Personal Bests

We all love personal bests, even those of us who insist that running is ‘purely for pleasure’ or ‘just a way of keeping fit’. Pushing yourself through a barrier opens up more than the barrier itself; it lets you enter into a new and perhaps frightening new world, one in which you are no longer ‘just a’ – now you are an ‘achiever’!

Today I broke through a barrier. Today I ran my first 10k in under an hour. It feels good. To be honest it felt easy, which opens up a few concerns about dropping my Jeff Galloway training app! I am not even going to show any shame that I did this on the treadmill, because today the weather here was lousy and if I’d been outside in howling wind and rain I can tell you now that I’d have been lucky to run 6 miles! It’s a treadmill PB and I’m really happy I have it. So there.

I didn’t set off for a PB. I just wanted to run 6 miles because that’s what my schedule was telling me to do. Our old TV had been playing up so we’d replaced it and, rather than just get rid of the old TV, I’d asked hubbie to put it in the cabin. I rigged up the portable DVD player and set The Matrix to play. I was totally chilled out and unaware of my speed, distance – anything really. If I started to get too close to the front of the running belt I decided I wasn’t going fast enough so I clicked the speed up by half a kph. I started at 9 kph, upped it to 10 kph and ended up on 11 kph for the last couple of kilometres. It was very vague and relaxed, how it should be I guess.

Mind you, I sweated some! My headband was wringable by the end and I had the windows open on the cabin despite it being quite cold here today.

I also ran this from start to finish. I took none of my normal walk breaks. I ran 6km the other day in the same way, no breaks – just straight through – and felt strong, so I thought I’d see what I was capable of today. This was for the Bad Runner Brigade who mock my achievements and patronisingly tell me that I should drop my walk breaks in order to be a ‘proper runner’. What rot! I take walk breaks because I want to, not because I have to and this, BRB, proves it! Go and pick on someone who gives a damn, because this lassie can run!

Once I hit 10k I stopped the treadmill and really I was amazed to see a sub 60 minute time. I had seen 5k go past in 31 minutes so doing the second 5k even faster was a great achievement for me. I’m feeling pretty good about myself just now, as maybe you can tell, and I know that subbing 60 on the road is now totally within my grasp! This was an easy paced run. I wasn’t flagging; I could have gone faster.

My only regret? Leaving Neo and the rest of The Matrix team hanging. Another time guys, another time.

The trail of two bras

I’ve talked before about sports bras and generally how ineffective I find them. I’m not a big lassie, but I find any movement incredibly uncomfortable and can be sore for a few days after a long or fast run if I’m not adequately supported. So much so that recently I’ve taken to wearing two bras. This seems to be the most effective answer to my bouncing problems, both of them! I still favour the wide shouldered Crivit bra sold by Aldi and the similar one made by Crane and sold by Lidl, but on top of these I’ve started wearing a stretchy over the top bra or a vest top with an integral bra.

To test this out I took my boobs and two bras out onto the trail today and have to inform you that I am feeling no ill effects of running 3 miles off-road! Mind you, I am typing this in my running gear and haven’t worked up the guts to remove either bra yet! I suppose that says something about comfort if nothing else.

The run itself was another down through the trees run with the dog. Today we saw two deer, one running in ever decreasing circles in amongst the stumps left by the loggers and the other ran from the stumps, across our path to the other side. Neither were to be seen as we turned and headed back so I’m guessing they had donned tree disguises. Pretty dammed good ones too.

I ran 4:1 intervals, which felt good. My average running pace for each run were: 10:35 (flat), 9:56 (slightly downhill), 10:33 (up and down), 11:53 (flat), 11:32 (up and down), 12:02 (uphill), 11:25 (slightly downhill) and 9:24 (flat). Within each of those I had some great best paces, fastest being 7:40 and that was slap bang in the middle going uphill! The stats are always interesting to read, even for me!

