It’s been a while since I last managed a post - I’ve been just running basically! Putting in lots of long but repetitive miles - it’s all very necessary but does not an entertaining blog make…
The long middle stretch
Training has been going well for this month-long block. I have covered 175 miles in the past 4 weeks, probably one of my best sets of runs ever, especially considering that not too many of these were low-intensity runs. There have been lots of positives to take:
PBs over 10 miles and Half Marathon in training; the average pace of my threshold (medium-high intensity runs) has picked up by about 10 seconds a mile; I managed to get round 9 miles in an hour for the first time (one of the goals I had set myself to achieve before Keswick).
This week, though, I haven’t really been ‘feeling it’. I’ve felt a bit sluggish and work commitments and general lethargy led to me ducking out of a run for the first time in about 4 weeks on Thursday night. I managed to force myself out of the door in the pouring rain this morning, though, and put in a decent 45 minute session including some gentle rolling hills and I feel a bit better for that, so hopefully I’ll be back on it this week.
I have a trip to Keswick ahead of me this week, including a gentle run around some parts of the 50k course, so that’s when I’ll know more about what I can manage on race day. Who knows what I will find when I get out there? I’m certainly fitter than I ever have been before, but haven’t run longer distances or any significant hills at all since mid-February. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised!! I’m certainly looking forward to a bit of a change of scene and getting out for some runs worth writing about!
New arrivals corner
Some of the sponsors of the Keswick Mountain Festival have been kind enough to send me some equipment to try out over the past week or so! I’ve taken them out for a run or two and here’s what I think so far…first arrival was a tiny little package, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and weighing next to nothing; I was incredibly surprised to find that it was a waterproof jacket - the Vapourlight by Berghaus. It’s unbelievably thin; to begin with I was wary of ripping it but it’s actually plenty tough enough and has been up to a couple of 90-120 minute runs out in the Wolds. Living out here, rainproof jackets aren’t something I’ve ever really bothered with before - with there being no major hills anywhere nearby, conditions don’t tend to get too rough and I’m unlikely to get stuck anywhere isolated that would leave me in trouble. When I was running at the steady pace that I think I will be able to manage at Keswick, it was ideal, whereas when I was running at a higher pace yesterday in gentle drizzle I did feel like I was overheating a little. Possibly a rookie error on my part! Whatever, this piece of kit will definitely be in my pack when I’m on the start line - it packs down so small that it’ll be no trouble fitting it in!
On Friday night when I was watching ‘Pointless’ and contemplating 2 weeks off teaching for the Easter holidays, there was a knock on the door and a cheerful man gave me another box. In it was a brand new Garmin Fenix 3 multisport watch! I am a fairly avid Garmin fan, running every mile so far this year with my Forerunner 620, so was interested to see what a multisport watch would offer that I can’t already get from my dedicated running gadget. First impressions were “Wow, it’s massive!” and “It doesn’t have a touchscreen!”, both, I suppose because it is likely to get a bit more hammer than a device just used for road running, but the test would come from everyday usage. There are a few settings that I haven’t quite got the hang of yet (like, how to change your activity displays to show just time and heart rate when running), but I discovered last night that with the Garmin Connect smartphone app, the watch takes on a whole extra dimension. For one thing, new watch faces can be downloaded to alter the appearance of the watch, a feature that really tickled me; but more than that, when paired with an iPhone (and, I presume other smartphones too), it functions as a smart watch! It has been tracking my movements and syncing them to Apple’s ‘Health’ app; it can receive messages through Whatsapp and probably a host of other things that I haven’t discovered yet. It also, when I was queueing up to buy a footlong sub following my 6.8 miles this morning, buzzed. I looked down to see the message ‘Move!’. Sound advice indeed!!! I look forward to exploring the features on this device further!
Thanks to Berghaus and Garmin for sending me these bits of kit!