We are into the long runs now, no more breaks and starting with a re-run of 25 minutes. So it was back to the local park on a blisteringly hot Thursday evening, I tend to be favouring the park because of my full-time dog minding duties, it means I can be in and out in 45 minutes.
Usual types at the park, mostly flat out on the grass. It was pretty damn warm. I’d made sure I’d had a good glug of water before heading out, anticipating it might get a bit sticky.
I’m a bit embarrassed to talk about any form of incline having just watched Geraint Thomas win the Aple d’Huez in a spectacular sprint finish after climbing a mountain for most of the day, in the process securing back-to-back wins and holding onto the yellow jersey. But today’s run was definitely an uphill battle.
To mix it up I decided to run clockwise around the park, I tend to favour anti-clockwise for no particular reason. The park itself is on a slight incline, so for about a 1/3 of the run you are going uphill, doesn’t matter which way you go round, there’s a 10-metre difference according to Google Earth. Anti-clockwise is steeper but shorter, while clockwise is shallower but probably twice the distance. Having run both now I absolutely prefer the short sharp shock as opposed to the prolonged grind. But it’s good to mix it up I guess.
All the usual warnings from Laura about pacing and off we go. We hit the 5-minute mark and I’m still settling in – i.e. probably going too fast and having to back it off. Amazing to think in earlier weeks 5 minutes was a target and now it hardly counts as a warmup. Laura chimes in at the halfway mark, the negative voices have been trying the old “not even halfway, and it’s going to get harder” routine since 10 minutes. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to stop a couple of times.
Instead, I performed the mental status check I did on the last run, tell me why I should be stopping:
- legs – not ideal, my thighs are burning more than usual, seems to be the result of going down the steeper downhill. But no show stoppers although I might want to take it a bit easier downhill next time round.
- feet – no problems
- stomach – no real problems, the dial is just nudging the red, particularly on the uphill climb, take it easier
- lungs – having to work quite hard going uphill, but I am able to recover to a degree going downhill
In conclusion, the usual bunch of issues to manage but no show stoppers. Get your head down, crack on and check back in 5 minutes.
Laura chimes in at 20 minutes, it’s fair to say I’m not having fun but I’ll be buggered if I’m going to quit a 25m run at 20m, even if the latest status check is indicating the legs are starting to suffer quite badly, a couple of staggering steps testify to my fatigue and the lungs are slowly failing to fully recover on the downhill, so it’s all getting a little bit choo-choo.
Luckily the last 2 minutes was all downhill, that was a bit of a break. 60 seconds to go, Laura is tempting me to step it up again. I’m thinking I could probably pick the pace up a bit, but let’s not go mad, I know how long 60 seconds can last when you hit empty. So I pick it up and got to the finish line fairly strong.
This session was harder than the last 25m session, I think because it’s difficult to completely eliminate the overconfidence at the start of a repeat run. I know I’m doing it and I dial it back but it’s still quicker than the super tentative pace the first time around. I also really felt this one in my thighs, more than any session so far. Hopefully, it’ll translate into more stamina next time.
This outing was the usual running playlist the only new track on it was Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine. It kicked in the last 5 minutes, there really isn’t a “running” message in the whole track, except the last minute’s worth of “F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me” coincided perfectly with the last uphill slog when my body was pleading to stop. Guess what my response was!