Week 3 saw me “running” all over the country as I was taking some time to go catch up with friends. At top of the list was fitness guru, hypnotherapist, swordsman and re-enactment veteran Jon-Michael. (I’ll be talking about him a lot. He’s been a wonderful help to me in every aspect of my life and I couldn’t be doing this journey without him.)
He accompanied me on my first run of the week, taking me through the park between his flat and the Bournemouth coast, which was far nicer than the suburban routes I was used to taking at home. He also spoke to me about technique and breathing and various other elements of training which I had not come across before. For instance, my breathing has always followed one certain pattern of being deep but fast. I’d figured you were just supposed to do what came naturally, until Jon informed me that you’re supposed to deliberately slow your breathing down, preferably inhaling through the nose.
This was news to me, and the first day trying it was a challenge. It can feel rather unnatural and leave you feeling out of breath, despite the fact that your breathing is actually deeper and more controlled and giving your body MORE oxygen, not less.
Breathing aside, he said my technique was pretty good. Straight back, high head, arm movement solid and directional. It’s good to know when you’re doing things right! We kept pace pretty well through the park. One of the strange things about doing this is the fact that as my fitness improves and the distance I can run increases, the programme adapts at the same speed. At this point its normal for me to start flagging about 20 seconds before the little voice in my ear (courtesy of Zen Labs) tells me to slow to a walk. And it’s been doing that since I started despite the run length now being triple the time it started at.
Around the end of the session we were approaching a stone marker between the park and the pier. It was at this point that Jon broke it to me that this marker was actually the half way marker on the 5k run he’d done along this same route – so it looks like I have some way to go!
Before heading home we wandered down the pier and the sea front, and it was at this point I decided to A) carry on running because it was cold, and B) go up a huge great steep hill cut into the side of the cliff face. I’m not sure which of these decisions was the most stupid but I was certainly regretting at least one of them by the time I was halfway up the hill!
|We ran up this. Not sure how...|
I’ve also taken away from this session the useful idea of setting little mini goals along the route as you find yourself flagging. As you struggle, pick a lamppost somewhere along the street and tell yourself you can stop for a rest when you get there. Then once you do, you’ll probably feel you can pick another one further up and aim for that, dividing the route up into smaller, achieveable goals as your energy levels begin to drop. It may sound like silly mind control stuff, but it works.