Thursday, March 4, 2021

Starting Again...

 Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog!

Some time has passed since the last update, and I have been trying to maintain fitness while relaxing and not punishing myself. As it is now pretty much a year since I begun the blog, and started running, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on where I'm up to and share with you my targets for the year to come. 

As I type, I have had confirmation that I have retained a place in The Great North Run this September and I am increasingly optimistic that this will take place. This time last year I entered, and put an estimated finish time of 2:15 on my application. I had no idea what to expect, having never run further than 5k in my life, and not having done that since 1986 - and training began. For me, having some fitness built up already meant I was basically learning to run, pretty much from scratch and my first 5k clocked in at just short of 31 minutes. This gave me a real platform to work with - If I aimed for 6 minutes per km and could do pretty much this, maybe I could get get close to 2 hours. That was my thinking back then. As I trained, I encountered all sorts - mental blocks, exhaustion, self-doubt (yeah, pretty much every blog entry covers that for the first 4 months!), a small number of injuries. I even bought some proper running shoes! For those of you who have been reading throughout, this is old news I know, but as I start the new year, there are a few things that I now need to remind myself of:

  • Older is not necessarily wiser - I am still going out chasing PBs and striving to go faster, further and to improve - sometimes, it is ok to just go and enjoy a run!
  • Science is important - I had two runs last week - equal distance (10k) but the harder 10k was quicker and felt easier - all about hydration and nutrition. I need to remember to put fuel in the tank
  • I can run the distance of a half marathon - I did it in September and did so in a half decent time (given my age and lack of experience) so I can do it again
  • Discipline is important - If I want to improve, I have to work hard
  • It's not about me - this was only ever about helping others. Shelter is my nominated charity, and I know they need our help now more than ever. https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/graemelucas1
Visitors to the giving page will currently see a picture of myself and my good friend Pete. We tried to keep this ticking over the winter months with a 2800 sit ups in February challenge. Between us, we got slightly competitive and managed 12400 in total, and our friends have managed to bump up the quantity of money in the pot by around £300, which is ace. I'll get that updated in a few weeks and get back onto the running! 

So...targets for the coming year are fairly simple:
  • Stay fit! Obvious one, but injury free and fit are two different things. When I have a strain, I need to rest or I will break. 
  • Do the run and give it my best. I have a time in mind - but I know now that on some days, I simply don't go as quickly as others. If I have a slow day in September, or it's hot, or windy, the time could alter by a good ten minutes. I'm not dwelling on that. If it happens, it happens (but I'd love to go quicker than last year)
  • Enjoy it more - I genuinely enjoy running now - reading back to last year, it was a slog and a strain and quite often I barely made it through a run! (See this example from my first ever 10 miler! http://www.thegreatnorthrunadventure.com/2020/04/ten-milespleasure-and-pain.html) On Tuesday, I went out, set myself a challenge based on 'how far can I run in an hour?' and loved it. No doubts, no issues, no pain - just enjoyment. I need to remember that and keep the thoughts close. If anyone is interested, I managed about 12.3km in the hour. I can't go faster than that...even over a shorter distance, it appears 4.45/4.50 per km is my upper limit. Again, I'm fine with that. I'd love to run 4:30 and get 10k down below 45 minutes, but I don't think I ever will. I am blaming two things - short legs and old age. It won't be through lack of trying!
Anyway, that's the overview of where I am at right now, feeling good about my running, need to invest in some shorts that can hold a phone without it bouncing around. A few people have pointed out that going so far without any means of communication isn't the smartest of moves, so I am listening. Currently considering how to keep the blog fresh rather than more repetitive tales of the same runs in similar times and over the coming weeks am going to try and do a regular update, with each one being on a set theme. Ideas for these are coming to me all the time, and I am open to suggestions!

  • Nutrition - Before and after
  • Hydration
  • Developing stamina
  • Improving speed
  • Recovery - linked to nutrition
I am still on Instagram and posting images on there whenever it seems appropriate, so please do give me a follow - I get a boost from 'likes' and reposts! www.instagram.com/greatnorthrungraeme

Thanks for reading - take care, stay safe and look after each other. 

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