The tale of 12 miles

Thank you to all those who shared your brilliant ideas about how to trick my brain – they are banked for use another day. I managed to find yet another solution.  I took my eldest to a nearby forest and ran some of the marked ‘walks’ there. (He biked)

A view from my run.

A view from my run.

I had hoped that there would be a nice 10 mile loop to follow but alas not! We ended up following a 6 mile route that wasn’t quite 6 miles and then another, different 6 mile route that was again not 6 miles. Don’t worry I made up the extra – you don’t think that I could stop before 12 did you? :)

It was lovely – sandy (not so lovely) and quite undulating, my fitness tracker said that I went up 80 floors. When I set out I was on 3! I am not sure how it measures it but it feels about right according to my legs. The best thing was that I was out in the countryside with no cars to worry about and no knowledge of the route thus I was unable to constantly think how much further there was to go.

So I did, in effect do 2 loops of 6 miles, well 5 but they were different. I’m my head I actually broke it down further into 3 miles at a time – once I had done 1 mile I was nearly half way and then, once half way I was nearly at the 3. Yes I know I said I wouldn’t but it worked at the time.

So there we go – about 22 miles done for this week.

Mental tricks

Today I have been pondering the best way to trick my brain. I think that it is a well known fact that running is probably 50% mental and 50% fitness (actual numbers may not be accurate but you get my meaning!). I generally find that when I am really dreading a run it goes far better than I expect yet when I am really looking forward to one it can be a real struggle.

A while ago I wrote how I managed to trick my brain into running for 90 minutes by breaking it down into two lots of 40 minutes (yes I know and a bit). This weekend I have 12 miles to do. As I was biking home I was pondering whether to split that into two 6 mile loops. I normally hate doing loops as there is that awful dread that you have to do it all over again, every hill, the windy bit etc, etc, etc. I also like the feeling of running a distance; “I ran here!” It feels like an achievement. Maybe I should run 6 miles out and 6 miles back? But that feels a bit like the loop except I wouldn’t have to run past my house which, let’s be honest, can only be a good thing.

The other way of looking at it is by breaking it into chunks as I did before. It will take me about 2 hours. That means two lots of  1hour (yuck!) or 4 lots of 30 minutes. I am not sure I fancy either of those options!

Normally when I run a longer distance I split it up into 3 mile chunks or 5k’s. This is about 30 minutes in length but I don’t think like that. 3 miles is easily doable. A 30 minute run is almost not worth going out for (anymore!). It is an easy(ish) run to do. Maybe this is the way to go? The trouble with this is that I still have to work out the route I am going to run. This strategy works best during races when I am beginning to struggle. If I used that tomorrow I would be thinking 4 lots of 3 miles….. Nope that will not get me round.

I was hoping that writing this would help me to find a solution. Unfortunately this hasn’t worked at all. Do any of you have any ideas? What would you do?

 

A PB!

After my run on Friday night I took Saturday off completely – I actually slept in until 9am! I think my body needed a rest!

 

 

Sunday I went to the gym which was very enjoyable. It is really more of the same although I am now moving more towards dynamic and explosive moves rather than simply lifting weights. All good for my running apparently.

Monday was another rest day – aren’t I being a good girl? Tuesday was running club – a 5k handicap. This involves the slowest people setting off first and then everyone else at set intervals behind them. My time for a 5k tends to be about 27minutes so this is where I slotted in. In actual fact I got a PB of 25.57 minutes, a shade under 26 minutes. I am REALLY pleased with this. (I also came 4th overall and wasn’t overtaken by anyone). I doubt this will ever be repeated as I expect that I wasn’t actually in the correct group (dare I mention cheating? Unintentional and perfectly innocent though it was.)

I felt really good. I set out at a steady pace and then when another girl started speeding up I followed her as I knew that her pace was a bit quicker than mine. This made it a good pace to aim for.  She did pull away a bit but she was always in my sights.

