Better, slowly.

So in my last blog post I said that I would run four times a week, a minimum of 5k each time, I have, so far, been able to do this and do so without too much of a strain on my work / life balance, so for now, this seems to be ok

Screenshot 2020 11 17 at 09 32 25

In the picture you can see my daily Running Stress Score as created by Stryd, you can see the consecutive days of running then the car crash(!) and the beginnings of my four runs a week. Clearly October was not a great month for my running!

Todays run was a nice simple power zone 2, 5k run, I’m quite enjoying running without any stress of actually following a training plan, I know that is to come, but for now, thesis quite nice. I have an 80/20 Power running plan set up in my Training Peaks account which kicks in mid February, so that should see me ready for the Ultra next year. Right now, the right thing is  just to enjoy running.

Back to todays run! As I say, a simple zone 2 run, which means a really low pace, conversational pace really and sometimes even slower when going up any hills because a hill increases the power requirement for a given pace obviously. It was running mostly in the dark which I love almost as much as running in the rain (dark and rainy mornings are the best!), slightly cold but I’m not yet in my winter gear, looking forward to that (ummm no!). I managed to keep 71% of my run in zone 2, which is pretty good, but I need to focus a bit more and stay in that zone 2, I tend to speed up towards the end because I want it over, as you can see below (orange line power, blue line pace).

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The route I run is fairly uninspiring, although I guess many would love it, I run from Aston down to Cote, out towards Shifford a bit and then back. I have been running this route mostly because it has the quietest roads from a traffic perspective but also, it is easy as I just go from my doorstep rather than having to drive to a starting point.

One of the benefits of the route are the locals in Cote, there is in particular, one older gentleman who is nearly always out and has a chatter, really lovely chap, who I suspect might actually be lonely, so it’s nice to have a chatter with him in the mornings. I think he will get a Christmas hamper as a surprise! Of course another benefit is the wildlife, I have seen some really beautiful owls and other birds of prey, along with small deer.

I’m sat here now writing this and can still feel the fact I ran this morning, some 14 hours ago, its good to know that even a gentle run has an impact on the body in some way!

While I write this I am also thinking about work and the impact that has on my running and home life as the hours I work or spend with family blur into each other. I think that the changes that lockdown (and now LD2!) have brought are not necessarily healthy, but are rapidly becoming the new normal for so many people, in particular knowledge workers. I for one, spend far more hours in front of my screen sat at a desk than I have ever done. While I reflect upon this and the the results of my woeful training this year, I can’t help to wonder if the two are linked, it’s definitely an input to reduced motivation, of that I’m certain. I guess if the vaccines that are being spoken about now really bear fruit then maybe by this time next year I might be in a position to answer that!


Ok, going to drop off now, will catch up again soon.



Slow progress

Some time ago I posted, saying that I had been struggling for a while with motivation, well, it seems I’m back there again! 


Work is busy, lockdown is back, motivation is gone! I went through a phase of running an easy 5k every day and that was fine, if not boring but I at least feel like I was getting out there. Then after about 31 days, I had a work commitment that I couldn’t avoid and which meant I just had no time to run and that seemed to break the spell. I tried restarting my training plan, and again, work got in the way. I have felt that maybe its time to stop running, but deeper inside I don’t want to, what I really want is to be somewhere beautiful and to run though woodlands, carefree, without the stresses that are everywhere. 


In 2018, we went on holiday to the USA and Canada, it was amazing. Two of the places I ran there were just awesome, one of them was a greenbelt within Toronto (Anawen Greenbelt), and although it was in Toronto, you could easily be mistaken for thinking you were in the middle of nowhere, I actually got lost there(!). It was so beautiful, and it’s one of the places I try to remember while running sometimes. There other place is Metzger lake in Wisconsin, this really was out in the middle of nowhere and was truly magical to go for a run, the complete silence (compared to city life) is incredible, but knowing that all around you is real wildlife!


Unfortunately, although I do live ‘in the country’ there are not many good routes to run around here, so I usually end up taking the same routes, which, ok, makes me a Strava Legend on two segments (yay, biggest loser lol!), doesn’t really inspire me. I sometimes consider driving somewhere to run but my time is so limited usually that I don’t do it. 


Maybe I’m just whingeing here though? Yeah, maybe. Trouble is, it affects me so I need to find the way around it and put ‘running’ back where I need it, which is a good place, rather than the chore it has started to feel. To do that, I need to figure out why I feel like that and the location thing is the closest I can come up with right now, I guess that and the fact I seem to be getting slower and slower! 


Feeling demotivated by getting slower is odd though, because I’m doing that on purpose, with the logic being that if you train to run slower, you can run further, just, its not yet working for me because I’m not…  and maybe that’s the reality of the demotivation, or it’s a combination of this with everything else, I mean, its not exactly been a fantastic year has it? Trouble is, next year doesn’t really hold much promise right now either, so I need to get on with things.


So here’s my plan.


I am going to start running slow 5k’s again to build the habit again, plan to run 4 days a week.

Do that until the New Year, allow myself some time over Christmas and New Year to enjoy family, then after my birthday in mid February start my ultra training again.

I’m putting it here so that those of you who follow me on Strava will know, it will help me to know that you know!


No more whingeing. Get it done.