The title describes my three most recent training activities. Of course, I like my titles to work hard, so we can extract some further meanings as the post progresses. I want to get my money’s worth.
I thought it was important to try to rediscover my old training habits by including a bit of Friday hill running. This is not the rigorous hill running that other elite athletes undertake, it is me struggling up a positive incline in a far from positive frame of mind. The language we use is an important determinant of how we respond to things. The thought of “hills” can be disheartening, conjuring up feelings of effort, pain and disappointment. This is why I adopted the jolly and inspiring phrase “positive inclines” – who wouldn’t want to run up one of those? I’m beginning to think I may have to revisit this strategy.
So, I again turned left at the top of the lane leading to the main road through Aldwincle heading towards Wadenhoe. I was beginning to regret starting my run before I had even covered half a mile. I know that psychologically the first mile can be quite a struggle as I scan my muscles and joints for any signs of squeakiness, stiffness or twingeing. I am aware of my breathing as my body suddenly realises that unreasonable demands are being made of it, and thoughts of the road ahead just intensify the heaviness that seems to descend – it is both an emotional heaviness and a literal heaviness in my limbs.
Anyway, I carried on in true elite athlete style. At the edge of the village I stopped briefly to give directions to a skip delivery driver. It was the start of a brief relationship. There followed a short and steep downhill bit, and then the start of the fairly challenging uphill bit. I needed to walk some of the way, whereas not so long ago I could run it all. The top part levels out at the entrance to the field that has a track leading to Wadenhoe church. I met the skip delivery man again and exchanged a couple of words between gasping to get my breath back. I ran to the church, through the churchyard and then down the hill at the other side. I did a quick 180 degree turn and ran back up the hill to the gate of the churchyard. That was tough. The last few metres are a real struggle, but I did it. I took a short break, using the opportunity to post a live video on my running Facebook page.
The return run was uneventful, apart from the skip delivery driver giving me a wave and shouting “Thank you!” as he drove past me down the hill – this time, without his skip, having safely delivered it to the right field. My time for the 3.5 mile run was distorted by my stops, but I was pleased to have ascended 54 metres, burnt off more than 400 calories, and achieved an average stride length of 0.88 metres. I do love my metrics.
Overall, the experience helped to make me feel more positively inclined towards my training programme.
It is unusual for me to run on a Monday but I did not run on Sunday due to a bit of a
night out on Saturday. Even we elite athletes have to have some fun and a break from our rigorous exercise and dietary regimes. I wanted to reconnect with my “Tempo Tuesdays” so set out with the intention of putting in some hard effort to run faster over a short distance. I chose the Brampton Valley Way again, this time heading north from Draughton to the Kelmarsh Tunnel. Hence being “on the line”. And, as the phrase also suggests imminent danger, it is very apposite because my exertions put quite a demand on my old cardiovascular system. I needed to catch my breath at the entrance to the tunnel and took the opportunity to post another live video (with a bit of “spookiness”) to my running Facebook page. The return run was a bit easier as it was downhill and there was less urgency to run faster – although these two factors combined to give me a faster pace (another negative split!). My overall average stride length was 0.90 metres, which is one of my best. Running is making my legs grow longer!
Today was an opportunity to do some cross-training. I went for a little swim – hence being “partly submerged”. The phrase also speaks of struggling to remain on top of everything that needs to be done in daily life and specifically in terms of training. I’m preparing for a 10km race at the weekend, as a stepping-stone towards my big run later in the year. A long way to go…
Swimming is a great form of cross-training. It is good to use the water to help with stretching and to provide a bit of resistance with leg swinging. I can only do front crawl, and that helps to stretch out my upper body. I alternate fast swimming with slow swimming, and this is good for building my cardiovascular fitness.
So, in conclusion, I’m currently positive, focused and floating.
I hope you continue to run happy and free.