Saturday, March 28, 2020

Coronavirus

Should I stop training? 

There are so many mixed messages going around at the moment.

Stay at home
Don't go out
Go out
Do exercise...once a day

I have wrangled massively with the morality of carrying on training while all this is going on. Should I run? How can I socially distance from other runners? What about if people are out for a walk? Just don't want to do the wrong thing. Difficult thing is, I'm not a young skinny 18 year old who can turn fitness on and off like a tap. If I do nothing, I gain weight easily, my BMR is ridiculously low and resting pulse is about 51/52 generally (as I type and look at this, my watch is saying 52) so I can't afford much 'time off'. Too many people have donated, too many people are behind me...failure is not an option.

So...I plan routes where I am unlikely to encounter any people. I plan routes where if I do encounter others, I can safely run in the road or easily cross to the other side. Main roads (A59) is best currently. A grass verge when cars comes and nobody else running there. Perfect. No fields, as I read that people should be avoiding public footpaths through fields if possible.

So yes, I am still training because I think it's the right thing to do. I need to get out as much as is safe and I am certain that when out I am making every possible effort to ensure that social distancing is taking place. There will be people out there who think that I should just stop for a few weeks, but health is about more than the exercise, health is about mental wellbeing and escaping from the reality of being caught in the middle of this.

I have also slowed down on the updates, on the blog, Instagram, Twitter posts. Of course, I do still want and need the financial support. Homelessness potentially will be an even bigger issue when this blows over, so Shelter will absolutely need every penny they can get. That said, easing off on these things at the moment is a deliberate choice as people have other more pressing issues that concern them right now.

If you enjoy reading the blog, please feel free to comment. If you want to know more, head for my Instagram

Www.Instagram.com/greatnorthrungraeme

If after all this, you want to read more about why I'm doing this, head to

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/graemelucas1

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Longer runs...

As a non-runner, fitness alone is definitely not enough to see me through this and I know at some point, I will have to face up to the reality that running 5-7k and running 21k are different beasts.

There are six months to go, with a cricket season inbetween and the potential for injury is (at my age...) an ever present threat. So here goes...I am going to have to do 8k, 10k, 12k and build from there. Can I actually run that far? Really? While I don't officially have a target time in mind, I want to do ok...

So Friday night is a gym night, so why not preface this with a run? Time is against me, so realistically I only have about 50 minutes, so a plan is for a run, some off road, some hill, some roadside. Estimate of 8k...let's see how we go.

Never realized how muddy fields were, and the first 2km are hard... 13 minutes...next km is all uphill, so after 3km I have taken 19 minutes and been struggling. From there, something clicks, good pace, uphill and down and I realise I have found my pace. A Km in 5m 45 is perfect and the rest of the run goes well. Home in 47:28 and done the 8k I hoped for.

I can do this.

UPDATE...21/3/2020

First 10k under the belt.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9_hcZZHlLc/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Really happy, body felt good, breathing ok and the splits again showed my slowest km was the first. That was the only one over 6 minutes, last one was 5.40, which was pretty much my average. Progress...Enjoyed it today, pain free, no issues with breathing or stamina, the troublesome glute was fine. I know i need to strengthen my left calf as now and again I get a sharp pain in it, but that’s ok.


Gels...don’t know much about them, but reading up on long distance running made me investigate SIS products. Ordered a load online and took one with me today. Carbohydrates and Electrolytes (must be good, as REM wrote a song about them) I am still working out what I can and can’t eat before a run, but am finding before setting off, a protein flapjack is good, some sugar for the quick hit and some slow release as well. Too much food bounces around so less is more for me. I took one of the gels with me and had it at the half way point. Not sure what I was expecting, a Popeye style surge of energy? Red Eye impact? No. Nothing immediate, but as I ran from 6-8k, I felt no dip in my energy levels, so much so that the pace I ran was maintained and I did feel I could have gone further comfortably. First impressions are good...As my watch vibrated to tell me I had covered 10k, I was just 300m from home, and the time on the watch read 58:45. I don’t know how fast proper runners run this distance, but feel pretty happy now that I have found my pace, found a stride pattern that works. Just two short weeks ago, I ran my first 5k in over half an hour, a long way to go, but progress is happening.


27.3.20 UPDATE...


Same run as last weekend. Struggled for the first 5k, uphill and into the window, slow, painful, not enjoyable at all. All clicked into place at the 6k mark and the last 4k were, this is going to sound wrong, well...pretty comfortable (if not quite 'easy') Again the splits would back that, first 5k exactly 30 minutes, but the second half in 27. Much better than last week. Am thinking this 10k is quite a good one at the moment. The route (see my Instagram www.instagram.com/greatnorthrungraeme ) is such that most of the run is along the A59, and to be fair, not many people run along this section (between Northcote and Clitheroe for those of you who know the geography). This means that the likelihood of meeting someone else is minimal. It also gives the added joy of a lovely burst of wind whenever a lorry hurtles past! A couple of days rest. 


So, what are my targets and aims here? Currently still number 1 is staying fit. Number 2 is getting faster. I feel like I could do the run now with a couple of really well planned weeks of training, but the competitive edge of me has kicked in. It's all about faster now...always doing PBs is great and at the moment, every run improves on my PB...as I've never run before. I am aiming to go sub 55 minutes for the 10k soon...then maybe aim for 50. When that happens, I'll mix things up, do some shorter 'sprint' runs, try to get 2 miles down to 12 minutes, along with getting some 12, 14k runs done building to a 16k at some point in the not too distant future. As for a time for the run...not setting that goal yet, too far away.


