Running up that hill

fullsizerender-44Tonight my local club ran a workshop designed for those looking to tackle a half or full marathon in 2017, and also for those who wanted to improve on their previous performances.

It was a hugely informative event. A lot I already knew, largely from making mistakes first time out, but there were also segments that were beneficial not to mention the ‘good practice’ reminders, of which I can never hear too much about.

It was also nice to impart a little advice and encouragement to some of the others who, while they might be better and faster runners than me, haven’t tackled endurance running before.

Anyway, earlier this afternoon, I put the door-to-door distance from my house to the venue into Google Maps just to see what it’d cost in a taxi to get there – it turns out to be 3.1 miles so there was only one thing for it …… run to it!

Hell, why not? I had a run scheduled today so it was a no-brainer really.

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One thing did occur to me, I had to run through the town centre during the height of the Christmas shopping period so I had to alter my route slightly. The town centre is largely uphill from my house and whilst I tried to decide upon a route that was as flat as I could find it proved to be well nigh impossible.

There was also the psychological aspect to contend with. I usually run around my local area but, tonight, I had to run outside the town and almost to the next village. It’s not far – only a parkrun away after all – but it was a big mental hurdle.

I set off at quite a pace. I tried to ease off but it was difficult, although I knew the constant rise for about a mile would naturally slow me down – and it did – but not massively so.

The run was also constantly interrupted having to pause at the side of roads waiting to cross and so on. However, given those conditions, I was quite pleased with my time and, indeed, my final kilometre which was largely flat and straight was considerably faster than the one that immediately preceeded it.

I feel I’m starting to get my legs back after my week off which just goes to show that maybe having a break isn’t a thing to fear and that I won’t forget to run after all.

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Stepping up

fullsizerender-43So, after a week of absolutely no running and a couple of days of feeling ill, I made my return this evening at the regular Monday club training night. And, of course, I’d take it easy ….. I mean, wouldn’t that be the sensible thing to do?

Ummmm …………

This week was designated as a ‘step up’ week whereby you’re encouraged to try running at the next level up. In my case that meant progressing from the 30 minute to the 45 minute group.

I wasn’t sure whether to do it, and I wasn’t really expecting to. However, after discussing it with a number of my regular group we decided to take the plunge. I think what eventually persuaded us was the decision of our regular group leader to take the session.

fullsizerender-42Therefore, without really anticipating it, I found myself in with the 45-minute group after a week of doing sod all. I was nervous enough about going tonight so goodness knows what caused the rush of blood to the head that made me step up – but step up I did.

So how did it go? I’ll not deny it wasn’t a challenge, but that’s what step up week is all about. The pace was, at the start, a bit quicker than the 30-minute group but that was fine, I settled in and kept plugging away, chatting as I went which definitely made it easier.

Then, about halfway through, it was decided we would try little sprints. We paired up, sprinted to the front of the group, then took it easy as the other pairs did the same before repeating the process about five times.

I suppose it was ‘fun’ – in a sadistic, painful kind of way – and broke the run up but it emptied my legs of whatever energy I had in them after a week off.

However, it wasn’t a disaster. Yes, I took it easy for most of the remainder of the run and only towards the end did I start to find my feet again which, I suppose, is where my endurance training kicks in. I may not be fast but I’ll keep going and, overall, the pace was pleasing.

In fact, I recovered so much that rather than walk back home I decided to run the last half-a-mile ….. maybe not quickly, just a gentle jog but a run it was.

On reflection, a successful enough return after my longest break since the start of the summer.

The lights are on but no-one’s home

fullsizerender-41That perhaps best describes my club run tonight.

After doing so well in my last couple of outings I went tonight perhaps expecting more of the same. Unfortunately I got something of a rude awakening.

We set off at quite a brisk pace and a few of my fellow runners remarked that the pace felt so much quicker tonight than last week. But that was ok, that’s what we turn up for – to get a decent run, to be tested.

Normally I wouldn’t have minded, I have been increasing my speed lately so initially I welcomed the challenge.

However, after about 15 minutes or so it became evident that my legs just weren’t for having it tonight. My ankles burned up, my calves felt tight and I just couldn’t shake them loose. I also felt that my left foot was landing at an angle with every step, it was like I was running with a hobble.

I think I know the reason. There seems to be a common denominator between tonight and my last dodgy run on Thursday last week …… and, I’m sorry to say, it seems to be my new trainers.

I didn’t wear them at the weekend and I was pleased with how I got on. I also didn’t wear them on a couple of my runs last week and I don’t recall being particularly disappointed with those runs either.

So I can only deduce they are the problem.

Now, of course, I’ve got a dilemma. They weren’t cheap so I’m loathe to ditch them. I’ve also been wearing my Mizuno Wave Inspire’s which my podiatrist suggested I shouldn’t but I’ve always liked them, they feel so comfortable and light.

Perhaps the answer is to get a pair of Mizuno’s that match my Asics as closely as possible and use the Asics for my walking trainers, for which they’re perfectly fine and I have no issues with. It’s just running in them that I struggle with.

Or maybe I just had an off night. It happens to everyone. Maybe I was tired, it was my third day running in a row. Perhaps I need to revisit my schedule.

Pace wise, the run wasn’t the quickest but a few weeks ago I know I would have been quite pleased with it. It was also quicker than my first run with the club so, in that light, it wasn’t ‘bad’ as such. I just wasn’t happy with myself.

But, as with every run that doesn’t please me, I’ll pick myself up and go at it again. I survived the London Marathon on barely any training following a long time out with injury so I’m not going to let tonight defeat me.

On the plus side, because I’m determined there will be one, I felt I finished the run strongly and I collected my official club shirt.