I’m currently making the effort to do ‘something’ with my day, every day- Something aside from the usual routine, so going to work, making dinner, putting the washing machine on,blah blah blah doesn’t really count!
Today, my ‘something’ was a run. Not just any old run, today I tried a speed session. And very nearly killed myself
A bit about my running history in all its glory: Back in 2005, when I was at uni and had lots of time on my hands, I ran the London Marathon. I hadn’t really run much before that- One Race for Life and a few half-hearted spins around the park, but I trained and trained and got around the 26-odd miles (just about), in a suitably ploddy time, and earned myself sun stroke into the bargain. After that, I’ve always had the odd flash of running inspiration and put my trainers on for a few weeks or months of lumbering jogs and the odd 5k race before getting bored and giving up.
My method has always been the run-walk approach- You see it a lot in beginners’ running plans, where you start walking a minute, then running a minute and build up slowly, which is all very well and good, but I never ever managed to get rid of the walk breaks entirely- Even at the peak of my marathon training I was walking every 10 minutes or so, which was a bit rubbish really, so I decided this time that enough was enough and I was going to run. And I wasn’t going to set myself a ridiculously unobtainable goal of doing 4 sessions a week, which was another reason for my previous downfalls.
I like to have a vague schedule, so I downloaded an app which I’d used before for a bit but very much liked- Its the Addidas micoach app. You can set a running plan, stating the days of the week you want to run and a fitness or distance goal. The first run in the plan is a fitness test, where you build up slowly, running different lengths of time at what you think is your level 3 (bit of a walk), right up to level 9 (pretty much flat out). The system calculates where your blue, green, yellow and red zones are and then each run you get told how fast to go. I’ve found it really helpful because I’m now trying to run as slowly as I can and remain just inside the blue zone, rather than tanking off too fast, getting knackered and walking, which is basically what I did in the past. It works on your phone’s GPS signal, by the way- you just turn that on and it tracks where you’re going and how quickly. Oh and you can pick a celebrity to gee you on too- I’ve got Jessica Ennis, so every so often, my music cuts out and she tells me to keep it up, which is nice.
Because I’ve set myself a meagre two sessions a week, it’s impossible to get too far behind the plan, even if I’m feeling lazy and skip the odd session, but I’m enjoying it at the moment. So much so I even went for a run when I was in Portugal last week with the in-laws- That was a bit of a treat actually- Although it was hilly, on dirt tracks and in ridiculous heat, Mark came with me and we ended at a gorgeous cove where we could have a paddle and sat on some rocks- Loved it!
Anyway, I digress- so far, the plan has only taken me up to green zone- but today were some 30 second blasts of yellow zone. I’m not sure how, but the planner seems to have set my yellow zones to be quite fast, so I really had to run like the clappers, and by the fourth 30 second blast, I was utterly knackered, but I’m rather pleased- Even in my ploddy marathon training days, I never did speed work, so it’s made me feel vaguely professional!