Starting over

Now that I’ve “done” a half marathon, albeit a solo effort, I need my next challenge in order to keep me out there training. All too easily I could slip into being a jogger, running at 12 and 13 minute mile pace alongside my husband – content to just jog. I have nothing against joggers, but I don’t want to be one. I want to be able to say that I run at a respectable pace for anyone, not just a 47 year old who only started running last year!

I’m comfortable running at 11 minute mile pace over distances up to 14 miles (my longest run ever) using the Run:Walk:Run system. What I would like to be able to do is run a 5k in well under 30 minutes and a 10k in under 60. So I need to do some speed work.

In the summer I trusted Jeff Galloway and all his running experience and his wonderful injury free running system to guide me to a sub-30 minute 5k. On the treadmill I managed 29:08 minutes, in a race I managed 30:12 and really that was the last time I tried any real speed work. Everything since has been about endurance.

I’ve got a 5k coming up in the new year, the Great Winter Run in Edinburgh on Saturday 7th January. I was meant to do this race last year, and it would have been my first, but I was ill with IBS and unable to run. The kind people at Bupa not only deferred my entry, but also transferred my entry fee as I hadn’t realised that deferring simply meant getting a guaranteed entry to the next race. Really I should be getting my speed up for this race, but I’ve also entered Grant in it and we will run it together. He can easily run 5k now, in fact our last 5k run was off-road and we did it in 36 minutes after a lengthy break for him from running. We should do this race in about 33 minutes without pushing it too hard. I’d like him to finish his first race comfortably and happy. My husband’s happiness means everything to me and it’ll also mean a lot less whinging and moaning afterwards!

So anyway, back to my training. Last night I resurrected my Ultimate 5k app from Jeff Galloway (now renamed Easy 5k if you’re looking for it). The app is adaptable to your profile (height/weight/age/gender), but also your pace. Last time I was working on a 6.8 min per km pace. I tried the app set at 6.2 min per km last night…for about 5 minutes! I know that it doesn’t sound much, but after all this endurance stuff I’ve been doing, running fast is not what my wee legs want to do. The treadmill was set at 12.2 kph and it was just a little too fast for my first run. I turned the speed down on the app slightly and it adjusted my treadmill speed to 11.3 kph, which was my 5k speed in the summer. I really can’t remember what I started off at before, but I must be starting off faster now as, when I finished the run, Jeff told me that that as the end of my “easy” run. Easy run my a*se!

I think I might need to do that run again before looking at speed intervals – I’ll see how I go. I’m feeling no tightness in my legs at all, but my asthma is playing up. When I was running I noticed that my chest was tight and that I was wheezing. I tend to wheeze in cold weather and the studio was cold as we don’t heat it anymore, but this morning I feel as if I have a weight on my chest and I am coughing a lot, a sure fire sign that I’m not getting enough of a breath. I have a chiropractor appointment tomorrow morning and it always helps to loosen tight chest/back muscles. If that doesn’t do it I may need to get an inhaler for the winter. I haven’t had either the emergency or the preventative inhaler for ages, but I am asthmatic and I can’t just stop being that! Cold weather exacerbates it.

In the meantime I am starting my core strengthening exercises on the days I’m not running. My gym has a stability ball, a yoga mat, a skipping rope and a resistance band as well as my treadmill, plenty of equipment to build up muscle strength without paying a fortune at the local gym! As I’m a determined person I will get into a routine and stick to it. My stomach is my weak spot. I know it, I can see it and so can everyone else. I’m sick of having those questioning “Are you pregnant?” looks when I’m sitting down! The Mother’s Apron has to go!

If you are interested in my last few runs, click on the DailyMile widget to the right of the page. I won’t bore you with the details because they aren’t that enthralling, not like some of my other friend’s stats are!

Lastly a big thank you to everyone who donated their hard earned cash to my charity fund this year. I started raising money for Alzheimer’s Scotland this time last year and have this week reached the target of £300. On top of that this year I also raised £144 for Cancer Research UK, tripling my target!

In 2012 I will be raising money for The Dog’s Trust, hopefully running the Great North Run on their behalf, although I am still waiting to hear that I am on their team. The Dog’s Trust is special to me because they won’t put a dog down if a home can’t be found for it. The money they raise helps to find new homes for those that they can rehome and forever homes at kennels and with foster families for those that they can’t. As a dog lover I can’t think of a better charity.

However, there is another charity close to my heart which will also benefit from my running in 2012. Pawing is run by my brother and sister-in-law and “provides shelter, care and veterinary treatment for a small amount of unwanted/mistreated animals, and also supports any small charity that exists to directly and legally help animals and work to raise funds not only for rescued creatures, but also for sanctuaries, groups and individuals.” I’ve seen first hand the care that these animals receive, mostly in the home and garden that my family have basically turned over to the care of these animals. Anything I can raise to help with the costs of running a small charity like this will help them to provide food, shelter and veterinary care. Please help me to help them to help the animals they love.

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