Reality check

The reality of marathon training really hit home tonight.   I had thought long and hard before I signed up about just how long and hard (and cold and wet) those wintry Sunday long runs would be, and came to the conclusion that I was up for the challenge in spite of them.  In fact, some particularly warped part of me even relishes the prospect.  What I hadn’t given so much thought to were the once-a-week speed sessions my schedule calls for.  I plan to do these on the treadmill to make it easy to (a) measure distance, (b) stick to the prescribed pace, and (c) give me a softer surface to do one of my three runs on.  And because they are short(er) intervals and always in the warm and dry, I had thought that they would be among the easier of the training runs.   I was wrong – they are tough.  Just how physically tough I am sure I will whinge about in a later post (after just two fairly short ones so far they are quickly becoming dreaded sessions) but what really struck home tonight was just how unpalatable having to do a particular run to schedule can be.

Reasons why tonight’s run was grim:

1) It was 8pm on a Friday night.  Today’s session was 3 x 1200m at 11.2 kph.  Even with warm up, cool down and recovery, that is only half an hour, so I thought I would have time at lunchtime to get it in and still have time to make up for having to miss yesterday’s Boxercise by following it with some weights or abs or rowing.  But work conspired against me and after 8 was the only time I could get down to the gym.  I didn’t really mind that this evening as I was way too tired to want to go out boozing anyway, but in other weeks similar situations would mean missing out on some fun.

2) Because it was 8pm on a Friday night, and I’d had a few frantic days at work (which was also the reason I had to miss Boxercise in the first place), I was exhausted.  Far from in prime running form, but it’s only week 2, and I felt I did have enough energy to drag myself down there without ending up hurting myself, so I sucked it up and went anyway.  But it was an effort just to make myself go.  I guess I’ll get used to that feeling!

3)  After 8pm the gym in my office is unsupervised, which also means no music, even annoying MTV ringtone adverts. And because my iPod is ancient, after Wednesday’s run it refused to turn off, meaning that the battery is thoroughly dead.  All of which means that I had to run in a virtually empty basement gym for half a tough hour to just the sound of my own breathing and heavy footfalls (and the grunts and groans of the couple of guys lifting weights).  The absence of anything to listen to and push me along made things much harder – definitely need to ask Santa for a new iPod.

4) One of the natural perils of using an office gym is that you end up getting all hot and sweaty in front of people you know and work with.  I made my peace with that long ago.  It wasn’t pleasant though to find myself alone in the gym with the creepy guy from my team who spent last year’s summer party following me around assuring me that “he would” (ugh, shudder).  Sweating on the treadmill in a vest and shorts for his eyes only was not an experience I want to repeat.  In fact, I felt so self-conscious that I miscalculated my intervals and only did 1000m for the first one, and had to make up the distance over the next two.

All in all, I was tired, I didn’t want to be there, and I had nothing to distract me from how hard the session was or where creepy guy was staring.  BUT – I went, I completed the session (although not the extra bit to make up for yesterday) and now I’m home with a glass of red wine and my fluffy bathrobe I feel very glad that I managed it despite all those things conspiring against me.  I’m sure that there will be lots of other training runs that are similarly miserable but if I can do this one then I’m confident that I can manage those too.  Here’s hoping for a glorious sunny park run on Sunday though.

Distance: 5.15km/3.2 miles, including 3 x 1200m at 11.2 kph
Time:  30.00
Terrain:  treadmill
Time of day: 8pm
Weather:  horrible, wet and windy. But I was warm indoors.
Notable features: creepy staring guy


About westlondonplodder
Thirty-something London girl looking for the next big challenge

3 Responses to Reality check

  1. warriorwoman says:

    You must be pretty hardcore if you’ve scheduled your interval sessions for a friday evening. I’ve picked boring ole tuesdays, it should be harder for me to find an excuse.

    I’m going to add you to my rss feed, it will be interesting following your FIRST progress to VLM.

    • Haha – not hardcore, just unlucky with work commitments! The session wasn’t deliberately scheduled for Friday evening. This week’s is today (i.e. Tuesday like yours) – much more sensible.

      Thanks for adding me to your feed!


  2. Pingback: Civil unrest is a perfectly good excuse for not running « Things to do before I'm 30

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