Only mad dogs and …. me

FullSizeRender 70I’ve got an annoucement to make ….. I don’t do heat!

Today was my first Sunday run since London, and I had tentatively planned to do 10k in order to prepare for my next few races. That wouldn’t have been a problem had I gone out in the morning, or in the evening.

But, oh no, I couldn’t do anything sensible like that, could I? No, this plonker here opted to go out at lunchtime, at the hottest part of the day.

And, not only that, I decide to push myself instead of respecting the conditions and taking it easy. Oh, and I didn’t take any water with me either. You’d almost think I’d never run before.

Hold on until I beat myself with a big stick 🙂

Anyway, as I said, I don’t cope well with running in the heat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to feel the sun on your back and it’s pleasant being out and about on a day like this. I just find it difficult maintaining a decent pace in it after a while.

In the end, my run was 4.3 miles – so short of what I’d hoped for – but I’m not terribly disappointed with it.

From the point of view of practising running in the heat it was a very valuable and worthwhile exercise. The first three miles were decent enough. In fact, mile 3 was quicker than the one that preceeded it, whilst the opening mile was very good for me.

It was only after passing the 5k mark that I struggled which, I suppose, tells me something about preparing for runs in those sort of temperatures. It was 18º – compared to the 11º at the marathon – so considerably warmer, and it’ll only rise as we go through spring into the summer months so it’s something I need to get used to, and I know I will.

When I say ‘struggle’ I mean my body in general, not my legs. They feel fine, had a lot more left in them and, on another day, I could comfortably have carried on. In fact, they’ve been feeling strong since the marathon, something that both pleases and surprises me.

I just wasn’t fuelled or hydrated properly today. I simply underestimated the combination of distance and weather, I basically overheated and there was no point punishing myself by carrying on. Was I cocky, thinking I was only going out for six miles so wouldn’t need to prepare as much? Perhaps.

I haven’t really too much experience running in the summer. Looking at my historical stats, I ran more in February or March this year than I did from May-August combined last summer, only going as far as five miles on one occasion, so this is basically uncharted territory for me.

Lesson learnt, but it’s all good.

On another note, I’m really looking forward to returning to the club tomorrow night. I haven’t been for three weeks because it either wasn’t on, or I was out of the country (ok, England!) but I’ve missed it and I always find it sets me up for the week.

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On the road again

FullSizeRender 69
My normal 5k route

So after a break of 11 days since London it was time to stop being a lazy sod and get back at this running lark.

To be fair, I haven’t had much chance to run lately anyway. I was home for a short time after the marathon for a busy couple of days at work before going off on a short break to visit Dawn and do touristy things around deepest, darkest Wiltshire and South Gloucester. And, yes, I can confirm penguins were involved! A bit of hiking was thrown in for good measure, too, so at least I wasn’t totally idle.

Since returning I’ve barely been able to lift my head such has been my workload. But it’s important to make time for yourself, and that’s what tonight’s run was.

Just before setting off I decided just to plump for my normal go-to-distance of 5km. It’s enough to work up a sweat and test out the legs but not too long as to turn into some form of unnecessary punishment.

It was a warm evening – and I don’t do heat – so it was going to be an interesting experiment. I also didn’t wear my tights, something I rarely do. I wore them for almost every single training run for the marathon and was very wary of changing that routine for fear of picking up an injury … however, the pressure is off now and so it’s time to start testing things out. Plus it would have been silly given the temperature. I also donned my London finishers t-shirt. Well, why not …?

Anyhoo, what of the run itself? It started off quite laboured. My legs felt heavy, my breathing felt strained but after a few minutes I was able to regulate it and my legs began to loosen too.

I began to quite enjoy it. It felt very pleasant running with the sun bearing down on me and even though I was sweating like a boar pig it didn’t feel uncomfortable.

Pace wise, I tested myself but I never really struggled. I maintained a decent tempo throughout and was actually quicker over the second part of the run. Not a big deal, admittedly, given it was only 5k but it was good to know that I was able to push on and, perhaps, I have a little regret that I didn’t carry on for longer … but that’s for another day, tonight was just all about getting back out there. I did and it felt good.

Next up event wise is the Westminster Mile/London 10000 double header at the end of the month, following by my local 5-mile race a week or so later – an event I have unfinished business with!