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On a training front I have ditched my Jeff Galloway app. My main reason is that it’s just too demanding and I just don’t have the time to meet those demands. Trying to fit in two long runs in a week was starting to stress me out and basically my running is meant to be relaxing and fun! I’ve not left Mr Galloway’s plans however. Instead I went onto his website and have picked up his 10k training plan which involves one long run and I’ll do that on either a Sunday or a Monday depending on my plans. For the rest of the week I can do 30 – 45 minute runs either on the trail, road or treadmill, walking on days in between and resting on a Saturday.

I’m coming in on week 8, which should be fine. To be honest I feel quite relieved. I’m happy to do this and not push myself too hard at the moment. Yes, I would love to get my 10k time to around 60 minutes, but it’s not that far away from that now.

You can find Jeff’s training plans here

I’m off tonight to do some cross training – I’m learning a cha-cha! It’s tough on the calves, but great for the core!

Short and Sweet, for Valentine’s Day

When I got home last night I decided I just had enough time to nip out for a few miles before my carriage arrived to take me to my Valentine’s date (for carriage read bus – we live in the country and neither of us wanted to drive!)

It was still light and so I opted for my favourite run, down into the forest – just me, Murphy Dog and Gary Garmin. I decided to do a couple of miles, down to the gate and back. That would break my non-running streak and also set me up for today’s long run.

I didn’t follow the usual Jeff Galloway Run:Walk ratios. I decided, instead, to just run when I wanted and walk when I wanted – totally guilt free! I actually ran for longer and walked less as a result. The route was dry in places and very, very muddy in others. I think you can tell from my Garmin data which is which!!

We saw just one deer, although as it was Valentine’s Day it became a Dear Deer! Murphy, of course, went running after it, stopping only when the deer jumped the dyke into the trees. Have you ever seen a disheartened dog?

We met a couple walking their spaniel on the way down to the pond and so I decided that rather than turn at the gate and run up behind them I’d run up another track towards the castle. It would mean half a mile of tarmac and Murphy on a lead, but that was fine. What I didn’t account for was just how muddy the track was between the gate and the castle! That’s where the Garmin data starts jumping around a bit!

The run up from the castle was actually really nice. I was pushing on with some good pace and didn’t stop until I reached the road end, although pushing my timer button wasn’t enough apparently as it kept on timing me all the way home and into my living room!

Today I’m still in a state of flux with regards to my training programme. I’m not really following anything and I feel a bit lost to be honest. I keep meaning to sit down and sort out what I want and am able to do. Maybe today is the day for that? I’m also hoping to get a longer run in. I had 9 or 10 miles in mind but it’s a breezy day and I might be asking for trouble. Usually if it’s breezy at our house, surrounded by sheltering trees, it’s very windy up on the hill and down at the shore.

I’ve breakfasted on my runner’s breakfast of boiled egg and toasted spelt bread, just in case! Nothing like being prepared!

What on Earth am I doing?!

I’m sitting here desperately trying to rejig my running programme for the next few weeks because today I changed my working week. I teach for a couple of days a week and run a gallery for the rest, leaving me little actual time for myself. In fact, I seem to spend all of my Sunday catching up with jobs just in time to start work on Monday and then repeat the same process on Wednesday, my next day off.

I needed a “weekend”, like normal people have, even if my weekend didn’t happen at a weekend!

So today I negotiated to swap my Monday for Wednesday, meaning my weekend is now Sunday and Monday! Fab!!

The ‘fabness’ lasted until I picked up my training diary and all of a sudden I found I had great big runs booked on days that I can’t run outside on until we get into the longer days. Bugger!

Then it struck me. What am I doing here? I am desperately trying to improve my 10k time (by quite a bit as it happens) just for my own pleasure. Surely my sanity is worth more than that? I might not have time to run in the week, but now I have two days to choose from to do my long run!

The upshot is I have to say goodbye to Mr Galloway’s training app and look for something that takes into account that we can’t all run 17k on a weekday! Yes, I’d love to lower my 10k time, but not at the expense of my family, social life or well-being!

I’m off to hunt out a better plan. If you have one please feel free to share it. I have one month until my first 10k race of the year and I’m three weeks into a plan already. All help will be gratefully received!