Well, three weeks have gone by since my last post and I’m going to have to coin a new word to mean “blip, only longer”. I’ve been describing it as a hiatus. That doesn’t sound too serious, does it? Suffice to say, those three weeks went by in a bit of a blur, but with no running. I went swimming with a friend once, but exercise-wise the last three weeks were somewhat lacking.
Until this Monday, when I managed to get back on the horse (not literally, obviously; that would be a whole other sport). The single biggest factor in getting me back on my metaphorical horse was that my friend Louise ran 100 miles this weekend just gone. Here’s the event that she ran, and here’s a post about how she did. If she can get out of bed and run for 25 hours, it really does put 3 minutes into perspective.
I decided to press on and start Week Three of the programme (a few weeks late, but moving fast), although I kept in the back of my mind that I might need to repeat the week, as three weeks without running was bound to have a deleterious (I know, I’ve been mining the thesaurus) effect.
Monday’s run was difficult, probably the hardest to date. Not surprising when you consider the circumstances. Not only did it follow a three week plus break (given that it took me more than a week to do Week Two), but the jump from Week Two to Three seemed quite steep. Week Two runs involve 6 intervals of running for 1.5 minutes (with walking in between), whereas Week Three is running for 1.5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1.5 minutes and 3 minutes (with walking in between). I know it is the same number of minutes running, but 3 minutes all at once feels significantly more! The first 3 minute run I did involved a lot of mental narrative along the lines of “it must be 3 minutes by now, surely!”. But don’t get me wrong, it was still doable; I was just very pleased when the invisible lady said it was time to walk.
Knowing myself, as I do, it was quite important to run again on Tuesday. I know I’m supposed to leave rest days in between – and I will when I’m doing runs that are a bit longer – but it was important for me to go and run again to break any mounting belief that Monday’s run was too hard. Plus I was looking at the weather forecasts for the rest of the week, and it seemed a shame not to make the most of the dry bits before the heavens opened. Do you know, running for three minutes was easier on the second outing.
I decided to have a proper rest day on Wednesday and did absolutely nothing energetic at all. Yesterday, I thought I might try a bit of yoga and discovered that what I had thought was a bit of hand ache from too much time spent with puzzle books was actually a hand/wrist that could not support my weight in Downward Dog. So Thursday became a rest day as well.
I had planned to go for a run this morning, and that plan came and went, but I managed to persuade myself to run this afternoon. And so you find me, following my official first rainy run, feeling quite proud of completing Week Three. Hurrah!
So what have I learned?
- There are no rules. Just because you would like, in an ideal world, to run first thing in the morning, does not mean you are forbidden to run at other times of the day.
- You will feel better, after a run, than you did before it.
- The second time you run a distance/time, it will generally be easier than the first time.
- Running in the rain is not unpleasant, except for (as a glasses wearer) being unable to see much beyond general impressions as your glasses mist up/get drenched.
- While running with Toby is fun, running occasionally without him does allow for fewer distractions. Given that he hates the rain with a fiery passion, trying to take him with me today would have involved a degree of resistance training (i.e. pulling a dog along behind me while he tries his best to go home) that I didn’t fancy.
- Remember to turn your phone off silent, or you won’t hear the invisible lady tell you when to run and when to walk. Today, I didn’t notice that was the problem until the first 1.5 minute run was almost over (and I was still doing my warm-up run). My solution? Insert the missing 1.5 minute run into the 3 minute walk (so I did 3 minutes, 1.5 minutes, 1.5 minutes then 3 minutes, with less walking in between). Probably not the best solution, but I am quite pleased I could do it without problems. But next time I’ll check my phone volume first!
Now Week Four beckons. That’s running for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes and 5 minutes (with running in between). Strangely, I’m looking forward to it.