In the almost two year history of this blog I’ve written on a few occasions about having a go-to route and distance when I’m hoping to reset my running and mental attitude towards it.
Tonight was the night to return to that.
I hadn’t run since Eastbourne on Thursday and after the chaos of Stansted Airport on Friday night when, at one point, I genuinely thought my number was up I haven’t really been in the right frame of mind to do it.
Because it was Easter Monday club was cancelled so my only option to break my non-running streak was to go out and do it all by myself … hence my return to the tried, tested and trusted comfort zone that is a 5k along the dual carriageway to the industrial estate and back again.
However, that’s getting boring now. I’ve done it so many times, I’m fed up with the exposed nature of it, the wind blowing in my face, the desolation of the route, the fact that invariably rains on me almost like that’s where my own personal cloud is permanently stationed just waiting for me. But I know it. I know it well, and I know it’s a good gauge of my form.
So, to make things interesting, I decided to experiment running in a specific heart rate zone again … in this case HR Zone 3 – Aerobic. I knew it’d be difficult because I find running deliberately slower awkward to achieve. I’m not exactly a speed demon either, but I have a comfortable pace so stepping outside of that, either faster or slower, is a bit of a test.
I also wanted to indulge in a bit of Jeffing, the run/walk method as pioneered by Jeff Galloway mainly because I felt so unfit and lazy, I wasn’t sure how my legs would react but also because I want to find a ratio that suits me that I can slip into when I’m struggling during a race. In this instance I went for two minutes running, 30 seconds walking simply because that’s what I used (when I needed to) during the latter stages of the Larne Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago.
I’m happy to report that I found this irritating. I wanted to keep running but I also knew that I had to be disciplined and give this particular ratio a chance, next time I try it I’ll push it out a wee bit.
So … heart rate zone 3 and Jeffing … how did I get on?
I knew it’d be slow but I still hoped to do the 5k in under 40 minutes and I did, coming in at just over 39 minutes. That was good. Not my fastest by any stretch but encouraging that when I did deliberately take it gently I could still keep up a reasonable tempo.
And what about the heart rate experiment? Zone 3 had a suggested peak of 140, I averaged 143 across the entire run so a little work to do there but not too far outside what I’d hoped for.
I’m happy to be ‘back’ again. I run with my mind as much as my legs, and this was a good workout for both.