Back in October, I set out several resolutions to try to follow for the last quarter of the year. One of them was to be running 50 kilometres per week by the end of 2013.
Last week I ran 4.68 kilometres. That’s not generally known as having a good base of aerobic fitness. Since this was the last full week before 2014, I had to roll up my sleeves and get to work.
If I ran wearing clothes with sleeves, that is.
On Monday, I ran six and a quarter kilometres, in just over 30 minutes. That was going a bit too hard: I started off gently, and then ran hard after ten minutes to see what would happen. It’s good to test yourself occasionally, but it’s better if you prepare for tests. Few people rock up to their final examinations trusting solely in divine inspiration.
On Tuesday, a little tired from Monday, I ran five and a quarter kilometres, also in just over 30 minutes.
On Wednesday, I should have gone for a run, but it was Christmas Day and instead I ate cinnamon rolls and opened presents.
That meant on Thursday, although I ran seven kilometres (in just under 42 minutes – pace was now declining after the previous days’ exertions (and too much Christmas rum)), I’d only run eighteen and a half kilometres, and I had three days left. I was going to have to step things up a bit.
On Friday, I ran eight. I’d hoped to run ten, but I was feeling tired and incapable. Now I had two days left, and 24.5 kilometres left.
Last night I went out hard, after failing to get out of bed in the morning. This was one of those nasty, headbanging lurches around the bay: back after an hour, tired and hungry, 11.5 kilometres down. 13 to go.
As a rule of thumb, the longest run you do in a week shouldn’t be more than 20% of your total mileage. This is partly to stop you thinking you can compensate for not running much in the week by doing a twenty mile run on Sunday morning, and then wondering why your knees have stopped working. If I’d done about 6.5 km every day (just north of four miles, so not really that much) then by Sunday I would have had 11km to do, a little more than 20% of 50, but not insurmountable. But taking a day off for Christmas was a real crimp in my training.
This morning, I got out of bed and went for a run. It was a real trudge; my legs were incredibly sluggish from last night. Going for a hard run and then staying up and watching Top Gun instead of getting a proper night’s sleep is not an advisable way to recover. 7.5 kilometres was all I could manage. I went home, napped, had some breakfast, rued my inability to train in a steady fashion.
In the afternoon, we went over to the Botanic Gardens again, as we did a week or so ago. That time we were driven back by torrential rain; this time we took umbrellas, strengthened our spirit by eating lunch at Triple O’s first, and then it didn’t rain anyway. Instead, we got to see a (slightly mangy looking) black swan, before going to the Children’s Gardens, where Felicity tried to eat things that she really shouldn’t.
I guess we should have realised that once we started feeding her things like sweet potato and banana, rather than just breast milk, she might conclude that all vegetation was fair game. But I think we managed to keep her from swallowing anything.
After the Gardens, we went for ice-cream, then grocery shopping, then back home again, with Felicity attached to me for at least some of this time, along with my ever-so-heavy camera and some lenses. I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing out this wasn’t good rest and recuperation. And I was still 4.5 km down on target.
So when we got home, I put it off as long as I could, but by 6pm I was out running again. My GPS didn’t believe I could be this dumb. Well, it wasn’t even really running at this point, just trudging again at a kilometre every 6 minutes or so. Gradually my heart came round to it, and the GPS acquiesced, rather than telling me I’d been running in place for ten minutes, and I got back half an hour later, 4.8 km done. Or rather, over 50 kilometres run this week.
This has been a rather stupid way to go about things, and I realise I should be training in a more orderly fashion. Next week I’ll be trying to do 50 km again, but in a more sensible way. That means running a regular amount every morning (about 4 miles should do) and then one long run at the weekend, and maybe one day of running hard. I’ve got a whole toolbox of different ways to measure performance and effort – the important thing is probably not to go too crazy running hard, until I’ve got my base strength and endurance back up to scratch again. I’m hoping to do a marathon in 2014, after taking 2013 off to concentrate on early childhood development. That’s not going to happen if I do myself a mischief and can’t run for half of January because I’ve been over enthusiastic.