This year marks the 6th year, pretty much, that I've run with any degree of seriousness. It's true, I've always run. It's been my touchstone, my stress relief, my therapy, my universal balm. But after university when I started work, I had to actively learn how to make time to run (answer: early in the morning, which is the only time I can be certain there is nothing else on my plate). I signed up for the first road race of my adult life and never looked back. I had to choose running, and I chose to run.
So what have I learned about myself since then?
- I spent much of my childhood right through university being inside, in dance studios or in sports halls (I also used to play table-tennis and am still absolutely appalling at it). So I'm making up for lost time and always want to play outside instead. That's why I signed up for the outdoor activities club in high school and got to go climb mountains and shit (in the woods...literally...).
- Doing active things indoors* bores me to the extent that I have to take a class that forces me to lift weights, in order to lift weights. I have to take a spin class that forces me to do hard bike intervals, in order to do hard bike intervals. In order to make myself stretch? Yoga class, bring it on. Some people scoff at Bodypump; to which I say that any lifting (with good form, that goes without saying) is better than zero lifting. Also, I have to be threatened with pain (quad cramps in a marathon), injury, or severe bodily harm (aka my PT would like to smack me) to do my hip and glute strength exercises. There is a certain buzz I get from long endurance cardio things that you just can't replicate.
* There are some exceptions: like dance classes.
- What happens when I don't run for five days in a row? EXTREME CRANKINESS. My ankle hasn't been 100% happy with me lately (some sort of mystery tendon? muscle? ligament? issue that produces sharp, shooting pains on the inside of the ankle above the malleolus) so I'm resting it. That means no running, and all of the swimming and cycling I want. Still...extreme crankiness. Guess I'm only a fake triathlete.
- Speaking of long endurance cardio things. We all know that I can go and go and go at a moderate pace for ages. The other day I quite happily did 50x50m in the pool with a pull buoy (see: grumpy ankle).
But going fast when it hurts? That's another question altogether.
So between September 7 and the Great Eastern half on November 9, we're going to play a little game. We're going to make it hurt.
I dug up this 'run a half in under 2 hours' plan.
Check out the first and last weeks of that plan. 15x400 is the hallmark of a Coach Shem training plan, I thought. Lo and behold, it's one of his.
Anyway, whether it works or not, I'm going to learn to hurt.
And I'll probably enjoy it.