In order to understand my approach to running, and some of the decisions I make around it, there’s something you need to know about me: I am an idiot.
To make matters worse, I have a running buddy who is also an idiot.
Now we’ve cleared up that little piece of exposition, we can continue with today’s post…
…I haven’t run any distance longer than 6k since the end of October. On top of that, the outings on those 6k days could be better described as more of a gentle walk-jog than a run; there is no doubt that my fitness and endurance have dropped.
Fast forward to Christmas and my running buddy asked for race entry to the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon, which takes place on 21st January. I asked him whether he was ready for a half marathon (because I knew he was in a similar position to me with training), and he replied: “I’ll wing it!”
Cool, I thought, I didn’t realise “winging it” was a legitimate half marathon strategy. I’ll do that too! So I promptly signed up as well.
The week before Christmas I decided that if I started picking up the distance gradually, I could maybe pull it off with five weeks of practice runs and a one week taper to ease off. But, as anyone who’s ever tried to sustain any kind of fitness program for any length of time knows, life often gets in the way unexpectedly.
And that’s exactly what happened to me. I promptly got sick with a virus the week before Christmas. It only really lasted a few days (Monday through to Wednesday) but hung around for days afterwards. I braved a run on Sunday (Christmas Eve) and found that I was very out of breath, struggling through a 5k.
I did another small run on Boxing Day but didn’t bother again until New Year’s Eve because I was partaking in seasonal festivities. So essentially, two weeks were lost.
I have been picking up the smaller distances again this last week, and pushed for a 7k yesterday but today I needed to get a long run in.
The goal was 12k.
I set out before breakfast as my motivation was very low and I didn’t want to delay for anything as I was afraid I would give up and not bother at the slightest excuse.
As it’s a Sunday, “before breakfast” meant 9am – let’s not get too over excited!
To my great surprise, considering how reluctant I was to get out the door, it was quite enjoyable! I was slow (1hr20), and felt tired by the end, but I think both of those things are to be expected with no fuel in the tank.
I set out with gentle music, a playlist I started putting together last night called “chilled synth running” (very eighties influenced and very different from my Zombies, Run! playlist).
There was a lot of sun for a winter’s day as well. (The featured image at the top of the post is a photo I took by the river.) The paths were muddy and trying to navigate some of the flooded parts probably slowed my time down even further, but all I was really after today was the distance because I currently have no confidence in my ability to complete 21k in two week’s time.
I also kept stopping to take photos.
Someone fly-tipped a bunch of pallets and a sofa, and I thought that would make a cool shot as well:
I should have the foundation to run 18k next weekend now. The trouble is, this is where it starts to get complicated: I am due to climb a mountain in Wales next Sunday as part of the training for the Three Peaks Challenge in May, so I will have to get my long run in on Friday somehow; I don’t want to be having two challenging days back to back if I can help it.
But this is how it’s going to be for the next few months – trying to balance two different sets of training, so I may as well get used to it!