Please feel free to add to the donations and read my story here...


https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/graemeLucas1

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Making a Difference

Whenever I visit a town or city, I despair at the ever increasing numbers of people living on the streets. No home, no hope. Of course, I try to help out, buying hot drinks or food, but it's not possible to help everyone in this way. A plan formed in my mind, to do something that could make more of a difference, but what? The idea of running long distance came into my head. Could I do it? I'm too old, surely to take this up as a hobby? As a younger friend said, 'at your age, most people are taking up crown green bowling' (Thanks Gaz).

I have never been a runner, never enjoyed running much, preferring to keep fit through sports, football (retired years ago with dodgy knees) and cricket (much more sedate) so the idea, the thought of completing The Great North Run came into my head. To add to the madness, I have been suffering from a hip/abdomen injury since August 2019 and am still having physiotherapy for this

I gained a place running to raise funds for Shelter. (Www.shelter.org.uk) and my training adventure starts here...follow my training as I try to go from no running at all for 7 months to half marathon...

Thanks for visiting and if you feel that you wish to contribute, please consider visiting my donation page...

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/graemeLucas1

5k runs

Advice I have received suggests that regular 5-8km runs will be good for me...

So, last Saturday I set off for my first measured 5k run ever. That means a personal best is inevitable! I have a target time in mind, of 30 minutes. It's a straight run, uphill there, downhill on the way back, so I guess 16 minutes there, 14 minutes back is realistic, but the hills are steep and I am nearly 17 minutes on the first leg, which leaves me having to step it up a gear on the return leg, which is mainly a long downhill...so foot down, let's see what happened.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9bWZpKnPst/?igshid=6szd10svj5jx

So, happy or disappointed? Not sure,  but it is a personal best!!! Three days later, I go for the identical run...get to the top in 15:15 but have some real soreness in the hip whenever I lengthen my stride to increase the pace. I glance at my watch with about 400 meters to go and it is on just over 28 minutes, with a nice downhill sprint finish, I'm comfortable...hit stop on the watch...

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9kBpsNnD9x/?igshid=1xfkdfzrf8kqi

Another PB!!!

This time I am happy. 6 minutes per km, even allowing for a stiff hip. Next run is going to be a longer one. Those are the ones I now worry about. That is going to be Friday, will let you know how it goes.

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Injuries

This may be a busy section...as I start training, I have been having Physio for a long standing abdominal injury and also have weakness in the glutes and hip abductor muscles. Sometimes, running just hurts. That's how it is, it's only a bit of pain.

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And here we are...18/3/2020...a day that will be remembered as the day they closed the schools. While all the difficult decisions were being made and the amazing school leaders were unpicking whatever meaning they could from Boris and Gavin's pronouncements (why both at the same time? Is it just me or was that a bit weird?), I went off to clear my thoughts with a run. Decent warm up, nice evening, let's see what happens. Truth here is that I never felt right. Pain in the troublesome glute (usually eases after 3/4km) was accompanied by a pain in my left calf...felt it early on in the run.

Of course, anyone with any sense would stop, go home and leave it...but me? No, old habits do die hard and through football and cricket, the old 'run it off' adage came into play. I'll run through it and it'll be right. I do have a high pain threshold, and once (not THAT long ago), broke my arm playing football. That was in the first half. I finished the game, drove home and went to work the next day before a colleague suggested my arm was at a jaunty angle and maybe someone should take me to hospital! So, of course, I'll run it off. Today, I didn't and for once took the sensible option of  cutting short what I had planned and after about 6k, called it a day. Time was OK at 35 minutes, but going to need to rest this for a while. Feels like a very minor muscle strain tonight, nothing major but maybe a lesson. If it hurts, stop. Or...don't sit on your backside from 7am until 5pm without moving and expect running to be OK.

Either way, I'm feeling philosophical. It's nothing major, I've no Coronavirus and while the whole world is floundering with this...I carry on trying to make a difference.

Keep safe everyone, tough times ahead and we all need to be kind to each other.

Getting Started

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/graemeLucas1

Before I did anything else, I set up my donation page and shared this with some friends and family. As the donations and comments started to come through, I realised this was all very real and now I was fully committed to completing the task! I also set up an Instagram page...

Www.Instagram.com/greatnorthrungraeme

From this account, I have followed many local businesses in the hope they may see what I am doing and show some support. Ultimately my aim is to raise as much money as possible, so using as many different platforms as possible should give me the widest reach.

Having done all of that, and within two days had donations totalling around £400, it was time to hit the roads...

Beginning training

As I said earlier, I am a complete novice. I have some trainers that I think are running shoes, shorts and some appropriate t-shirts. But I know nothing else, so when it comes to running, questions such as 'what should I eat beforehand'?', 'Should I take a drink?' 'Where am I supposed to put my keys?' are all at the forefront of my mind, let alone the big question, which needs to be, 'Can I actually run?'

I decide to go on what I have called my baseline run. Set off from home, pound the streets around where I live, not venture too far away and see how long I can go for without too much pain. My theory is that once that is done, I can plan my training schedule from there. I have no idea what to expect, except severe pain. Whichever direction I go, my first couple of km is uphill...

The run starts and I feel OK...a steady pace and the seemingly never ending mountain that is Accrington Road is conquered. Feeling good,  I extend beyond my expectations and make it home after 42 minutes, having run around 6.5k. I am really happy with that, much better than I expected, and I am literally up and running!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9UiBBIHUH6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link


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