A healthy dose of perspective

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Today I ran 10 miles down to and along the coast and back on the Wayfarers Walk and ran with a smile. Running by feel and (for once) abandoning focus on heart rate I was surprised to find that I was hitting mile splits I’ve not managed for weeks. It’s also given me an idea…. Maybe I could run the Wayfarers Walk from North to South self-supported one day/weekend? Why not?

I love running. I’m not overstating it to say that running has changed my outlook on life, my health and my approach to challenging situations. It’s made me a better person (calmer, more focused and with more confidence).

It’s one week until I run my second (official) marathon, the Clarendon Marathon from Salisbury to Winchester. This has been my running focus for the last 15 weeks. I’ve been hoping I can break 5 hours for the first time and avoid the meltdown I had during the London Marathon in 2012 when I went off too quickly despite all the warnings.

I’ve worried about whether or not my Maffetone Method heart rate based training will help my pace in the race or slow me down. I’ve recently been informed that I need an operation (nothing serious, just a little unpleasant) and this will mean I can’t run for a few weeks.

However, 3 miles into today’s run the route took me through Warblington Cemetery and all of the things I’ve been worried about seemed inconsequential. Seeing at least a couple of dozen graves covered in childrens’ toys and flowers made me stop and think. What am I worried about? I have a healthy wife and son, a home, a loving family, great friends and don’t go hungry or thirsty. So what if I don’t hit a time target, my running pace has slowed or it takes me a while to return to my current level of fitness after my operation?

Sometimes we all need a healthy dose of perspective.

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Feeling good

22 miles today. Over 2300 feet of elevation gain. Yet another enjoyable trail run with my weekend running buddy Phil (@BigPhil137). With a difference.

No horse chasing us through a field – that was last week.

No getting lost half way through and running around in circles – that was last week too.

LESS stop-start running as heart rate goes out of control as I get carried away enjoying my run.

MORE steady running at a comfortable pace, for longer, as I learn to control my pace and stay within the heart rate zone I’ve established via the Maffetone Method training plan.

Despite a malfunction of my Garmin HR monitor in the second half of this morning’s run (see below) and being unable to use it to check my heart rate and adjust my pace accordingly I had a great, great run. I’m beginning to see the benefit of the aerobic (slow) training and it certainly feels like I’m speeding up and can run faster at the same heart rate. Which is the goal.

Having to run the second half by feel today, hoping I was in or around the target HR zone, was a text of my ability to read my own body and what I’ve learned so far. It also gave me confidence that 5 weeks from now I’ll be able to maintain a steady, decent pace at the Clarendon Marathon and may even come in at under 5 hours, which would not only be nice but a marathon PB.

Bring on this week’s MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) test to see the progress I’ve made in my aerobic running pace in the last 4 weeks.

Things are looking up.

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