Run 1 (2/10/2018)
It’s the first week of October, I’ve no idea what happened to September the weeks are flying by. My last run was a paltry 2k and I’m still not firing on all cylinders.
You know that horrible feeling you get when you know you are going to sneeze but it just won’t come. I’ve had that for the last week with respect to a cold, every night I go to bed drained and sniffling thinking I’ll wake up ill tomorrow and we can get this out the way, and every morning I wake without symptoms feeling fine and thinking great I’m over it. Until about midday when I start to flag and realise something still isn’t 100%. When I was working full-time I was the master of pushing illness down the line, guaranteeing that on those rare holidays I was doubly sick for its entirety. As soon as my arse hit the sofa and the stress was lifted I’d be visited by every plague and malady I’d danced around for months, very much like Dorian Gray finally staring at his portrait.
Not one to take any heed of obvious signs I still decided to set myself the goal of running 5k today, mainly to just get it out of the way early this week, So I headed out in the afternoon sporting my shiny new running jacket. Usual walk around the park and I’ve loaded up a new playlist to keep my mind occupied. After the last few runs my left knee has not been 100% and after the last run my right Achilles tendon has been a bit stiff as well, it’s all adding to my general feeling of low-energy fatigue. Which of course I’m ignoring, of course, that doesn’t stop me going on about it.
Into the first km, targeting 8 min/km but as always end up running the first lap a little quicker at 7 min 38 secs. I make an effort to slow it down on the 2nd km, my feet are killing me which is a bit unusual and then my phone goes. It’s my next door neighbour, I’ve got the pup caged up and so I can’t ignore it, imagining that he’s howling or worst, so I stop running and take the call. Nothing urgent and thankfully nothing to do with the pup. I’m in two minds at this point. Keep running or take this interruption as a sign to give it up, it wasn’t like I was having much fun beforehand. I convince myself to at least put in another km and make the 3km, so I set off again. The 2nd km comes in at 8m 15s in spite of walking for a minute, so the chances are my pacing was too quick again.
On to the 3rd km, my feet are annoying me I don’t usually get this kind of pain when running, but at least my knee and Achilles tendon isn’t playing up. I’m really not getting into this run, even ignoring the phone call I’m just not feeling it, or to be more accurate I’m feeling every nagging pain. By the time I finally hit the 3km in 8m 1s (yay hit the target pace at last) I’d had enough and headed off home, tail between my legs.
Just to stick the knife in the Endomondo app flashes up congratulating me with a new achievement. Fastest 3km in October, I know sarcasm when I see it!
Another walk home knowing I could have done better. The only useful info from this run is that the new running jacket worked great. It kept me warm without turning into a mobile sweatbox and it didn’t restrict my arms flailing or otherwise add to my countless woes. So that’s something. Now I’ve got a day to fret about running 5k on Wednesday, lovely, Fingers crossed I finally get this cold on just so I can get it over and done with and start feeling a little more with it.
Run Rating :
Run 2 (4/10/2018)
I was out early with the pup for another lovely autumnal walk (5k) through the woods, got him back for midday and settled him down in his crate with a peanut butter filled bone before escaping out the door. I’d made up my mind to run a 5k route from the top to the bottom of Medway, which had the huge benefit of being mostly downhill,
Pretty much a runners dream run, apart from that annoying bump just before the end. Expect a PB assuming I can make the distance. My left knee is still not 100% but as long as it waggles about a bit for the next 40 minutes there shouldn’t be a problem. It took a km uphill warm-up walk to get to the start.
The first km was mostly flat and uneventful running beside traffic on the A2, bit noisy and I’m thankful I’m not having to breath deep lungfuls of car fumes. A 6 min 50-sec first lap is a little bit overzealous even for this terrain. I try to settle into letting the hill do the work for the 2nd km, keeping a steady pace. It’s even quicker than the first a 6 min 45 sec, not surprising given the elevation chart above. The 3rd km similarly is quick at 7m 8 secs but I’m out of downhill at this point.
