After a long time training without much focus and a short run in with plantar fasciitis in January, I’ve felt like my running has gone backwards recently with some hard efforts for less than dazzling parkrun times.
So, time to try something different, and, for the last few weekends I’ve been doing a long, slow run based on MAFF heart rate training. It’s a rather unscientific basis, as I haven’t managed to get my heart rate monitor working, so I’ve been running as slow as I felt I could, and definitely at a pace at which I could hold a conversation.
I hadn’t run more than 10k since last August, and only ran a few 10ks since then, so when my PT suggested I should do a slow 12k, I was a bit unsure. But off I trotted, finding the pace hideously slow at first, and then willing myself on through the last couple of kilometres on that first run.
I stopped and walked a couple of times when I felt in danger of trying to push too hard, and was, in truth, very grateful to get to the end. But there it was, my longest run since 2012, just by going slowly.
The second weekend, it was a little easier and I didn’t have to stop and walk. And last Sunday, as I stepped out under blue skies and sunshine, it was positively enjoyable. Easy pace, no stress from the watch, the chance to say good morning to every runner who passed me by. People out and about with dogs and kids, walking along beside the coast, feeling that maybe, just maybe, spring is round the corner.
I still felt strong as I approached the final kilometres, so I carried on a little further than planned. Just another 500m I thought. And then I decided to treat myself to a lap of my beach. I eventually finished on 13.5k, feeling like I could have gone on.
The long slow run has been a great pick me up. Just stripping things back, giving myself time to think, feeling the sun on my face and enjoying the freedom of running along my beautiful spot of coastline.