Looking back through the history of this silly little blog, a couple of things are abundantly clear. Firstly, I mention zombies a lot more than is normal for a supposedly full-grown man. Secondly, it’s really quite sickening just how many of the posts are on the theme of “oh-woe-is-me-I’m-in-a-bit-of-a-slump”.
The format of these is always the same. A bit of a grumble, some stuff about eating all the cheese and then a defiant paragraph on how I’m going to rebuild myself. A few weeks later, I’ll churn out a post in which I shout “raaaah! I’m a runner again! This is brilliant!”
And so it continues. Slump and high, slump and high, slump and high. Except something happened a couple of months back and I seem to be stuck with more slump than I know what to do with. I wish I knew what it was that derailed me, but it’s a mystery. There was no injury, no life-event, no shadowy figure who kept sneaking into my house and stealing my running shoes. Although the last one would have been awesome; I’ve always wanted a nemesis, and Barrington J Shoesnatcher would fit the bill quite nicely.
It was as though one day I was a runner, and then the next day I wasn’t.
The last run I really truly enjoyed was the Run Bedford 10k back in June. It was a spur-of-the-moment entry and my training had been a bit haphazard, even by my usual sorry standards. Still, I managed to score a lovely PB and I couldn’t have been happier. After coming within a whisker of achieving a long coveted sub-50, I felt like this race marked a much-needed boost for my running and left me with something fresh to focus on. I took it easy for a few days after the race to allow myself to recover properly, but I remained hungry, relishing the thought of getting back into training and pushing on to the next level.
Well I’m not entirely sure what happened, and I haven’t entirely ruled out alien abduction (although I can’t say I feel any more probed than usual), but running is hard now. I mean, it’s always been hard because… well, just look at me, but that was usually eclipsed by a sense of elation and achievement, and a general feeling that I was making progress.
Anyway, that’s enough wallowing. The purpose of this post was to ask you lovely readers for help (although, if you’re reading this blog of your own free will rather than as part of a dastardly clockwork-orange-style rehabilitation programme in a Turkish prison, then you’re clearly quite silly and I may regret asking).
Here are the nuts and bolts of it…
- I’ve put on a bit of weight, and am currently around 8kg north of where I want to be. Carrying this extra weight makes it harder to run. The fact that it’s harder to run means that I’m running less. The fact that I’m running less means that I’m not shifting the weight. The fact that I’m not shifting the weight means that it’s harder to run etc etc etc.
- I’m trying to be sensible about what I eat. I can do sensible, right?
- Before, I was running 3-4 times a week. Long runs were anywhere between 8-12 miles at a pace somewhere in the region of 10 min/mile. Tempo runs were 3-4 miles at just over 8 min/mile. I could comfortably cruise at 9 min/mile.
- Now, I’m running 2-3 times a week. Any distance greater than five miles feels like a marathon. My standard pace lurks around 10:30 min/mile. I tried to run a mile on the treadmill at 8 min/mile, and after five minutes I felt like I’d been molested by an angry gorilla.
- I’m trying to mix things up a bit in order to build up a base fitness again. Aiming for 30 minutes a day when I can, including running, other cardio, free weights, a bit of stretching.
- I keep thinking back to running half marathons at a sub-9 min/mile pace. It makes me feel sad.
You lot are cleverer at this sort of thing than me. Let’s face it, My Uncle Trevor’s cockatiel is cleverer at this sort thing than me, and he was stuffed in 19971.
So, I’d welcome any tips on getting back some semblance of runningness. Should I keep things slow until I’ve built up the pace? Is High Intensity Interval Training the answer?2 Should I just give up running and become a crab farmer? Do I need to be drinking Aloe Vera stuff like a fucking idiot?
Help. Just help.
1 The cockatiel, not Uncle Trevor.
2 according to the Internet, it is. In fact, according to the Internet, HIIT is the answer to everything, including world hunger, slow broadband and unruly cats.
BIT AT THE END
Hello nice blog-reading person. That’s a very smart cardigan you’re wearing. Makes you look like a winner. Anyway, cards on the table, there are actually only two people who read this blog: You, and Jemimamima Horkington-Hewittt, heiress to the Horkington-Hewittt Landmine and Novelty Pencil Sharpener Company. It’d be great if you could spread the word and share some links to your favourite posts on the Facebookses or the Twitters. Or maybe you could scrawl “born to plod = ace” on a bedsheet and tie it to a busy roundabout. The Internet has promised me a basket of kittens for every million hits I get, and I’m hoping to get enough to start a farm. Ta