Running commentary 008: Making it to the finish line

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


It’s getting towards the end (ok, it’s ended) of my outdoor running season. The luxury of being able to pop my running shoes on and hit the road as and when I please was one I took for granted as it's actually been the first year I've actually been running. (Last year I managed January to April before I petered out). At the beginning of the year we were only going out at weekends only but as my stamina built up I started to head out a couple of more times in the week and it's kept me ticking over just fine. Sadly, the evenings are drawing in rather too quickly for my liking and I doubt I'll be able to get out again during the week until around April, which sounds alarming. The idea of getting a treadmill has been mooted but GOSH they cost a lot for a half decent one, plus I have some doubts about whether I'll be able to cope with running on a machine.

I've written about what motivates me to run before; one of the things for me is that when you are running a loop, you have to run back home. If you give up running you still have to walk back so it makes sense to press on home at a faster pace. The problem I fear with a treadmill is that when I get tired  it would be oh-so-easy to just stop and get off. Do I have the discipline to keep going? I just don't know. Do I have the commitment to bother with it at all or will I just hang laundry on it? I can’t really say until we’ve got one and at least there are two of us to hopefully use it. Tricky.

Anyway, in recent running news I took part in a 10k charity run for the local air ambulance, which was held at an airfield and it was one of those confusing runs where a 10 and a 5k are run at the same time then at the halfway stage some of you filter off as appropriate but you have no idea who is running each distance, all very odd. As there was a small field of runners I decided to buck my usual trend and start at the front (aim high, yea?!) which would have been laughable to see because as the starting horn sounded some of the younger, fitter runners to my mind sprinted off into the distance leaving the rest of us choking on their dust. This did in fact mean because I was surrounded by faster than usual runners I set off at a frighteningly fast pace for the first 1k which had me seriously worried that I was going to burn out and have to crawl back in shame. I honestly don't know what happened that day, but I finished in a time of 47:12 (first female, not that they acknowledged this *big frown* was for charity so mustn't grumble. A full one minute and thirteen seconds faster than my previous pb, set just two weeks earlier and I thought that would be unbeatable. Maybe it was the flat surface?


Something unexpected happened on Sunday. I went for my usual 10k route in the pouring rain, with the light fading stupidly fast. Maybe it was because I was desperate to get home in one piece but I made it back in 46:53, which is beyond my comprehension as it was just 4 weeks earlier it was 48:25 (so that's 1:32 difference). As the 10k actually registered me running 10.17k on my watch it was proportionately a faster average pace, but for ease of memory I will use 46:53 as my pb
The gloomy thing is that I really really can't expect to see any improvement especially as I can't even run as often. I don’t tend to set goals because I tend to think that going any faster than I already have is a bit unrealistic and I just don’t know how much further improvement can be made. Let’s face it, I’ve got lucky so far and have managed to make some gains but how good have I got the potential to get? I’ll reserve judgement.

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  1. You are so inspiring! Hope you manage to find a way to work running into the short winter days. I can't even imagine how hard it must be!

  2. Well done hun, thats an achievement. Hubby uses the running machine in the winter (known as the torture machine to me!) and it has been well worth the money. Whilst it is rather large it folds in half for when we need more space.

    Hope you manage to still do your running during the winter hun.

    X x

  3. Well done on being the first female to finish! And these times are amazing. It is a challenge to know what to do for the best. Have you considered finding a second hand treadmill to see if you'll use it?

  4. Your times are amazing as a new runner I am in awe of your times.

  5. That's incredibly impressive! Wow! You are super! But yes, the winter and dark nights make a fitness regime hard!x

  6. Well I don't run and I'm not ever likely to, so I can't offer any specific advice. But is it possible to be a bit flexible with working hours and maybe start an hour later/finish an hour earlier so you can fit a run in while there's still some light? If not, and you can't find anywhere safe to run (I imagine the countryside is not good for this during the winter evenings!) I suppose it'll have to wait till weekends and perhaps you could spend the weeknights doing something else to keep up general fitness?

    OOH I do have a useful tip! If you can find a second-hand treadmill, don't worry about the motivation thing. I have the same problem on the rowing machine and the trick is to find a podcast/album/tv programme that's roughly the same length as your activity. You don't get off until it's finished. Definitely works!

  7. I think you've made wonderful progress with your running. I have no chance of ever being an outside runner. I have been trying to incorporate a bit of treadmill into my workout regime at the gym, but I'm still only managing about 12 minutes before I get bored and slow back down again.

  8. Having read your previous posts about running I really don't think that motivation is something that you're going to struggle with if faced with a treadmill!

    Look at it as training to improve your road 10km times. You have the opportunity to practice doing sprint training - you can up the incline and practice some hill running - and it's all great.

    Boredom is a factor but Alex is right - having a playlist or a load of podcasts makes a whole world of difference. I started listening to the Good Reads podcast from Radio 4 or Desert Island Discs and you're so busy concentrating on that that you're not focused on how long you've been running for.

    It'll also be motivation when you get back outside because you'll probably find that you can run an even better 10km time on a treadmill because of the lack of variance in incline!


I love to hear your comments xx

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