On waking up today I made a classic mistake. I assessed the weather from the window. It looked calm and still (no tree branches were moving). It had been quite warm yesterday and so decided to bike. It is probably my only chance this week and I was taking a running club before work so was going in my training clothes. It didn’t take me long to realise that looks can be deceiving. There was an evil wind that was heading straight for me all the way. It was also icy, straight from the North pole. Then, to add insult to injury, it decided to start ‘snowing’. I had made the silly decision not to wear my waterproof trousers and so had visions of me getting soaking wet and then having to spend the whole morning in wet clothes. Not a nice thought! Luckily the ‘snow’ didn’t last very long at all.

I did feel good once I was all warm again but the idea of going back outside to get home wasn’t something that I was looking forward to. Luckily the sun had come out by the time I was ready and it was a far more enjoyable ride home although still a bit cold. I am pleased that I did it but still think that I was mad!

Tomorrow is another mad event – a head torch run along an unlit track. Sounds fun but also as if I am asking for an injury. There is an alternative route but where is the adventure in that? (Maybe I will have my sensible hat on tomorrow and will not want to risk injury…..?)

A little bit of bragging

On Thursday it was an out and back session at the club. The key to this is all about pacing. You run for 20mins in one direction and then turn around and aim to get back to the start in under 20 minutes i.e. faster than when you went out. It is really clever as the fast people get further and then have to run further back. In principle this means that there isn’t much over taking, always good for the confidence.

It worked. We set out at a nice steady pace and I was pleasantly surprised by how far we covered in the 20 minutes. I felt good and so began to speed up on the return journey. I hope that you don’t think that I am bragging if I tell you that I got back 2 whole minutes faster than I went out. I was so pleased. Yes, some would say that I set out too slowly but when I looked at my stats I got faster with each mile that passed:

9.07

9.04

8.40

8.34

(all in minute miles). Really happy with that.

 

Friday

Friday was indeed as windy as they had warned so I was really pleased that I hadn’t left the biking to do. It was really quite blustery (although nowhere near as bad as other places) but enough to really think that running my planned 10 miles was a bit mad. I attempted to get out of it by sending  a couple of texts to my comrade but to no avail. She simply replied in a joking way. I asked another friend to help motivate me and her response was don’t do it. That had the desired effect. Off I went.

It wasn’t easy at all and there were 2 miles at the beginning that were really tough going, a long uphill stretch that was straight into a head wind, strong enough to make us feel as if we were standing still. We eventually made it and were delighted to see that we had managed to move faster than we imagined. Our legs really felt it however.

 

Once we had finished it felt really good to have done our long run before tea on a Friday. The bonus being that we had run 10 miles at an average pace of 9.48. Really pleased with that too. I think the term is smug pants all the way. :)

I slept very, very well last night (nearly 11 hours!) and have a lovely relaxing day with no running or biking. Just a bit of walking. Gym tomorrow.

Have a lovely weekend one and all.

Arguments

I had an argument with myself this morning. Yesterday was a rest day and tonight is club night so I am running but……I haven’t biked my two days to work this week yet.

FOR….

Today looked as if it was going to be a lovely afternoon for biking.

I was up early enough.

I need to complete my challenge that I have set myself.

It will all count towards a January challenge that I am taking part in and miles on the bike or running all count.

I could have a complete rest day tomorrow.

AGAINST

Tomorrow looks a bit blustery (read strong winds).

Biking is my cross training so I should not do it today but tomorrow.

I have a nagging concern that I may be doing a bit too much ever since I noted my higher than usual heartrate therefore running is enough for today and bike tomorrow.

I won’t be able to have a complete rest day tomorrow.

 

All this was honestly going on in my head. So which side won……….

Yep I biked. It was a truly beautiful ride home with clear blue skies and sunshine so I was glad I did but I wonder how I will get on at running club tonight?

Will I end up biking tomorrow too? I am not at all sure.

A lesson in progression

Last night was club night. I was really looking forward to it. To put it mildly, I have the January blues. Work is tough going, home-life is tough going ……..to be honest the bit that I am really enjoying at the moment is my training. It is giving me satisfaction, enjoyment and, dare I say it, energy.

A big turn out

The route was a little bit up and down (a lot for this area), about 6 miles in length. There was quite a lot of us meeting up at the start, enough for 5 groups….and get this, I was not in the last group. Wahooo!

Progress?

