I finally got my act sorted and actually took my running kit with me to London for a trip. And not only that, but I actually went out for a run too.
Of course, what I mean by getting my act sorted is that I nearly got it sorted – I still forgot my running glasses and my socks, but I made the most of it and set off at 7am anyway. It was nice to be out and on the streets when it was so quiet. I was staying near Liverpool St, so quite central and busy in normal hours, but quite relaxing to be a part of it just as it was waking up.
I didn’t intend to be out for long as I’m still easing myself very gently back into running. My plan was to run in pretty much a straight line for 10 minutes and then turn round and come back again. I thought I might make it to Old Street tube station and then head back, but what I forgot was that you go so much quicker when you’re running. So after only a couple of minutes realising I was over half way there I decided to head to Liverpool St station and then turn round and retrace my steps… but it’s confusing around Liverpool St station… and I didn’t have my glasses, so before I knew it I was running around St Paul’s cathedral!
It’s not actually that far away, but it feels it when you didn’t intend to be there and you’re half blind.
In the end I didn’t have to take the tube back, although I was very close to it. But my 20 minute run had turned into a 34 minute one. But I’m really glad I did it, because I didn’t have any adverse reactions and I can now be a bit braver with my running. So being a blind, lost, idiot has had a positive effect!
I was chatting to a few guys in the gym last tonight and this story came up so I thought I’d share it here.
No, before you get any ideas it’s not that kind of comparing.
Anyway, a few years ago I ran the London marathon. At the same time that I was training for it I was working with a client that had recently completed an ironman triathlon. So naturally when I was on the phone to her the conversation regularly got round to training etc.
After the race I was talking about it again, in particular saying that I wasn’t too pleased with my time (4hrs 31mins).
– “Four and a half hours is my best marathon time,” she said.
– “Really, oh okay,” I said, feeling a bit better about my time after all – I mean she’d done an ironman.
– Then a pause
– “Although the only marathon I’ve done was at the end of the ironman.”
So the upshot was: she’d swim 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles … and then run a marathon as quickly as me.
As I say, never compare!
I don’t use a lot of technology to help me with my training and motivation – I’m not a big fan of carrying devices around with me when I’m running and I’m certainly not going to take my iPhone swimming! But I suppose a bit like my post on coaches, I like the “pure”, “naked” feel of the training.
That said, I do record most of my efforts into Fitocracy (I’m Patrickjpr if you want to follow me).
It started out with a recommendation from a friend and I signed up to beat her! But then I joined the “community” and although nowhere near as avid a user (or trainer) as many on there, it’s nice to have a few friends and colleagues on this journey – along with the readers of this blog.
One of the main things that Fitocracy does is allow you to record the session you’ve just completed and earn points for it – you can then see where you are on a variety of different leaderboards. And there is clearly some fun and value in that.
However… (and you knew that was coming), what Fitocracy seems to do is give you a score based on its own view of your exercise – and not yours.
For me right now it is easier to swim two miles than it is to run it. In fact, I could almost swim it easier (although admittedly slower) than I could cycle it. Yet I would get a lot more points for swimming than I would for the other two as Fitocracy has decided that swimming is harder. It seems to me that the algorithm should be tweaked to measure you against recent performances, the more you do something, the fewer points you should earn for it.
Or, to put it another way – I should earn more points if I put the effort in to go out for a run, cos I find it really, really hard 😦
I couldn’t resist.
The plan was to go to the sauna and relax after the gym session, but the sauna is next to the swimming pool and they’d just started lane swimming. So I went back to get my goggles and decided to blast a few lengths just to get it out of my system. I wanted to do a really quick 200m to see what I could do – especially as I am working on speed now.
I did it in 3mins 35sec – the fastest I’ve ever done for 200m. I was really pleased. Then I got to thinking…
That time, if repeated, would see me do a mile in 28mins and 40sec. Not great, but certainly faster than I’ve ever done before. Yet, the winner of the Windermere swam at 23 minute / mile pace… for 10.5 miles!
Last year’s exercise was all about getting myself through it. Would my body be able to cope? Could I reach my goal? Ultimately, would I get to the other end of the lake?
This meant that my training was nearly all about distance and endurance and getting on with it. The 1,000kms goal didn’t help as I wanted to achieve that, so kept looking to add distance to the chart I was keeping for that. However,with the swimming at least it was important to know that I could do the distance – it’s not as easy to stop and rest in a lake as it is if you’re out running, basically if you stop for too long you drown. But what I mainly did in my training last year was plod.
Well, it turns out I could swim to the other end of the lake, so now I don’t need to worry about that. Now I can push myself a bit harder.
I’ve decided that I’m going to try and work on speed and pushing myself hard over short distances / times in my training in the early part of this year. This particularly applies to the swimming, but also to all the other exercise stuff I do (cycling, running, weights). When the open water season starts again I’ll be able to get in the lake and do my long, slow (but hopefully not as slow as previously thanks to the speed work) swims, for now I’m going to work harder, but shorter.
And on that note, I’ve had a Twitter conversation with a friend about feeling the ache after a good session, his expression, which I love, was: “I love it when my body reminds me how awesome I am ;-)”
Inspired by this amazing Lego machine my son and I have decided that we too will build a Lego machine. It won’t be anywhere near as ambitious as that one, but we already have a plan in place for at least four “stations”.
To be honest, although I say it’s a joint venture it’s mainly a way for me to spend more time with my son. It gives us both something to look forward to and something to do when we have time together, instead of me just letting him watch TV. He’ll be seven in April, so I suspect that for now I’ll be doing most of the planning and designing, although he’s already a much better Lego builder than I am.
What we are also doing is starting a blog to record our progress. It was a friend‘s idea and it is a great way to get my son involved in computers, social media and also reading and writing under the disguise of playing with Lego.
I can’t promise too much “action”, but if you’d like to check out the blog it’s here – SouthwellLegoBoy.
I wasn’t planning to take part in Janathon anyway. I realised from last year’s 1,000kms challenge that I find it too hard to plan my life around my training to commit to a full month. However, the plan was to use the quiet time over the Xmas break to re-teach my body how to run without injuring itself and hopefully to re-teach me to enjoy it.
What I intended to do was to go out for a run* on nine consecutive days. *And by run I mean to take my time, to walk when necessary, to stop and stretch if required and not to worry about my pace – just be out there doing it.
I nearly made it.
After my first run I managed four more and almost got to point where I enjoyed the last one. But then it stopped. It stopped mainly because my son was ill (I had to take him to hospital on the 1st – he’s fine), it meant I got little sleep for a few days and I had to work and last week was an important week at work to prepare for the year.
And that neatly sums up where my training is – and always will be – in my list of priorities: behind family and work. Both of them can be demanding, both of them are naturally more appealing to me.
I know other people manage it – and at times so do I – but only up to a point.