Countdown to running 10 miles: 7 weeks to go
It’s week two 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! (If you missed my update last week where I shared my first 8.5 mile run and favourite trainers, you can read it here.)
With seven weeks to go I’m now running about 8 miles. I was planning to run that distance again this week. Read on to see whether I managed it or not! But first…
Running item of the week – My running kit
You can spend an absolute FORTUNE on technical kit for running but in my opinion all you really need is something comfortable that will wick away sweat and won’t rub when you run.
Although pink is SO not my colour (read this post to see how I know this) fluorescent pink is a great colour to run in because it’s very visible – important on the country lanes I run on. This Asics Short Sleeve Running Top £22 was a great buy and I’m wearing it for every run at the moment. I don’t like skin tight tops when I’m running so I bought a size bigger than I would normally and it’s perfect, keeping me cool without clinging or feeling heavy when it’s wet.
While it’s true that you can more or less run in anything really, one thing you HAVE to have is a good sports bra. Since the Little Man stopped breastfeeding I’m a LOT less endowed in that area so this Sports Jock Action Sports Bra £28 was the perfect choice for me. It’s from the sports range at Little Women, who specialise in bras for smaller-chested women and is a good fit with no chaffing or rubbing.
My Nike running shorts are so old that I can’t find a picture of them anywhere online! These Epic Run Capris are a close match though. Unless it’s really hot I prefer to run in capris rather than shorts because they keep my muscles and ligaments warm, particularly around my knees; my weak area. As soon as it gets colder though I’ll be switching to my Hind running tights and long sleeve top. This brand appeared in my local Sweat Shop last year and I snapped up a whole winter running kit that was on special offer. I haven’t found them anywhere else but they’re currently on sale at Sweat Shop online (Sept 2014) so worth a look if you need some new kit.
When it comes to socks I’m a fan of twin-skin – a double layer of thin material that stops you from getting blisters when you’re running. My favourites brand at the moment is Hilly (started by the legendary Ron Hill) but I’ve literally worn holes in them so I was tempted by this pretty pair from Run Breeze. Unfortunately, although they’re also double layer and supposedly anti-blister I wore them for yesterday’s run and had a blister by mile 5! Sometimes you should just stick with what works.
Next week: my entry-level Garmin running watch
This week’s run
I thought last week’s run had perfect weather but yesterday’s was even better! Bright and sunny to bring a smile to my face but chilly enough to keep me cool when I built up a sweat. I wanted to extend my run from 8 miles to 8.5 miles so I needed a new route. I planned one out in my head based on the Felsted 10k I ran back in June, adding on the additional 2.5 miles roughly in my head. I picked a good set of tunes and set off around 10am, setting my Garmin and Gymboss timer (more about this in coming weeks) to 5 mins run/1 min walk intervals as usual.
The first few miles were great, my ankle didn’t niggle at all and after 10 mins or so on my usual route I turned down the new road. Changing your running route can be a great way to keep you motivated and interested – if I have to think where I’m going I’m not thinking so much about the miles I’m plodding! I was now effectively running the 10k route that I was familiar with but backwards. It’s a lovely run through some beautiful countryside.
My flying mile came early on this run, at 3 miles. I zipped along feeling strong and powerful, my arms and legs pumping, the adrenaline blossoming sheer joy. However, after about 4 miles I turned down a track past a farm and came face to face with two black Labradors who were not pleased to see me! They ran straight at me barking wildly and I instinctively slowed to a walk, heading away from them without looking at them directly. I heard a whistle from the direction of the farmhouse and both dogs cocked their heads before immediately headed back home. Phew, that certainly got my adrenaline pumping for a different reason!
At mile 5 my new supposedly anti-blister socks failed. I had one forming under my right big toe. Damn.
At mile 6 my jaw was hurting and I realised I’d been clenching my teeth because of the blister. I made a conscious effort to relax and focus on my nemesis – the long slow hill that I knew would be coming up around 7.5 miles. It felt even longer and slower this week but I looked down instead of ahead and concentrated on the fundamentals of running – one foot in front of the other.
The good thing about hills is that what goes up must come down and the other side of this one is a nice gentle downward slope that I really needed. I ran it steadily without the heady excitement of last week.
Then something else unexpected happened.
I hit 8.5 miles with half a mile to go.
Eek! I’d underestimated the distance. But the last half mile would take me home. Downhill. And to a roast pork dinner. And you know what? It was the second easiest mile of the day.
I didn’t mean to run 9 miles today but along with being surprised I’m proud that my legs carried me the extra distance. It’s given me confidence that I might actually be able to run/walk the whole 10 miles now in a few weeks time. Next week I’ll be sticking with 9 miles to get my legs properly used to the distance.