Countdown to 10 miles: 6 weeks to go
It’s week three of my preparations to take part in the Stebbing 10 mile race on Remembrance Sunday in November. Each week I’m sharing my running journey, my training plans, my gear and my thoughts and feelings about running. I hope you’ll join me on my countdown to 10 miles! (In week one I ran shared my first 8.5 mile run and last week I ran 9 miles (without really meaning too!) and shared and favourite running kit.)
With six weeks to go I’m currently running 9 miles. Although I hadn’t planned to go that far last week *ahem* it was actually quite lucky as I’m now ahead of the game in my training. Needless to say I decided NOT to increase my distance this week and stuck to the new 9 mile route. More on how it went in a minute, but first…
Running item of the week – Garmin runners watch
In December last 2013, when I started getting serious about shedding the 20lb I still had left to use after having the Little Man, I’d take my mobile phone on my first stuttering run/walks to track how far I was going. The Noom app that I used to log my food and set up healthier eating habits also has a pedometer and uses the GPS on your phone to act as a running coach.
It was a great way to start monitoring my progress on the road. (Plus Noom helped the husband and I lose 60lb between us!) When I upgraded to a Samsung 5, which is a much bigger phone, it became too heavy and cumbersome to run with so I started to look around for a running watch.
My sister-in-law, who is an amazing multi-marathon runner and inspired me to start running in the first place many moons ago, uses a Garmin and she leant it to me to try it out. I loved it, but her model was a bit expensive and I really didn’t need all the features it had, so I went for something simpler.
This is the Garmin Forerunner 10, Garmin’s simplest GPS running watch and I think it’s a great entry-level model for anyone wanting to track their runs. It’s light, very simple to set up in just a few clicks and tracks distance, pace, time, calories and mile/kilometre splits.
Most importantly for me it has a run/walk programme that I’ve set up to beep at 5 min/1 min intervals. There’s also a virtual pacer setting to compare your pace to a target you set up, so for example if you want to run 10 minute miles it will tell you if you’re falling behind. I haven’t used this yet as I’m not concerned about my times but I can see how it would be useful if you’re trying to beat a personal best.
I found the Garmin was cheapest at Amazon but at close to £80 it’s still an expensive piece of kit.
Next week: my runner’s playlist
This week’s run
After extending my distance to 9 miles last week, purely by
bad planning accident, this week was all about consolidation and getting my legs used to the extra mileage. It started off well enough, cloudy and cool but dry conditions boded well and I set off looking forward to a great run.
The first part of the route is mostly flat or downhill so it was easy going and I was running about 9.5 minute miles; a good pace for me. Looking back I realise I wasn’t looking around as much this week. I was tired and keeping my head down, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto on the iPod was helping too (what am I going to do without my tunes in the race?!).
I was nervous as I rounded the bend to the farmhouse where two black dogs ran headlong at me last week, barking their heads off, but thankfully they were busy doing whatever dogs do on a Saturday morning and I ran on without interruption.
At 6 miles I suddenly felt very heavy legged and the ligaments around my knees ached. Glancing at the Garmin I realised that I hadn’t heard it reminding me to walk. I slowed to a stop and had a quick stretch before walking out the next couple of minutes to release the tension in my legs and give my knees a break. The next run interval felt much better – a great lesson in why I need to run/walk!
The last couple of miles were uneventful but tough (that long slow hill never gets any easier) but in the final stretch I had a burst of energy and literally flew along the road! Woo hoo! It’s the most amazing feeling when everything comes together like that – my legs were light as feathers and pumping hard, my feet barely touching the ground. I felt a surge of adrenaline and upped my pace, almost sprinting to the finish. I felt great!
Fast forward to Sunday morning and I’m paying for that fast finish with VERY heavy legs but I won’t be running again until next week so my tired pins can have a good rest. And besides, it was worth it!
Until next week – happy running.