Autumn and winter are definitely my favourite running seasons of the year. I’m no good in the sun and struggle hopelessly when the thermometer creeps past 12C… Getting out when it’s pouring with rain never fails to reawaken the senses and leaves you with that feeling that you’re unstoppable. It also gives you an excuse to devour that rather large slab of chocolate cake on your return.
I also love the changing landscape; the plethora of colour that signifies Autumn’s arrival. The heart warming stodgy dinners are just another reason to appreciate these chillier months.
Tuesday was track night. It’s always quite difficult to drag myself out of the door after a long day at work to attend the track sessions. I know it’s going to be cold. I know it’s going to hurt but I also know that I’ll feel brilliant after it. And that’s what gets me moving out the door.
We started with a 3 lap warm up followed by drills. I think my legs were still protesting from Saturday’s trail run and my quads screamed when we did the sprints. I heeded their alarm and slowed down the sprint efforts. I found that as long as I didn’t go too fast, the discomfort was bearable. I’ve had this frustrating quad pain before and hope it doesn’t keep rearing it’s ugly head. I’m hoping that, now I’ve introduced some Yoga into my routine, this will help towards preventing future injuries and make me a stronger runner.
The main session was Fartlek on the whistle. This is a good test of your ability to gauge pace because you don’t know how long the hard effort will be or how short the recovery section will be.
I’m relatively happy with the pacing; the hard efforts have all been at the same speed. The initial 7 minutes show the warm up laps which were done at the steady pace of 9’15 /mile. The harder efforts have been averaged out at 7’30 /mile.
After this session, I gave myself 2 days off from doing anything in order to rest my quads and hope the pain would go away. I did, however, carry on with my push up challenge. Wednesday was ‘test day’ where you have to see how many ‘good form’ push ups you can do. I managed 34! This is a huge improvement on the 4 that I struggled to do back at the start of this challenge. Unfortunately this, and my attempts at Crane Pose, have given me a sore back, just around the area of my shoulder blade. Aaaargh! The good news is that I managed to hold the pose for 14 seconds!! Yay!
On Sunday, I dropped the girls with mum and met up with Ali outside Rosley Church in order to get our longer run in. I once again put my faith into Ali’s navigation skills and she plotted us a route which included a little off-road section.
We then set off on this beautiful crisp Autumn day. My shoulder hurt a bit for the first couple of miles but it eased off as the run progressed. The off road section arrived just under 2 miles into our run. It was a beautiful, quiet path which skirted around some fields. As you could imagine, it was very wet and very muddy. We’d both worn our road shoes and so we had to take it quite carefully in order to stay on our feet. My Brooks Glycerins were just not made for this terrain!!
We then left behind the trail and carried on along the quiet roads surrounding Rosley and Curthwaite. Our legs were heavy (possibly weighed down by the amount of water that had gushed into our trainers and the mud clinging to them) and we struggled along the road that has become our nemesis. It doesn’t look like a particularly big hill; indeed, it’s unnoticeable in the car but we find it a really gruelling ascent. We almost decided to go the short way back to the car but we knew we’d feel like we wimped out. Therefore, onwards we battled. The last three quarters of a mile were tough. There are two beastly hills one after another. The second is really horrible; it has a sting in its tail as it goes near vertical for the last 25 yards..
We ran on (I like to think strongly but, realistically it was more like a stagger) and finished our 5.8 mile run in 56’29. A steady pace but I think we can be happy with it as we both struggled to keep on going today. It’s times like this where having a running partner is invaluable as you just keep plodding on. If I was on my own today, I know I would have taken the short cut back to the car and felt bad about it all day. On a positive note, my quad felt OK throughout the run, even when tackling the hills.
This week, as part of the Facebook group ‘We Love A Challenge’, I will be doing a Tabata challenge which focuses on 4 essential exercises: squats with shoulder press, plank with leg raises, lunges and the dreaded mountain climbers. These all work the muscles that are used in running. I have done one round already this morning and hope to do another round later. Thea enjoys copying the exercises I do but she does tend not to sense the danger when my legs are flying around and gets a little too close..
This morning, I have also completed a one legged push up challenge from Tribesports. This involved doing 10 push ups on each leg. I must admit, I found this reassuringly easy. My upper body strength must finally be improving!
I ended the morning by following the Yoga routine from the latest issue of Trail Running Mag. This involved a stretch called the Triangle (Trikonasana) which really stretched out my aching back and made it feel a lot better. I will be carrying on with this and hope the niggle will be eradicated soon!!
The Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile road race is on Sunday but I am going to see how this week goes before fully committing myself to doing it.