Blowing Out The Cobwebs

After getting into running last year and hitting some real highs I've drifted out of it a bit recently. So I'm currently trying to get back into it with the ultimate aim of hitting < 50m 10k and 22:30 5km by the end of the year. It's tricky these days as I need to balance that with a new found love, riding my bike.

This is Week Zero, what have I learned?

  • I need a plan
  • Run Slow
  • I love doing this
  • Conclusions

I Need A Plan

I think a lot of people pride themselves on their self determination and individuality. We're masters of our destiny and no one is going to tell us what to do right?

Truth is the majority of us need structure and being told what to do even and for running that's certainly the case for me. I had a bit of abortive attempt to rekindle my running passion a month back but ultimately it didn't stuck.

Knowing I'm sucker for being told what to do this I selected a run for fat loss training programme from Runkeeper. I've lost a lot of weight in the last year and if I don't really need to lose a load of fat at this point however there's only a few plans on RK and of all of these this one most fitted a classic running training plan split between steady running, intervals, tempo and long slow runs.

Previously I've been an idiot and just run at the best pace I could every outing. Everything I've read about running has been quite emphatic that you'll achieve more over time with a more varied approach. So that's what I'm doing.

The commitment I've made (though really light, basically I've promised a web site I'll run regularly for 8 weeks) has worked pretty well. I've done every run and one extra on top. It's a big step up from the fallow last few months of all cycling and feck all running :)

Run Slow

Well. Run slower than you can, I'm in now way pretending my top pace is anything I can claim to be fast but a big portion of the plan I'm on is running at 70% heart rate max. What's that? Basically running at a pace that you're not out of breath and have a bit of chat without huffing and puffing.

What pace is that? There's some online calculators and they seem to agree given my recent 5km times it should likely be somewhere around the 6:20 mins per km mark. I tried this. It was really hard to do. It just felt embarrassing. So I've sped up a bit but been careful to keep an eye on how I'm feeling and slow down at even the slightest hint of weariness.

It's all new but I think I've managed to get there.

So over the week what's been cool is I've seen my run pace increase for similar amounts of effort. It seems to be working. I'm not close to pace I'd got at peak last year but it's good to say some of that level of running fitness come back over the last week. Last night in particular felt amazing so yeah that leads onto:

I Love Doing This

By around 7pm I had a stinking headache, was in a pretty foul mood and generally didn't feel great. It would have been really easy to not go out and honestly didn't feel like it in the slightest but because of the commitment I'd made to a website (I know) I dragged myself out.

And it was pretty amazing. Got a real groove going on and felt my form snap nicely into place near the end with effort going down while speeding up a bit. Big grin while getting back to the car, mood completely lifted and no more headache.

On top of that I was pretty refreshed managing to keep well within the bounds of effort the plan called for and ended up with a 5:41 min per km pace over 35 minutes including a slower 5 minute warm up. It was pretty windy too.

My first and start of the week run was stupidly at full on pace, left me knackered and was slower at 5:44. Nice seeing this improvement in a short time and brilliant to be enjoying it so much.

Conclusion

So far so good is probably the best summary :) The running has been a lot of fun and despite concerns previously it's not been a stretch to balance that with my cycling. On top of the 25km or so on my feet I've managed to clock off nearly 250km on the bike at some of my best times.

I'll do another update next Sunday and it might be a different story. It's been all easy runs so far, next week there's intervals and tempo runs too. But I'm optimistic and kind of looking forward to it. We'll see how I do.

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