The big gap in posts was due to a trip to Barcelona to Primavera Sound festival (which was excellent, by the way). I didn’t run while I was there but according to my phone did more than 25,000 steps per day – festivals can be very active! – so I didn’t feel too bad.
Returned from Barcelona on the 6th of June and took running back up straight away, building up to my longest run of the year on Friday. It was a 10 miler which actually went fine, felt good throughout. Also sneaked in a 10k on Monday night so I’m doing ok for miles.
This is good because my first event of the year is next Wednesday, a 10km race called Tempsey Torture at Temple Newsam. Looking forward to competing again because I haven’t been able to do any park runs for over 2 months.
As an aside, I also fasted for 24 hours on Monday. I have read about the health benefits of fasting for a while (most notably from Tim Ferris) but the real inspiration was one of my students who was participating in Ramadan. To understand her better and as an act of support I decided to fast for just one day (out of her 30!). I actually found it not to be too bad – I felt that my mind was very clear and wasn’t crippled by hunger through the day. I was looking forward to breaking the fast by the end of it though. I would recommend and probably will do it again myself.
Was not going to run today but had a bit of free time in the evening when the heat had died down so thought I might as well. Took my usual 3 mile route pretty gently while listening to a podcast. This way I will have run 6 of 7 days this week. It was a very pleasant evening, took some photos too.
Wanted to do a fast run on Friday afternoon, but the weather was extremely hot. Found running fairly hard, and struggled to get any decent speed. Breathing was hard in the heat and humidity. Pace ended up averaging out at 8 min 34 sec/mile.
Another very beautiful evening. With the goal of increasing my miles per week I embedded my intervals within 4 miles instead of 3 this week. Really went for it on the intervals too, had good focus. Was very sweaty by the end!
Went for a social run with Ste and Lucy, 3 miles to Kippax and back. Very beautiful evening. Finished off with a quick half at Wetherspoon’s!
Had a very busy day through the day so only got chance to run at 8:30pm. Had intended do a short run for this reason, but the weather was awesome and I felt positive so decided to do 3 miles while listening to the Rock Workout playlist on Spotify. The run was great, made a decent pace of about 8 min/mile which was good considering I had had an exhausting day.
Tackled my longest run this year today, 9 miles. Actually felt surprisingly fine and managed a faster pace than my 8 mile run last week. The weather was very hot and as it was a long run I didn’t push too hard but was putting in effort all the way around. Felt fatigued after but very satisfied!
Throughout my life, I have thought a lot about what it means to push yourself to the limit. And most of the time when you think you are there, in reality you are nowhere near.
Actually pushing yourself to 100% physical capacity for anything more that a few minutes leaves you feeling drained, unwell and nauseated for the rest of the day. How often does that actually happen? Not much. That’s probably a good thing; those of us who have to get up to work and train the next day need to leave something in the tank.
The reasons it is so psychologically difficult to reach your physical limit are probably evolutionary: you don’t want to wear yourself out picking berries in the morning and then end up having to outrun a sabre-toothed tiger in the afternoon. The same goes for us now; it needs to be difficult to really run oneself down to the wire because we need to continue to function in society. Realistically we should probably save draining the tank until the last 15 minutes of a race that we have trained 3 months or more for. And then book the next day off work.
To get the most out of ourselves, however, we need to be able to get near that limit every now and again, and that takes some practice.
For me, the issue of reaching my maximum appears during races. I feel myself holding back (especially in the first half, when the rest of the race looms large ahead) but then end the race feeling like I could have given more. One of the methods I have used to tackle this is interval training. During your fast intervals, you should be approaching maximum capacity but only for a short period. The main benefit of this, in addition to training muscle, lets you experience what really pushing really feels like. Doing this on a regular basis gets you familiar with and unafraid of the sensation and hence gives you some benchmark when racing. If at 2km into a 10 km race (that you care about) you feel like you do during your fast interval, you are probably going too fast. If you don’t feel like that at 9km, you are probably not pushing hard enough.
Once you have become comfortable with where your maximum capacity lies, only then can you begin to expand and increase it.
Did a leisurely 4 miles this morning. Weather was beautiful and really just wanted to get out. Did some pull ups beforehand. Ran past a horse that had escaped from it’s paddock.
Was unsure what to run today but Mum was doing 5 miles with intervals so I joined her. Her interval speed is less than mine so even though I did intervals yesterday it wasn’t too intensive. Was glad of the distance though – I think in future I am going to have to start increasing the length of my medium runs.