Back On the Road Again

Good news: I got back out for a little run last night. Even better news: mentally, at least, it was good. It wasn’t the struggle of the last two runs, so I reckon they may have felt bad just because I was going down with flu. It was just 4K down the Portway and back, and it rained on me on the way home, but it was generally fine.

The only thing letting it down was an ache from my lower back, on the left hand side. I’m pretty sure that the last time I felt this happening a lot, a pair of new shoes did the trick. Looking back, it was actually more than a year ago that I last bought new shoes. That definitely means I’m due some new ones, so they’re on the shopping list for the next time I’m heading past moti.

The other thing that would certainly help my back is, of course, the perennial need for me to lose some weight. Hopefully I can get back on track now I’m over my illness. We’ll see…

Simple 5K

Today I stopped my post-Bath Half lazing around and started my seven-week countdown to the Bristol 10K by nipping out for an easy 5K up Bridge Valley Road and around a bit of the Downs.

It felt ploddy, and I really wasn’t feeling the joy, even though the weather was unusually sunny (i.e. it wasn’t pissing down, as it mostly has been for the last six months, it seems.) It’s possible I’m still recovering from the Bristol Beer Festival, which is where I spent Friday evening.

Oh well. At least it was better than not running.

Don’t Be A Fair-Weather Runner

Rainy Portway

Recently, I seem to have been a bit of a fair-weather runner. Do you know that feeling? You look out of the window at the dark skies and the rain, and decide that you could just as well go running tomorrow, when it might be nicer.

If, like me, you live in England, you’ll already have spotted the problem here. In the last year, the chances of tomorrow being nicer have been pretty low.

Becoming a fair-weather runner puts your fitness at the mercy of long spells of crap weather. Looking back, I should have found some better running clothes, gritted my teeth, and got out there.

Even if I didn’t go out for that long run in Leigh Woods — because I’d have had to swim some of it through mud — I should have just got out for a couple of turns around the harbour, rather than letting the conditions put me off all together.

And not just for the physical exercise. There’s a big psychological advantage in regularly running in adverse conditions.

I was reminded of that yesterday, as I was getting tired on a 15K jog. I checked my distance, and found I’d only done 10K. I’ve not done much more than 10K for a few months, so I guess my muscles’ upper limit has reduced a bit.

So, I used a technique I’ve found very handy towards the end of half marathons. That technique is born of years of dragging myself out to do 5K runs whether I’ve felt like it or not. Five kilometres is pretty much my default distance, probably because it’s the distance I worked up to when I got started with Get Running.

So, that’s what I tell myself. I’ve only got 5K to go. Sure, I’ve already run 10K, or 16K, or whatever, but I’ve only got 5K to go.

And I can do 5K standing on my head. I’ve done 5K in rain, snow and ice. I’ve done 5K in howling, freezing wind. I’ve done 5K when I’ve been ill. I’ve done 5K first thing in the morning. I’ve done 5K last thing at night. I’ve done 5K when I’ve been dog tired. I’ve done 5K up a hill with a hangover.

So I can sure as hell do 5K right now.

And it works. It’s got me through quite a few last-5Ks of longer runs, as my muscles tire and I’m just left with my brain to keep me going, throwing one foot in front of the other and gradually getting the distance down to 4K, 3K, 2K… Through the last half-hour, all the way to the finish line.

There’s my motivation the next time I look out of the window and think, “Oh, gawd, it’s still raining…” My reply to myself should be, “Good! You can exercise your psychological muscles as well as your physical ones.”

Getting out in the sunshine is lovely, but it doesn’t work on your mental endurance anything like as much as getting out in the rain.

I Aten’t Ded

Yes, not blogged for a while. Sorry. Blogging and running have both taken a bit of a back-burner, with both my fortieth birthday and the weather getting in the way a bit…

My last run was a while back. Last Friday, I at least went on a 10K photo walk through the fresh snow, which hopefully burned off a few calories. And looked a bit like this:

Scale

(There’s a few more of my Bristol snow photos here, if you’re interested.)

As I write this, this is the view from my back door:

…and I’m told it’s pretty slippery out, so I’m not nipping out for a jog just yet. But I will soon. Honest.

A Walk Instead

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I was going to head out into Sunday’s sunshine for a pleasant daytime jog, but I got a call from a couple of very hungover friends who had ambitions on fresh air a bit further afield.

We ended up doing this circular walk from Blagdon including Burrington Ham. It was a good way to spend a sunny day.

I’d like to get out for a jog tomorrow, but I’m seeing amber rain warnings being tweeted by local weathermen, so I’m not sure how appealing it’ll be in the morning… Hrm.

I’ll leave you with a photo of my friend Jo at one of the higher points of our walk.

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Back to the Portway

Portway Tree

Since my fastest ever half marathon, I’ve not done any jogging.

Partly this is the usual break I take after every big long race. Partly it’s because I’ve been very busy. I took on a four-week contract at my old workplace at the same time I was still working on the Android version of Get Running, at the same time as I was having a new kitchen fitted and then decorating it. As you might expect, that didn’t leave me with much time or energy for jogging.

On the plus side, I did cycle to work and back pretty much every day of the four week contract, which was good exercise, and seems to have kept any weight gain at bay, at least.

And now the contact’s over, the kitchen’s finished, and I’m back on the road. I nipped out for a little 3K jog down the Portway yesterday to start getting myself back in the habit — I find it’s best to lower your resistance to getting back into running by going out for laughably short distances to start with.

Speaking of the Bristol Half Marathon — thanks to everyone who chipped in to raise £110 for Children’s Hospice South West. It’s a great cause, and knowing that there were donations depending on my running helped me to get out there to train, and to keep going all the way around the course 😀

Mixing Jogging with Duty

I don’t usually mix jogging with anything else. I go out jogging, I come back home. This Sunday, though, I had a favour to do for a friend that dovetailed nicely with the jogging. So, I jogged out to Easton, fed my friend Emmeline’s cat, and jogged back again.

This was good motivation, got me a nice halfway break where I could pet a cat and fill up a water bottle, and took me around some bits of Bristol my jogging doesn’t normally go.

Here’s a few pictures from the jog. On the way out, I passed a huge group of cheery cyclists heading out down the A4, snapped the blue sky over the Suspension Bridge, and took care not to get run over by a steam train. And then, of course, there was Me Me, at the halfway point, who’s very affectionate, especially when you’ve got a tin of food in your hand…

In the end, it was a 9K jog. It would’ve been 10K, but I stopped in a supermarket near home on the way back, so I walked the last kilometre weighed down with shopping 🙂

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Getting Longer

Carrying on with the training regime for the Bristol Half, I nipped out this morning for my first 10K jog for a while.

Apart from the humidity and the occasional overly-muddy section of towpath (yes, surprisingly, it’s been raining in England again recently…) it went well.

I was taking it easy. I stopped for a breather halfway up the hill, and to snap a couple of photos, including one of a bloody great yacht about to sail through Junction Lock at high tide, so I’m not too unhappy with an hour and a half.

I’ll leave you with a snap of Hotwells from my warm-up walk 🙂

Zigsandzags