Posted by: Paul | August 2, 2011

Run On

Long time no post. Been taking a bit of a break from blogging recently, as you may have noticed if you stop by from time to time.

What I have been doing in the meantime is running. Quite a bit of running. I’ve been talked into entering a local 10k road race by my Dad – something we’ve toyed with in the past but never gone through with. It occured to me that I should probably put in a bit of work towards this in the hope that I’d, you know, survive.

I have a gym membership which I do use from time to time, but in my busy period my regular routine fell away. I’m not completely out of shape, but I could do with being a good deal fitter – and my workout, while it does include a bit of time on the treadmill, doesn’t exactly equip me for ten kilometers of continuous running.

Ten kilometers. That number started to grow large in my mind, and I wondered whether I’d be able to get through a run that long at all, never mind in one go. The target is this – complete the race in under an hour, without stopping, and I’ll be happy.

The absolute furthest I had previously run in my workouts was 5km, and that was when I was doing a little bit of training last year to ensure I could climb Snowdon and, you know, survive. I’d considered jogging this distance to be about the upper limit of what I was willing to do during a workout, but I now realise it’s woefully inadequate, and to survive the race I need to make sure I can do a good deal further. Ideally, 10km.

So a few weeks ago I started training. Starting from 5km twice a week and increasing in gradual increments, I’m now up to 7.5 and closing in on my goal with about 6 weeks to go until the race. 7.5k is hard, though – I know people run marathons, but I’m not one of those people. Running is, frankly, quite boring to me, and I’m doing this merely to prove a point to both myself and my Dad that I’m capable. I know! Still trying to prove something to my parents after all this time!

Anyway, I’m wondering whether this sudden urge to run goes deeper than just wanting to beat my Dad in a race. Running is something a lot of people my age (both male and female) seem to take up, as if to prove something to themselves. We hit our thirties, look back at what we’ve accomplished, and realise it often doesn’t include anything physically testing. We may have been promoted at work, risen up the career or property ladder, in many cases gotten married or even had kids (we’re still just about in the minority among our friends in that regard). But if we haven’t pushed our bodies in the process, perhaps we begin to want to do that – as if to prove we’re still young and healthy.

I have no desire to run a marathon – though I know people who do, who have, and who still want to. 10k seems achievably contained to me – it’s an hour out of my life (if I’m on schedule), and requires little more than I get a bit fitter and stick to a simple regime.

Anyway, with the treadmill work being dull I’ve been working on a playlist to pull me through and keep me at a high pace. It always give me a burst of exhilaration when I happen across a song on my iPod which falls exactly into step with my speed and stride pattern, as if I’m hearing the song for the first time. A lot of the songs which fit the bill are by a band called ‘A’, whom you may or may not have heard. Their only ‘hit’, if you can call it that, was ‘Nothing’, which featured in my 30-Day Song Challenge run down. They’re fantastic to run to – tuneful, pumping, pounding, humourous and heavy – just what you need when you want something to push you to keep going that little bit further. A good few ‘A’ tracks meet my speed exactly at 11km/h, which is what I need to run the race at in order to come in under an hour. I’m still compiling a playlist but I may well post it here once it’s done! I need it to run to an hour, so I know if it runs out I’ve missed my target!

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