How is it going? Good, overall. For the first time in my life I am using the gym regularly and the treadmill particularly as I'm finding it really helps to keep me on pace with my speedwork. I have no access to a track and so tend to run my speedwork with my Garmin on the road but I can't help but feel it's not too accurate. The wind is often really strong here so I find my laps differ simply by virtue of whether I'm running with the wind in my face or behind me. Also I think I give myself permission to slow down sometimes which is much harder on the treadmill - I'd just fall off if I did that - so I have keep the pace going. I'm taking Ana Maria's advice and giving myself some leeway on the pacing but overall I'm pleased with the workouts I'm getting in.
Inspired by all those folks who come up with their own training schedules (I've never had the balls) I am starting to fiddle with the plan a bit - I feel I can, particularly as I'm "only" base building at the moment. So along with adapting the paces at times, I am taking some executive decisions. For example, the RLRF folks are pretty specific about the pace of each of the week's three runs. I think that's a good thing for the speed and tempo work but I'm beginning to rebel against having every long run paced. I'm all for marathon pace and half marathon pace workouts - sometimes - but sometimes I just want to run and not watch my Garmin. I like doing my long runs with a walk break - .05 of a mile - every mile and I like listening to all my podcasts and I like thinking things over. And when I'm breaking my neck to stay at pace I can't do these things. So I'm sorry guys - if this costs me minutes in the race, so be it. The journey really does matter at least as much as the destination and sometimes that journey needs to be a bit more leisurely.. (Having said that, I went out for 13M determined to ignore the instructed HMpace +30 seconds and averaged an 8:53 min/mile - probably not far off where they wanted me to be).
The cross training is GOOD. I am loving it. Who'd have ever thunk it? Not me but there you go - as they say round here "nowt so queer as folk" (they really do say that). Thursday was a gorgeous day and as soon as I woke up I knew I had to go out and bike into it. I biked 12M out to a friend's house on quiet country roads where I was passed by about 3 cars and 20 mamils (middle-aged men in lycra), had 2 coffees and a flapjack and a catchup in the lovely autumn sun, and then biked home again. Just wonderful. I pushed myself a bit but still only averaged 15 mph - there's some way to go. Swimming is going well as well - I've found a really nice swimming group and instructor and I find myself looking forward to the lessons. Sometimes it is nice when someone else cracks the whip and it's not ALL self-discipline. I also find it's extremely helpful to have another option at hand sometimes - my speed session was unsuccesful this week, abandoned halfway, as I was not feeling very well. I was tempted to have a go at it again today but was tired after yesterday's 13 miler and Thursday's bike ride and so I opted instead to swim 1000m. Nothing shocking but it pushed me, I pushed myself and I feel a lot better.
me at the end of my windy and wet 13 miler
Overall, this week, I feel like this program of running and swimming and biking is somehow more balanced for me. I feel less ground down than I have for a long time and the fact that there are only 3 fixed workouts a week somehow makes me feel under a lot less pressure.
And so and so and so... what's next for me? I realise I have raced very very little this year. In the runup to Boston that never was I only raced the Stamford 30K. I then ran the White Peak half with Adam and Drusy and all the other wonderful UK run net people. Over the summer all was quiet and now in autumn it has taken me a while to get back into it. But I'm beginning to think it's going to be fun to race again and so I'm putting some things on the horizon. Next week is the WWFOR and this year some the UK contingent are coming to our farm to race the Lincolnshire Lollop. For anyone who'd like to join us there to run a 5K, 10K, half marathon or an ultra (yes this is apparently happening for someone!) please get in touch and I will give you directions. You are very very welcome. Then on Sunday the 17th I have decided to give myself an early birthday present and race the Sheffield Salomon Turbo X. I've always wanted to race one of these muddy and challenging races, just because they seem like so much fun and without any pressure. I haven't managed to find someone to race with (volunteers? It's not too late - email me!) but if not, I'm going to do it by myself.
As far as all the stress I mentioned in my last email, it is all slowly ebbing away. I took Maritza's suggestion and dealt with my insurmountable list of posts in the google reader by marking them all as read and I'm starting again. Sorry if this means I haven't commented on all of your posts but at least I'm keeping up with them now. My kitchen work has ground to a halt this week - a plumbing situation - and will start up again next week. Nothing at all exciting to report basically, but that is a good thing. I'm brewing up plans for next year but am determined to get this post out so more on that next time. Time to catch up with everyone else..