What a week!
I was told about a week ago by an osteopath that I should not be running (especially not long distances) while breast feeding due to the hormones making my joints loose. This lead to me reassess my personal goal which was to build up to a half marathon. I decided that as I don't want to stop running I just have to try to be sensible and take care of my knees. So this week has been a week of first's for me:
I have bought Runners World magazine for the first time - does that make me a 'proper' runner? I'm not sure but I am REALLY enjoying reading it.
I have stretched after my runs for the first time (I know I should have been doing it every run from the start but somehow I never quite got round to it... oops).
Most significantly I have today done what I would describe as my first real 'long run'
The long run was a revaluation! Until now I followed Laura's plan, repeating bits as necessary through to graduation. I then moved onto stepping stones, stamina and speed but was mainly using stamina. Every run I did was around 7km and around the same pace, I didn't really have a training plan. What I have learnt from reading my shiny new running mag is that there are many different types of run. Having successfully completed my second 10km race in 57mins 24sec and for fear of damaging my knees beyond repair I have now a new goal in my sights. The afore mentioned magazine has several beginners running plans in it including one for completing 10km in under 55mins so that is my new goal! There is a 10km race near home in 10 weeks, the plan is 12 weeks long but I figured I'd just go straight into week 3 but as they specify what days you should run and I wanted to run today I did the last run of week 2 which was an 80 min 'long run'. The description called for the effort level to be around 6-6.5/10. I've never run for 80 mins before. The most I have done was 61mins and that was my first 10km race and I found it hard going by the end so I knew that to get through the 80 mins I would need to go really slow and steady.
I popped on my headphones and hit play on the slowest of the audiofuel long run sound tracks and with some trepidation headed out... and here is the thing... I enjoyed it. I REALLY enjoyed it! I ran for the full 80 mins and covered 11.2 km (oops, the knees!!). Longer and further that I've ever been before. I looked at the view. I enjoyed it! At times I even had a big grin on my face because I was just having fun plodding along. I realised that I have been going too fast on most of my runs. Not much too fast but too fast all the same. I've said before that although I enjoy the effect running has on my body, my mood and my confidence (that is what has kept me at it till now) I don't really enjoy the actual experience of running - but today I did enjoy it! So from now on slower and steadier it is for me! At last I understand the concept of the 'long run'. I have a feeling that me and running are going to get along much better after today. Slow and steady wins the day.