A couple of months ago, I was fed up with running.
Well, I wasn’t really; running is, was and always will be ace. I just wished I was one of those people who could do it without looking like a shaved orang-utan who’s been overdoing the cough medicine. I was getting slower, the runs felt harder and my tummy was never ever not full of cheese.
So I wrote a blog post about it (here y’go). More importantly, I wrote a blog post about it and vowed to get off my arse and do something about this cycle of clumsy lethargy and shortbread.
That was two months ago. Have I made any progress, or did I quickly fall back into the slump and resign myself to plodding along like I’d been bitten by a radioactive dessert trolley?
Don’t get me wrong: cake is still great, but I’m happy to report that things have been going really well.
Firstly, the food. I’ve finally started using an app called My Fitness Pal again, rather than just telling myself that I will. More importantly, I’ve been brutally honest with it. From past experience, it’s amazing just how easy it is to convince the brain that, if I just “forget” to tell the app that I’ve scoffed an entire cow pie, then it won’t really count and my body won’t absorb any calories from it. I haven’t been dieting, just cutting out the stupid stuff, like the 11pm fridge raids. At first, I found the lure of late night savouries hard to ignore, but I just kept reminding myself that I’m not actually hungry and I already know what cheese tastes like. You might say that imagination is no substitute for actual sensation; but the imagination in question is nearly four decades old and has eaten a lot of source material, so ruddy well bring it on, cheese! (And that’s swearing!)
As for the running itself, I spent the first part of the year just building up a bit of volume. I ditched the tempo runs, the intervals and the speedwork, and instead focussed on simply stuffing some miles into my legs with a load of steady-paced 5-6 milers and the occasional LSR. Then, around a month ago, I started to re-introduce a bit of structure. Now I’m banging out a couple of LSR’s a week (around 9-10 miles apiece) along with a tempo run (which I still don’t fully understand) and a hill or intervals session (which makes me cry). Most of the runs are based around heart rate, and the required patience is already paying off. Pace and distance are going up, while my average HR is dropping. A couple of months ago I’d sworn off entering races, because it would just have meant demoralizing myself with results that weren’t even within yodelling distance of my PB. But now I’m eyeing up 5k and 10k races with the greedy hands-rubbing-together of a Scooby Doo villain who’s just about to inherit their great aunt’s haunted funfair.
There’s still a bit of a way to go, and it hasn’t all been easy, but I’m in a much happier place now. Hopefully by summer I’ll have nabbed a couple of PBs and will hopefully be able to take my shirt off without the postman trying to scratch his own eyeballs out again. That was just embarrassing for everyone involved.
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