have run with over the last few weekends were not going to be there, and I was uncomfortable (being the still relatively new guy) with the prospect of turning up and being with a group of guys from the Wolds Vets I didn’t know particularly well. Saturday’s run was also over a route I hadn’t run before, which added to the uncertainty. As I scoffed my porridge at 07:30 the thought entered my mind “if I can’t find the meeting point, knock it on the head and run Sunday instead…”.
What was going on here?
A moment’s reflection revealed that as much as I love running, I realise the social side of running in a group is something that I really value. Would I feel as energetic about getting ready to head out for a 10 mile run on my own? The answer was, surprisingly, “no”. This surprised me because I remember a time not that long ago when I was quite happy to go out and do upwards of 15 miles on my own, but for some reason the same prospect now was slightly demotivating. Goes to show what a great bunch of folks I run with!
Pleased because I went, and had a great run.
Thankfully, I went for it and I was met by a very friendly welcome at the group meeting point. Many of the guys I’d run with before were there, along with some more familiar faces from the club so I had nothing to be worried about. The run itself was hard work. The course around the surrounding area of Rothwell was hilly, muddy, almost all off-road and against a cold, blustery head-wind, which acted like a restraining hand on my chest as I dug in to maintain forward momentum.
This one required some determination, effort and resolve to maintain a decent pace. Rather than think of the run as being a long way or difficult, however, I reminded myself repeatedly that the purpose of the run was to make me stronger, to make me faster, to build my endurance and increase my strength. The mental focus gave the effort a new meaning – this wasn’t something that was in any way ‘damaging’ me, it was improving me! I finished feeling like the run was really worthwhile and I was so pleased that I had gone.
I’m really looking forward to increasing my distance over this kind of terrain. It can’t fail to make me a stronger runner.
133 days 10 hours 22 minutes to go…
Oh, and all 40,000 public places are now SOLD OUT!!