It is hard to describe how life is at the moment; some days I almost surprise myself by getting through the day like this has always been my life, and it is quite normal to only speak to people via a 'Zoom' video call. Other days I wake up and lie in bed and really struggle to want to get up and try tick off another day in this countdown with no fixed end point. This is where my running really helps me, and I have perhaps realised this more than ever across the past week.
When I have been lying in bed thinking 'do I really want to get up?' it is the desire to feel that rush from running which makes me throw back the covers and get my act together. When I arrive home after a run I feel far more equipped to face another day; mentally stronger, I have more energy and I feel more like myself. Running itself I therefore do not miss - I still have it and it is still something I love very much. I have also reflected this week that it must be the first time in perhaps 5 years that I have not been training for an event or having a few weeks of recovery before another training block starts. I am enjoying this freedom and perhaps it is what I actually needed (shame it took a worldwide pandemic to make me realise it!) What I do miss from my running though is being able to share it physically with others, there is something so powerful about that and I know as soon as we get back to being able to go to parkrun, run with friends, and take part in Run Club sessions my passion for running with be heightened even more. Races may be further away on this unknown timeline - but I can wait for these.
MONDAY: home based exercise classes with a big focus on working the glute muscles (it hurt!)
TUESDAY: when I woke I was already sore from last night's online classes, so I laced up my trainers with no pressure other than logging some easy miles. I started steadily, my sore muscles taking a couple of miles to warm up, but then I hit a real rhythm and found myself picking up the pace naturally. A few glances at my watch told me I was heading towards logging a near perfect progression run, and that then became my focus. I logged six miles starting at 8:33 min/min and ending at 7:32 min/mile. It felt effortless, whereas if I had gone out with that intention in my mind I think it may have been a different story!
WEDNESDAY: after yesterday's run turned into a bit more of a harder effort than I had planned, I really tried to keep my pace comfortable on this morning's loop - I do not want to knacker myself out, especially when running is so important to me at the moment. I enjoyed a nice 7 mile meander around the historic quarter of Lincoln; it is so quite and peaceful it really is the time to appreciate the beauty of my city.
THURSDAY: my Run Cub continues to support our members by posting weekly run sessions which we can complete and share our results/how it felt with each other. This week was a tough little interval session of 10 x 400m reps. The cycle path along the river near me is perfect for this type of run, and I can run a mile exactly to the start of the long straight section as a warm up and cool down - it is almost as good as the track (almost!) Speedwork felt a bit more challenging this week, but looking at my splits afterwards they probably told me why; I logged some really quick times on the efforts and with very little variation throughout the 10 reps. I was pleased, and the feeling after a hard run is still very rewarding.
FRIDAY: Rest Day - my mood on rest day is noticeably very different at the moment, I wish there was something that gave me the boost that running does but which also gave my body a chance to recover!
SATURDAY: after being nominated by a few people in the 5k challenge raising money for the NHS, I decided I had better give my 5k 'not Lincoln parkrun' a good shot today. I took a mile to get up to speed, but my final two splits were much more akin to my most recent parkrun times, logging at 7.02 min/mile and a pretty rapid final mile of 6.38 min/mile, leaving me with an overall time of 21:45 - my best since lockdown started.
SUNDAY: a half marathon seems to have become my staple Sunday distance since lockdown started; I like the challenge of plotting a different route each week around Lincoln! I have no time pressure on these runs and just enjoy being out and actually seeing different scenery other than my house! I counted how many other runners I saw this week - 30 - and it also made me feel less alone. The 'no pressure' approach seems to be working as I ran a 8.23 min/mile average comfortably and finished in 1:49:49. A few years back this was my half marathon PB, and now I can run this for 'fun' - I guess personally it was a bit of a sign of how I have developed over the years and a bit of a reflection of where running has taken my body and my confidence. It really is so powerful.
Three further weeks of lockdown were announced this week, which I do not think came as a shock to anyone really. I do not feel too daunted by the days ahead, I know they will not all be easy, but I also know I will get through it. What the long term future looks like is perhaps more scary for me right now; I do not want this way of life to become the 'new normal' and I personally worry about my own employment, which I realise will be a concern held by so many. We can only control what we can at the moment though - and I know being able to run will continue to be a crucial part of my coping mechanism.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...