Always one to seek out a challenge, or that extra little bit of motivation, I happened upon an app a few months ago, My Virtual Mission, which basically gives you a visual interpretation of how far, on aggregate, you’ve run from one fixed point to another.
For a bit of fun I decided to plot a route from my own front door to my friend’s house in Wiltshire, a distance of some 460 miles apparently.
It was pleasing after each run to input my distance and see the little progress marker inch ever closer to my ‘destination’. Well, today, I completed my mission – and a month ahead of schedule to boot!
No prizes, no medal and no fanfare, just a sense of satisfaction of completing another little self-imposed ‘adventure’.
It’ll also explain why today’s run was 3.9 miles.
I know it’s one of the “Golden Rules of Running” that you don’t end a run agonisingly close to another mile marker. Instead, you run around in circles outside your house or up and down your street until the timer clocks over to the next zero. To everyone else it looks like the actions of a madman, to a runner it’s perfectly reasonable behaviour. Right?
So, setting off knowing 3.9 miles was my designated distance took every piece of mental fortitude I could muster. As the ticker, ummm, ticked ever closer to the finish I began to toy with the idea of just going for the full four.
Then again, if I did, I wouldn’t end up at my friends door but at one of the neighbours. However, they don’t know me which would make it a wee bit awkward. I’m sure they’re lovely people and all that but would they really appreciate a sweaty Northern Irishman bedecked in orange landing in the middle of Sunday lunch?
Ok, I know it was only a virtual mission but such is the skewed logic of a runner, especially during a run! So I stopped at 3.9 and burst through the imaginary finishing tape arms aloft like a conquering hero.
I’m adopting the same training process I did for the Great South Run which entails adding a mile a week onto my Sunday run and doing shorter distances a few times midweek.
The idea behind it is to get up to ten miles by the start of January at which point I’ll then move into a proper, structured marathon training schedule. So four (ok, 3.9!) today, five next week, six the week after and so on.
The run itself went quite well. No real discomfort or burning. I decided to run from my normal starting point at the top of the hill to my son’s school, turn, and then come back again.
My pace, compared to when I last did the distance in preparation for Portsmouth, increased by exactly one full minute per mile!
In addition, I recorded negative splits in the last couple of kilometres. Indeed, my slowest split today would have been my second fastest then, definite proof that I’m continuing to progress and get stronger.
So, all in all, a good run and a good day. Of course, having completed my latest challenge I’ve now got a dilemma. I need something else to see me through December. Any suggestions?