A new C word

2 Oct

I don’t know if it was all the coffee or the nice weather or the thought of going back to work, but a strange thing happened this week.  A new c word came into my life.  One I don’t like to engage with too often as it seems a bit extreme and can make you a social pariah.  But I hope I can put it in context and you won’t think less of me for it.  Brace yourselves…. I was hit with a blast of commonsense.   I know.  Shocking.

I’ll try to explain.  Around this time last year I ran the Dunstable Downs 5K.  Whilst the distance isn’t too difficult, the terrain was like I’d never run before.  I’d always run on roads so hitting trails was a revelation.  Despite, or maybe because of, the need to concentrate fully on not falling down a rabbit hole (though isn’t that how Alice in Wonderland started, so actually that might not be a bad thing) or sliding down a hill on my arse or sicking up my lungs on the uphill bits – I enjoyed it.   So much so, that I set myself a target that by the following year I’d do the 10k.  That time is now almost here.  I applied a few months ago to make sure I’d get my place (and my TNF t-shirt).  Training was going well, I was up to running 10k on the road, it was just a matter of increasing distance, building speed, getting some off-road practice in.  No problem.

Now you know how people talk about ‘fly in the ointment’ – for fly read ‘surgery’ and for ointment read ‘addidas mi-coach training plan’.  What should have been keyhole surgery ended up as full cut and advice to take three months out of running.   That bit about commonsense not being something I like to subscribe to, kinda showed itself by me deciding that I could still run.  So over the last few weeks I’ve built up to a level where this week I managed a 5mile run, including some hills, around the streets of Clapham/Oakley.  I felt strong and convinced myself that with two weeks to go I could easily get that extra mile and manage the trails.  Afterall, trails aren’t that much different to nice concrete roads.  Oh, hang on, yeah, they are.  A lot different.   But still I was convinced I could do it.

Then a few things started to sink in this week.

I started to follow someone on Twitter who gave a great piece of advice about not trying to base your training on someone else’s and that although there are basic principles to follow, every training programme has to suit your own body and that everyone is going to be different.  Too often I’ll look at what other people are achieving and think that I ought to be doing the same, be it the same speeds, distances, build up or numbers of times out training.  But I’ve no idea what they’ve done to achieve that or what their body is doing – or even if they are risking injury to achieve their programme.  All I do know is my own.  So do I really want to risk a DNF (or worse, another injury that puts me out for months) on a 10k when I could more than likely achieve the 5k?  for the sake of a goal set a year ago when a lot has changed in that year and things have happened that I couldn’t predict?  So, no, I’m not going to do the 10k.  I’m going to switch to the 5k and be sensible.

Instead I’ve set some new targets.  And this is where common sense perhaps abandons.  A throwaway comment on someone’s facebook status and suddenly I’m thinking marathon.  I’ve done a half marathon before.  An awful long time ago when I was a good 2 and half stone lighter (at least!) and a good 20 years younger.  But what the hell, I reckon a bit of focus and a half marathon by April is very achievable.  So a full by November – Debbie, you’re on!!!   She’s talking NYC.  I was thinking Robin Hood or New Forest, but again, what the hell – I like her thinking better!!

So with this new commonsense approach, I decided to focus on my short term aim of Dunstable Downs 5k.  Which saw me dragging my sorry arse out of bed before 8am and running up and down the hill several times yesterday morning.  Ok – anyone who’d seen that probably wouldn’t have had ‘hmm, that person is imbued with a deal of commonsense’ as their first thought.  I did also think I ought to get a bit of practice in on grass, so tried where possible to run along the verges at the edge of people’s gardens.  I’d done this for most of my run, and I can only blame the early hour for not noticing until almost the end of the run that the opposite side of the road was all grass, a good 8 foot wide strip of it.   Maybe its because it was a new route, no hang on, I’ve run that road regularly up and down.  hmmm, I’ll go with I was focussing so much on my run that I didn’t see it.   But it does give me a new, easy to get to practice spot for a weekly or twice weekly 5k off non-road run.

http://www.adidas.com/com/micoach/WorkoutDetails.aspx?WID=b9818ef9-9dd7-4f64-a68b-1708bf37430f

As an addition to this mainly run based update – I will add that I wasn’t patting myself on the back quite so much at getting out and doing a 3miler up hills later that afternoon when following an off-road Segway session, courtesy of friends we then went mountain biking in Thetford Forest and got very, very lost.  What started as a gentle bimble around ended up with us doing about 25 miles up hills, through sand, along gravel.  Put it this way – it weren’t easy!  with an added sprint to get back to the bike hire place when we finally worked out where we were as it was due to close in 10 minutes!  All I can say is – if you go to Thetford, the Segways are awesome!  they will merit their own separate update very soon. But if you mountain bike – there are two different marker posts that use the same colours but don’t link to each other and the trees are numbered to correlate to squares on maps (thank you to the man who had broken down who told us that one with a look of ‘grockles, why are you even without trainer wheels’).

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