Sunday, 13 March 2011

Today's run: looking at the positives

Well, it wasn't a complete disaster...

The earlier post from this morning gives an idea of my mental state ahead of today's run so its hardly surprising it wasn't perfect but here goes.

Took the decision to start a couple of miles further on to the route than I'd originally planned, mainly to avoid a couple of very muddy stretches. Also decided to give a first public outing for my legs in race shorts and shining white 2xu calf guards. Not pretty.

By the time I'd parked up the rain had stopped but I still felt no enthusiasm to run. In fact, just before setting off I felt a feeling that I can only describe as a brief moment of dread. That's probably overstating it but for that moment I really did not want to run and felt trapped into doing it. Never had that before and happily it lasted only a few seconds.

Plan was to run 5 miles starting at something like 8:45 pace then increasing speed gradually so that by the 5 mile mark I'd average a shade under 8:30 pace. After that I'd run 10 miles at or just below 8 minute mile pace.

The first 3 mile were ostensibly right on the money at 8:37, 8:29 and 8:22 respectively but like yesterday's run, in terms of effort I felt like I was running a good 20s faster than that. At 3 miles I stopped briefly to take advantage of the canal being particularly well hidden by bushes off excess fluids and was surprised how much I was sweating despite wearing no more than I might for a summer's run on an overcast and fairly windy day.

Although I'd had a little rest the next 2 miles followed the same trend of feeling tough and I actually slowed down with miles of 8:45 and 8:32. By this point I'd been negotiating with myself for a few minutes and had decided to placate my demons by switching the run to 7.5 miles out at this pace then switching to marathon pace only on the way back.

At 5.4 I'd stopped briefly to gobble down 3 Clif Shot Bloks and have a swig or two of water. That seemed to refresh me briefly but as I passed the 6 mile mark everything suddenly seemed such an effort and running up a couple of short slopes for bridges seemed draining to the point that I couldn't even feel any benefit from the reciprocal downs.

The urge to stop was huge and I gave in to it at 6.25 miles, but still felt committed to at least attempting marathon pace on the return. Psychologically I did seem to get a bit of a lift from that and ran the first 1/4 mile at what I think was at least close to 8 minute miling before realising I hadn't 'lapped' the Garmin to start the return as a fresh run.

With the watch restarted I detoured to take the river and road route for the first 3 miles back. Initially it felt fine and a look at the Garmin told me I was running at 7:59 pace before I faded a bit on an uphill section to do the first mile in 8:10. Mile 2 was better though at 7:59 and even though mile 3 slipped to 8:06 I was pleased to be getting something out of the run. Mile 4 was 7:58 but included a minute's break to finish the Shot Bloks. For the last 2 miles I finally began to feel some rhythm in my running and the pace increased in line with that to give 7:41 and 7:32, which didn't feel too terrible.

Until that point the run had felt uncharacteristically hard for legs, lungs and heart. also, other things bothered me: my gait felt awkward and somehow unnatural; my water belt felt annoyingly heavy and unstable;I felt ungainly and somehow cumbersome; the way fully waterproofed walkers hogged the path forcing me into the mud and puddles irked me; dog owners seeming oblivious to their unleashed pets likewise. Overall it all just felt a bit of an effort.

Looking back I'm pleased that I ran and am happy that at least I did some marathon pace running OK. I don't think there is any fundamental problem, just 3 poorer runs together. A bit of TLC tomorrow should have be back to normal for Tuesday's run.


Laura said...

Ohh my legs are shamefully white, even when I've been venturing out in shorts running all summer they remain white! Not good! Good job on the run. Remember the tougher ones where you really have to push through them that have a big impact on your training mentally so don't be disheartened... I hope that doesn't sound patronising, I didn't mean it to if it does!

~Jessica~ said...

Everyone goes through bad spells (although I don't call your brill paces 'bad' but it's all relative to your expectations). I had three crappy runs back to, four actually! Weds-Sat. I think they tend to happen at times of stress, upheval or in other circumstances that put excess strain on the body and mind outside of running.

I read your procrastinating post and I think it's an achievement that you got out there and ran after such a severe moment of self-doubt. Don't let this make you lose confidence!

Random side note: there was a bloke at the Spen 20 today that was a dead ringer for you! He ran in the same outfit you're wearing in your profile pic/on the side of the page. I was on the verge of asking 'are you Running Rob?' but thank God I didn't as it clearly wasn't you! That could have been interesting if I had...

Maria said...

Well you did it, you did some good pacing, even when you did not feel like it. Those ones count more. SO glad you are looking at the positive side of things.

Alison said...

I think the fact that you kinda knew this was going to be a bad run is reassuring. You were tired and worn down, and it showed. But the fact you made it through in something close to the prescribed pace is a real achievement. That's some mental toughness.

And I also get narky about people hogging paths.