Last week I said I wanted this week to be an easier ride for myself. In order for this to happen I realised I needed to consciously act, it would not just happen. 'Be kind to yourself Alice' my friend said to me - the advice seemed to resonate somehow. This week I have tried to assume a more relaxed approach to running; training is what drives me and gives me the real focus and thirst for life, but at the same time running plays a huge part in my overall wellbeing, so just because I am not following a plan or have that structured approach to running, doesn't mean I should forget to enjoy it.
MONDAY: Body Pump class
TUESDAY: due to work commitments my only option to run today was early morning. I find it a massive struggle getting out early now the mornings are so dark - for me it is much easier in the summer! What makes it harder still is that the light on my Garmin appears to be broken, so I am pretty much running blind unless I can glimpse the screen in a streetlight. Not being able to monitor my distance or pace actually helped me today though, as I decided to just keep the run relaxed and count it as a victory I actually got out the door instead of rolling over in bed. I enjoyed a 4.5 mile loop in a comfortable average pace of 8.40 min/mile.
WEDNESDAY: after yesterday's easier run I tried to quicken the pace a bit today. I put no expectations of what pace I should be hitting, but I just wanted the run to feel a bit more demanding. It took a good mile for my legs to warm up, but then I seemed to find a rhythm that has been missing on the vast majority of my runs since my marathon a few weeks ago. I slotted into roughly 8 min/mile pace and whilst it pushed me a little, it felt sustainable for the 6 miles. Body Pump class afterwards.
THURSDAY: after virtually four months away from Body Attack classes due to my marathon training commitments, today I made a return. I love the class, and its something I actually look forward to when not in some form of training, so this felt like an apt week to make a comeback. Going to the class also helps me keep my mileage down, whilst still giving me my endorphin hit. The plyometric madness of Body Attack battered my glutes and calves - running would probably have been kinder to my body! - but I left a happy, sweaty mess.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: last week I surpassed my own expectations in my first parkrun following a few weeks break; my approach seems to be to push myself as hard as possible and just see if my body can cope! With this in mind I flew off from the start again, my first and second laps logging good splits and my legs seeming relatively happy. The third and final lap was more of a fight though, that sharpness I feel I need to run a strong 5k seemed like it was still not quite able to last. However, again I shocked myself and managed to improve on last week, running a 21.11 time - which is also my second quickest 5k to date. As I scanned my barcode in the volunteer commented that I looked so calm when I was running, I smiled and thanked her - maybe my more relaxed approach to this week is really paying off!
SUNDAY: despite currently not training for anything, I still want to get a longer run in once a week just to keep my legs ticking over. Today I did not aim for any sort of pace whatsoever though and just enjoyed the fact I was reunited with my friend and run buddy for a Sunday morning run for the first time in a few weeks. My legs were not perfect by any means and seemed a bit sore and tight from the week's activities, but this meant I was even less concerned with pace and let 12 miles instead be donated by catching up and conversation, rather than splits. Perhaps I can get used to this!
In other news this week, I arrived home on Monday to an unexpected parcel. Inside was a glass award from the Lincoln Half Marathon for finishing third place in my age category. It overwhelmed me a little; I had no idea I had finished third, let alone that this would see me get an award, and gaining some extra recognition from a hometown race made me feel real happiness and pride.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...