I had run this route a couple of years ago when I had attended the club before. I remember finding it quite tough. This time however I felt strong. Even up the ‘mountain’ that went on for ever.

Threshold

When I uploaded the run from my watch I noticed that my heartrate got up to 212 beats a minute. It didn’t feel this high. I am wondering if I should be worried as I am sure this is unusual for me. The average however was normal so maybe I have just not looked that carefully before? I am hoping that this is the reason. Going on my heart rate this was a threshold run as my heart rate averaged about 85%. If it is then it definitely didn’t feel like I was working this hard. Maybe threshold runs are not to be avoided after all!

Inactive

Today has been a rest day that I have spent mainly sitting on my bottom (well all afternoon at least!). I am usually quite active in my job but last Friday and this afternoon I was on a course that involved me sitting. I can honestly say that I do not enjoy sitting for long periods of time. On a positive note, I realise why everyone says how bad sitting down for a long time everyday is. I am also grateful that I have a job that allows me to move about.

Tomorrow is an out and back run which will test my pacing skills to the max!

 

 

Adventures and Views

So, after the busy week it was time for a quiet weekend, right? No. Friday was incredibly quiet as I was on a course and spent the day on my bottom which is very unusual. The venue was somewhere new and so I left plenty of time to get there.  In the end I arrived early and had time to enjoy a nice mug of tea. As I was was sitting there it suddenly dawned on me that I never do this!  (Sit around drinking tea that is). As a consequence my steps went down to barely 1000 all day! This was nothing like the rest of the weekend.

New Adventures

In our house Saturdays are football days. Today we had just one match to fit in which I volunteered to do (I like home games as I know where I am going!). When I got home I was inspired to try out a new feature on my Garmin. When I say new I mean new to me as the watch has always had this capacity but I have never used it…. I sat on the computer and marked out a lovely 9 mile route that mainly stayed on trails. I then uploaded it onto my watch so that I could follow it whilst out. Clever eh?

Mud, Mud glorious mud!

My eldest fancied coming with me on his bike and so we set off. Me in my lovely trail shoes and him on his bike. We were going along really well, mainly on roads until we came across our first trail and mud…..

2016-01-23 14.04.42

 

This was mud that stuck to your trainers, bike and anything else like glue. I literally had to pull the bike along. Luckily it was only a short way so we just about managed. It did mean that each foot had an extra 5 kg’s or so on them.

We soon hit easier terrain and started to make good progress. We found new paths that we didn’t know existed that felt as if we were in the middle of no-where. We saw 1 person. All was going really well until the path that I wanted had a sign saying private. RATs. We had two options: break the law and trespass or carry on along the way we were going. Being the responsible mother that I am we chose the latter option. Unfortunately this meant that we got lost! We came out onto a road that we had no idea even existed.

Luckily we made a good choice as to the direction we took (50/50) and ended up in a village we knew! phew. After about 2 miles we managed to re-join the planned route and finally made our way home. Due to the extra 2 mile detour I did cut a bit off the end….my legs had just had it for the day but I still did the distance that I had set out to do.

Sunday

Cross training at the gym. More pull ups, single legged squats and press ups. Quite a lot of upper body strength work today so I expect to feel it tomorrow! Oh, I nearly forgot. We also did a gentle family bike ride ……6 miles in total but I have found a whole new load of trails to explore. (Anyone spot a theme going on here?)

Monday

In an attempt to prevent the Tuesday blues that I have been suffering from for the last few weeks, I decided to take the risky option and bike to work today. It was risky because I leave work with just about half an hour to get to school pick up. The bike ride takes 20 minutes. A bit tight for my liking but I am always up for a challenge ;)

This morning was another warm morning with the most beautiful moon:

2016-01-25 07.41.37

Yes that is the moon and not the sun.

On the return journey I literally flew home. The wind was behind me and I managed an average of 12.3. mph! For me that is amazing. The home run is always a bit quicker as there is one huge hill as opposed to a long slow uphill drag, but 12.3 is flying. I normally average about 10.9!! My legs felt fine which is amazing the amount of miles they have put in this week. I must remember to stretch tonight else I fear they will not last the week.

See you soon. :)