I’ve been thinking that, in the same way that motorcycling seems a great thing to do all year round when you’re 20 but then falling off in the ice and snow loses appeal followed by the whole getting wet thing followed by the frustration at not being able to thrash it with abandon followed by the admission that yes, I do only go out when it’s pleasant enough to do so, my running is starting to do the same.
Having been soaked countless times and had my nipples bleed in my rain coats when I’ve plodded on regardless, this week I had enough.
A sunny day on Monday should have heralded a good run. It did, to be fair. I left site at 5.25 having had the sun go in at around 4.30 so it was warm (ish…not May warm, but better than January cold) and my mind’s eye had it as bright.
Which was wrong. Clearly. For at 1.75 miles it started spotting with rain. At 2 miles it was bucketing down. And I was on a new route along the tops of the hills towards Etchinghill which, to say the least, left me a touch exposed to the rain.
I enjoyed the run though, overall. But not enough that on Wednesday when it was tipping down all afternoon I could face an outing. So I didn’t. I got the rowing machine out and cross-trained. I hate the rowing machine. The resistance is great and the workout it gives my heart is superb, with variety given by a range of programmes to alter the resistance. But the calorie, distance, stroke rate and Watts (power produced) indicators are so inaccurate it simply demoralises. For example on Wednesday I targeted a varied programme of resistance with a 30 minute goal and 900 stroke aim. The stroke rate indicator hovered between 28 and 30 but I did 910 strokes in 28 minutes; the power reads 75 watts whether the resistance is at max or middling; Apparently I burned but 78 calories and my distance was a little over a mile. But my heart was spinning out of my chest at the same rate it would at 6.45/mile running. Bah.
But a good workout.
Which explains why, when the rain stopped on Thursday evening and I headed out at 8.30, I had so little energy that I barely plodded my way around 2.75 miles without collapsing with exhaustion. I guess it proves that mixing the training up provides much better overall fitness than focusing on one activity.
Which lead to the weekend and, again, my refusal to go out yesterday and get soaked and then take advantage of the dry evening to mow the lawn. Which meant that this morning dawning dry as it did, I headed out for 8 miles of fun.
A varied route was needed, so I opted for an out and back to the motorway on the back lanes. I fancied a loop but didn’t want to stretch my legs to 10 miles to find the best one in the direction I fancied and the route was interesting enough, being ignored since my marathon training two years ago, that it felt fresh in both directions.
The out leg was excellent. A crisis of confidence at 3 miles lead to a slow mile at the turnaround but a fresh stride was rediscovered as soon as a) I realised I’d been running into a headwind, b) I’d been going slightly uphill (only slightly mind…it’s all flatter than a pan type cake, really) and c) if I could ease 4 miles out that easily, I could simply do it again.
And I did. A few “If I walk from here it’ll take 45 minutes” calculations went on in my head, but they weren’t serious considerations, merely ticks to make sure I carried on and didn’t suffer a late lunch. In fact, the last mile was one of the freshest of the run and a fine way to finish an outing.
Next week I may well increase it to 9 miles. With a sprint session on Thursday and some hills on Tuesday. All in the dry.
And pigs might just, too.