The 4th km is on the flat along the river bank with a surprisingly strong headwind and I realise I’m having to actually do some work. There’s another runner just ahead of me who dances out of sight, easily doing sub 6 min/km. I get my head down and push on but I’m losing the battle here my breathing is getting more and more laboured and backing off doesn’t seem to be resolving the problem. I hit the 4th km and facing the muddy path that is the uphill bump (see above) I’m spent just getting here and decide to call it a day not sure why that last km was so difficult.
Then I get the time 7m 28 sec that’s not backing off at all! I know I can’t maintain sub 8 minute pace especially at km 4 of a 5k, so that explains why I’ve blown out. All that easy downhill must have screwed with my idea of good pacing. I walk up the incline, muttering annoyances under my breath, by the time I’ve got to the top I’ve got my breath back and my legs have stopped aching so I think bollocks to it I’ll restart the app and do that last km.
So I set off and run the last km in 7m 49 sec, still too quick. Shame if I’d kept going it would have been a new 5k PB. As it was it was a new 3k PB in 20m 40 sec, but is that any surprise given the terrain.
All in all, I made the distance, although pacing let me down again on the flat, if I dropped the pace down to 8m/km pace I’m fairly sure I could have avoided blowing out. The big take away from this run is to not quit if I have to stop to catch my breath and push on so be it. Up until now if I stopped early I invariably headed home defeated. From now on I’m going to do the distance even if I have to stop multiple times, hopefully, my body/mind will get the idea we are out here until it’s done and maybe start favouring just the one take.
Not quite sure why I hadn’t considered doing that before now, it seems bloody obvious now I’m writing it. I think somewhere in the C25K programme I got it into my head that stopping was not an option. In fact, I fear to have it as an option as I think I’ll find an excuse to use it when I don’t need it. i.e. there are many times I’m out of breath I can recover with sensible pacing on the next km. So I’m concerned I won’t push myself.
I think that mindset isn’t helping me at the moment. I live on a pacing knife edge and I’m forever getting it wrong. Rather than just giving up when I blow out, catching my breath and just resuming where I left off is going to give me more kilometres under my belt, which has to be the priority. I’ll see how it goes on the next run, I’ll try for 5k again and see what happens.
Run Rating :
Well, I didn’t make it back out this week, partly because of just stuff going on and partly because I continue to have issues with my left knee and my right Achilles tendon which is not recovering between runs. This week’s total running was a very measly 8km.
The issues are not enough to actually stop me running, it’s not that painful, but you don’t have to be a genius to spot the overall trend. I’ve been walking a minimum of 5k every day with the pup (last week was in excess of 40km just brisk walking) and I could feel that unlike previous aches and pains these ones are not clearing up within 24 or even 48 hours resting and they are getting progressively worse with every run.
I’ve therefore decided to have a week out from running, it’ll be my first since starting the C25K program back in May. I’m aiming to just stick to walking (the pup) for the week in the hope it might give my legs the recovery time they need, rather than continue to compound the issues.
I must admit I’m also looking forward to a mental break from the thought of running, even maintaining just 3 times a week I seem to yo-yo, between:
- Pre-run – how am I going to fit this in, I’m not sure I’m really up for this, weather reports, juggling the pups daily routine, when and what I eat. It tends to take over everything.
- Post-run – euphoria at actually getting out there and doing it (whatever the result), knackered, aches and pains.
So it will be nice just to have a break and return to it a bit more refreshed mentally and physically. I’ve not really seen “real” runners talk about taking a break, I’m not sure if it’s good practice or not. I have a concern I’ll go backwards (if that’s possible given my pace ;-). But for me at this point it’s obvious if I continue to keep going at it, I’m going to end with a more debilitating injury that could impact more than just my running and that’s not really an option I want to entertain.