The Scribbler

8 August 2010

Kit test

Filed under: Great North Run,run,training — The Scribbler @ 16:14
Running vest

What I'll be wearing all the way from Newcastle to South Shields

I gave my race gear its first run out today and I’m pleased to report there were no issues with my running vest. No chafing, no irritations – just a slight feeling of self-consciousness, having my name emblazoned on my front  But it’s for a good cause and means a lot to me.

I’m really feeling the cumulative effects of training this week, building up the runs to my long one at the weekend. My PT session on Thursday morning really worked my legs hard. Simple exercises this week, but lots of reps and some that had my legs burning. By the evening I was stretching in front of the TV, in a bid to get some of the tightness from my glutes.

So Friday morning’s 12k run was a bit of a killer. Nothing ‘hurt’ as in ‘ouch, I’m injured and in pain’, but certain areas were definitely letting me know they had been working hard and what was I doing making them run. Knowing it was likely to be a toughie, I took my iPod and treated myself to some music, choosing an old playlist that I used to use when running.

That really hit the spot, keeping me mainly distracted from how I felt and even putting a smile on my face and a sprint in my pace in a couple of places.  It was a lovely morning to be up and out running. And the satisfaction I feel getting into work, knowing I’ve already run 7+ miles is well worth the slightly zoned out feeling, generally cured by hot chocolate and a bagel.

So you would have thought I would have been glad of a rest on Saturday, wouldn’t you? But I was in a really irritating mood. Everything was irksome. I went out and everyone was annoying me. It was too noisy. I came home and it was too quiet. I thought I should get something to eat because that might make me less irritable, but I wasn’t hungry and didn’t know what I wanted… Honestly, it’s a good job I was on my own as I would have driven anyone else to distraction. As it was, I only had myself to annoy.

So I decided to go for a swim, to shake off the tightness in the tops of my legs and see if the water would help relax me. I left my watch at home deliberately and even tried a couple of lengths without my hat and goggles, but I’ve got too used to them to ditch them now. I just swam a good few lengths of front crawl, not counting, stopping when I felt like it. All in all I was probably in the pool for about 30 mins and it did the trick.

And so to Sunday’s long run. I’ve been going out a little later each week, trying to run at around race time, trying to get used to running when it’s that bit warmer. Today I headed out on my new route, taking in a fair chunk of nice flat, wide trails.

It was a good choice as it was warm and sultry and the trees provided some much needed shade. But even so, away from the coast the air was still and humid and I found myself wiping sweat from my eyes at regular intervals.

I was trying to keep to 9.5 min miles, after the success of last week’s longer run at a slower pace. But I found it really hard. My legs felt heavy and the slightly slower pace made it feel like I was plodding wearily and heavily. But I kept moving and once on the trails it was easier to keep the pace conservative.

It was lovely to see so many cyclists, dog walkers and other runners out on the trails. I passed a family with three gorgeous black labradors, all with red collars and and a dad and his little girl out for a cycle ride.

I’d been intending to try out a bit of a loop, but I missed my turning and when the Garmin beeped for the halfway point, I decided just to turn back and retrace my steps. It was nice to be out and running and free to think my own thoughts, but I was definitley not feeling as fresh and energised as last week’s long run, so there would be no extra mileage today.

Once back out onto the pavements along the coast, I knew I’d have no problem completing the distance and I allowed myself to pick up the pace a little with a mile and a half to go, to get the adrenaline buzz of a faster run. And after I had to speed up to get past a collection of parents and kids pootling on their bikes, I kept it going for a sprint finish and another 9.5 miles in the bag.

I’m feeling the effects with a few aches and niggles now, but they’re the kind that I’ll sleep and rest away. And I’m taking a lot of positives from a tough week’s training. If I can run 7.5 miles on a Friday on tired legs and another 9.5 on Sunday on slightly less tired ones, then come race day I should be flying on fresh ones.

Someone said that I’d become a lot stronger runner recently. I think they’re right. I certainly feel it both physically and mentally. And a lot of that’s come down to keeping things simple, relaxing and not trying too much all the time. So that’s my aim, to continue improving little by little and to save my best for race day. Six weeks and counting.

Stats and stuff:
9.5 miles/ 15.29 km in 1hr 29.08
mile splits:
1. 09.16
2. 09.18
3. 09.53
4. 09.31
5. 09.24
6. 09.21
7. 09.35
8. 09.28
9. 09.07
10. 04.09 (800m)

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