Thursday, 12 July 2012

Running to plan...

There I was, 7 PM on a Wednesday evening, it'd been a busy day with work, to be fair I'd not really got the urge to run.  All day my I'd been conscious I'd got to go out and do a tempo run. I checked the plan, 5 miles in total, with three of them at an 8:36 pace. The sort of thing I'd know about rather than a leisurely plod.  The sort of thing I didn't really want to do, but I'd decided if it's on the plan I'm sure as hell going to try. It's at that point I noticed the plan said Thursday. 

Turns out Wednesday's schedule consisted of one nice easy word - rest. I like rest, I can do it without trying... Restfully I looked out of the window, blue skies for the first time in days.  If only all days could be like this.

Apparently I can also do unnecessary guilt. I was tired and hungry, but what the hell, I decided, I should go and run anyway, it might rain tomorrow. Plus if I bring everything forward a day it works better.. Friday I've a friend's birthday and a beer festival taking priority, so 2 rest days in a row might just be a good idea... Also, possibly my last beer for a while.  Needs must, and all that.

So the run.. First a warm up mile, and out towards the park. I've only just started to get the hang of easy runs, but more about that another time. In the spirit of breaking old habits I did something I don't normally ever bother with, I stopped and stretched. I've never been what you call a sensible runner, I've been a stubborn runner, for the last couple of years my approach has been simple, go out, run as fast and hard as I can, come home looking like death, and sometimes feeling like it.

I'm not sure the stretching made much difference, if you were about to run away from a tiger you'd not stop and have a stretch first, but the stopping was a good idea, I felt calm and ready for the task at hand.

3 miles. Out through the park, all uphill.. 8:36, that's going to be hard work, I check the garmin [1] and I'm sticking to my pace. First mile done, bang on target. Then the steep bit. AAARGH! Suddenly it's looking like I’ll do a 10 minute mile! Back to that guilt thing, I dug in and somehow dragged myself back to the target pace. Legs burning I’d made it to where the path flattens out and before I knew it had pulled the time back with a bit to spare. 8:13.  *BEEP* And onto mile 3.. This one thankfully was flat then downhill, so I just kept on keeping on. *BEEP* another 8:13. Hit the button. It was over. A steady mile back home.. Job done. I actually felt good.

Back home, pint of squash and time for a garmin download. 8:20 average, Heart rate at 88% of max, apparently that's just right for a tempo run pace.  Maybe there's something in this plan stuff after all.

[1] The garmin is a double edged sword, it makes me feel guilty when I go slowly, but at the same time it's a huge plus to see when I'm doing well.

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