This week is lockdown week number 'who even knows anymore' and also another Bank Holiday weekend - really another one!? Perhaps more importantly, this week has also been Mental Health Awareness Week, which considering what collectively we have all been through in recent times, is probably more appropriate than ever. My work created a week long feature of articles and support, ending with final tips from our own members of staff on how we have been maintaining our mental well-being during lockdown. It did not take me long to think of mine, aside from being able to keep working (even if working from home drives me mad some days!) it has been running, and my friends and family who have helped me cope with the challenges presented. Running has always been key for my mental health, but perhaps more than ever it has mattered so much these last weeks in giving me freedom, a chance to feel a small sense of normality and an essence of control, and to simply feel like me.
MONDAY: exercise classes with Run Your Marks, who somehow read my mind and incorporated some upper body exercises, which hurt but felt great at the same time!
TUESDAY: the weather started to warm up today, but getting out fairly early meant I was able to enjoy a steady 6 miles mainly at sub 8 min/mile pace. My 'normal' work schedule would see me setting off to run between 5:30-6am in the morning, but during lockdown it has been more like 7:30-8am - which will have to change as the temperature ramps up!
WEDNESDAY: today the temperature did indeed ramp up, and it was already nearly 18 degrees as I headed out to run. I knew I needed to keep this an easy run as I am not acclimatised to pushing myself in the heat yet. I ran a 10k at about 8:30 min/mile pace, but it felt a tougher; I was just so warm! I will adapt better, but these first runs are always a bit of a shock to the system, especially when the temperature suddenly changes.
THURSDAY: I made myself get out the door earlier today as I wanted to do some intervals and it was still fairly warm. I opted for 10 x 200m reps with a minute recovery in between, and whilst it did not feel like I was flying along as sometimes it can during speed work, I actually logged some good times, including a couple of sub 6 min/mile paced reps.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: this weekend was windy - again. In fact it was very windy today, perhaps not the same gale force levels we saw back in February, but enough to not even make me consider attempting to push myself for an all out 5k along an exposed river. Instead my 'not Lincoln parkrun' was my city centre hillier route which I managed an unofficial course PB on. Not a bad alternative!
SUNDAY: when I woke this morning I was pleased the wind had died down a little, although it was definitely still present. I tried to plan a half marathon route which would not be too exposed, but in reality I knew that it was still going to be windy wherever I ran! In fact it seemed like I had a headwind for virtually 10 miles of my run, with the final 3 offering some shelter/tailwind. Why is it always the case that headwind seems far more apparent!? Despite the conditions I actually ran fairly well; I did not focus on my pace, but after finishing was pleased to see it had ranged between either just under or just over 8:20 min/mile.
Next week I have a couple of arranged socially distanced runs with friends which I am looking forward too - actual plans during 2020! Combining running and friendship I know will be excellent for my mental health too.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...