Slow Improvement

I’ve had an odd mix of weeks with my running of late. I’m having back issues which oddly don’t effect me when I’m actually running but every morning I am in quite a lot of pain in my lower back and through both my hips. I need to start doing some type of exercises to try to strengthen my core and my hips but I’m afraid that if I do that I might cause myself more pain so I haven’t found the nerve to start yet!

Anyway, 3 weeks ago I had a ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ week of runs. The first two runs were ok, although the second I got really bored with being in the woods where I’d done almost my entire C25K runs, there is only so many times that you can go back and forth on the same path and stay sane (literally back and forth, the distance and time I run now I need to run the path 3 times each way minimum). The next run I just didn’t feel it at all, I went up the big hill as I’d not done it in a while and my calves hated me for it even though I walked and after the hill I just couldn’t get into any rhythm and had to convince myself to do 2.2 miles. The final run of the week was the worst run I’ve had in a really long time. My body and mind were not in it at all and I didn’t even manage a mile and a half before giving up and going home. I was frustrated and sore and generally fed up.

However, I think I might have reached the end of the plateau I’ve been on for over a month now as last week I did my first 10 mile week, 10.19 to be exact. Each run was 4k minimum and I did two in the muddy woods, trying out my new New Balance WT1010v2 trail shoes (stupid name) which I love and are deal with mud incredibly well. The other two runs were on paths around the village I live in. I’m seriously bored of running here now, there are only so many roads and trails that I can get to easily and without taking a huge chunk out of my day, I want to run in new places!

This week was half term so I only managed to get in two runs. The first was along a new section of the road I normally run beside as I ran from my parent’s house rather than my own so my sons could stay there. I didn’t realise that the entire outward run would be up a slope, there was seriously about 100y that was flat and the rest went up. It did make the return run much easier and more fun but it was hard work on the way out. I pushed on though and managed to do it, even running a bit further than I had planned as I was in sight of a village sign and it seemed silly not to run right to it before turning around!

Today I went to the nice woods by the sea, although even those are becoming a little dull now. I did my loops in a different way (they’re not very big woods so I do out and back and a loop of an off-shoot path to get 4k) and replaced one section with a drier bit as I didn’t feel like wading in mud. It was a lovely day and the trails were nice, the second K kicked my ass as I seem to be going out a bit faster now (sub 9 minutes which is fast for me right now!) and then pay for it.  The third and most of the fourth Ks were great though, I was comfortable, enjoying the scenery and my music and keeping myself distracted enough so I just kept moving along. The end was horrid, I was tired, there were lots of people and dogs on the prom due to the nice weather and there is a collection of fish and chip places near each other right where I finish which is not what you want to be breathing in deeply when you finish running, ick.

I’ve realised that between 5 and 15 minutes is the hardest part of a run for me usually, that’s the make or break and I am not happy, not comfortable, doubt myself and generally wonder what the hell I’m doing out there. If I manage to get through that ok and not stop and walk at all then the next 15-20 minutes is pretty easy and enjoyable. My breathing isn’t too bad, except for on hills, and my body seems happy enough. After 35 minutes things get a little harder again, especially as my feet, particularly the right one, are still falling asleep every run around that time, but I keep telling myself that that’s when I’m building my fitness so I push on, plus I’m normally on the final bit nearing my house at that time so it’s not too hard to keep going. I seem to now be able to run 4k without too many issues so I am going to try increasing two of my runs next week to 4.5 and will see how I get on, I’ll leave the other two at 4k as I don’t want to wear myself out. I’m hoping that this week of not much running will have been a good rest for me and I can now start building on my distance and time spent running. My goal is 5k, once I can run that distance I will work on trying to run it faster whilst slowly building towards 10k. I seriously need to move though as I can’t think of anywhere around here that isn’t deathly dull or up the side of very steep hills to run those distances!

So, things are going well, I’m enjoying it once again and finding ways to keep myself going. For example, to try to get past that 15 minute hard period I don’t let myself look at my Garmin until I’ve heard at least 4 songs on my MP3 player, if I’m feeling mentally strong enough I make that 5 songs! Once I get past the halfway point things feel a little easier and it’s always less hard to run towards home than away from it so once I turn around on my out and back runs my head stops fighting me so hard.

My other goal is to get back to Weight Watchers as I’ve fallen off the wagon. It’d be nice to have less weight to drag around each run with me and I’m sure I’m working my lungs and heart much harder by carrying the extra weight. The Dr suggested it could be contributing to the back pain too so it’s worth doing something about.

So, with that ramble I shall depart and try to update her more often and perhaps try to take some pictures. I still don’t want to stop on a run to take a picture and I worry that I’ll loose momentum, and also I want to run the whole distance without stopping!

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