Well, that was a bit rubbish – or was it?

IMG_3541Another training run tonight – 5km – and my slowest time over the distance for quite a while.

On the face of it that would suggest a crap run. I’ll not deny it, it wasn’t great at times but there can be positives to be taken from it.

After a stressful evening trying to get Michelle onto the right train back to Hastings from London, not the easiest job in the world when what she sees on the station boards contradicts what I’m seeing online – but we managed it.

Next task was to book her flights home, stupidily expensive given the short timescale and frustrating when the prices went up in front of my very eyes – but again I managed to get something sorted at a price that didn’t totally cripple me.

With all that behind me I decided to go out for my run, to burn off some of that stress and to stick to my schedule, more or less.

Getting ready, I decided to wear my compression sleeves to help my calves. It was a real struggle getting them on and they felt really tight, tighter than I remember but I put that down to the increased fluid in my legs recently.

It was raining, fairly heavily, but that didn’t put me off. It encouraged me, in fact, because I thought I would have the playing fields to myself and could just do a few laps and come back home.

But, oh no, that couldn’t do, could it? For some inexplicable reason there were three young lads out in the middle of the fields playing golf. GOLF!!!!! I mean, come on, really? Golf? In the pouring rain?

Yes, yes, I know – I was also out in the rain, in shorts and a t-shirt but that’s different, so shoosh.

Now, normally if there’s people in the fields but no dogs I’d carry on and run around the pitches anyway but I didn’t fancy trying to dodge golf balls all evening.

Anyway, so I set off on the run, heading towards the industrial estate from the opposite direction (ie: not via the dual carriageway) and I decided to go as hard and fast as I could.

In the end, I was three seconds faster over the first 1000 metres than I was on Sunday but, more pleasing, I actually saw my top pace increase to 7.5mph compared to 6.3 last time out.

Unfortunately that ‘speed’ came back to bite me on the arse for the rest of the run and I really felt it, my legs quickly became tired and heavy (I wonder what effect the compression sleeves had?) and felt as if I was clomping rather than running. The C25K program only pencilled in a 20-min session but since I was combining distance with the schedule I knew I had to push on for the full three miles.

Everyone of the remaining km splits were considerably slower than they had been, except for the last one so perhaps that was a sign my legs were recovering after the fast start.

It’s all a learning curve and I’m not particularly annoyed about the total time. We all get ‘bad’ runs from time to time, after all, and we will continue to get them.

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Feeling normal

IMG_3532After a few hours on-off sleep during the afternoon/early evening during which my face began to feel slightly more normal (looks, now that’s another thing!) I decided to go out for a run after all.

I had planned on 5 miles this morning but, this evening, decided to just do 5km instead, just in case.

I moved onto the next phase of C25K and set my watch for 1.5/2 minute run/walk splits. I started off really well, feeling good and recording a time of 7m 50secs for the first km – my fastest for a wee while – and then 8m 0secs for the second, followed by 8m 16secs ….. in fact, all 5 splits ended up being 8-minute something which was pleasing.

Nowhere near my fastest, obviously, but things are going in the right direction again and I’ve got a positive feeling about my running back, reminiscent of how I felt this time last year – only with the advantage of a reasonable amount of experience and knowledge behind me.

I also wore my skin tight under garment below my running shirt for the first time in ages and I felt it made a slight difference. Marginal gains and all that.

Tonight’s run meant I’ve done 10.7 miles this week, my most since the marathon exactly three months ago which I’m sure is significant in some way. Onwards and upwards.

Best laid plans and all that

IMG_3517It’s 5:12am on a Sunday morning and I’m blogging.

“Why?”, dear reader, I hear you ask. Simple – I couldn’t sleep. I went to bed at my normal time, possibly slightly earlier, and I certainly fell asleep at a reasonable hour … but within a couple of hours I’d woken up again feeling sore, not so much in my back or bones as usually happens, but in my face – my actual face – the very skin itself in fact, specifically on the left side from cheek to scalp to the extent that I could almost feel my stubble growing!

I’ve no idea what that’s all about but it happened and all attempts at falling back to sleep failed miserably – so here I am, up with the lark, downstairs at my laptop.

So what’s this got to do with running?

I had planned to get up early to go out for my long Sunday run, just not this early. I was actually looking forward to it, getting out there on quiet roads and even quieter footpaths and getting ahead of the day.

That’s not to say I won’t go for a run today at some point, I probably will, but I’ll leave it a while to see how my face feels.

One of my futile attempts to go back to sleep was to turn to reading. I stumbled across a very interesting article in Runner’s World, namely “How to Train for a Half Marathon with a Run-Walk Program” which seems to suit me down to the ground and well within my capabilities, so I’m looking forward to implementing that into my training schedule for the Great South Run (still need to formally enter that). It’s a 14 week plan for a 13.1 mile race, Portsmouth is 15 weeks away and is 10 miles so it should be easy enough to adapt.

So I couldn’t sleep and I don’t feel well enough to run – yet – but I still got something potentially very beneficial from a broken, restless night. Positive Martin, eh?

Oh, and my current ‘looking after myself/slowly changing my diet/returning to a proper running schedule’ kick is beginning to pay dividends, I lost 3.4lbs this week. Granted I’ve only been doing it for a week (since I got my new scales) but it’s a reasonable enough start.