I previously wrote about the benefits of efficient running style. This is a brief follow up post describing yesterdays training run that I was planning on using to try and focus on improved running economy and running the right way.
I ended up running both the right way, and the wrong way simultaneously; I was pleased with the results of a more efficient running style. However, I had absolutely no idea where the hell I was running to!
I’ve just relocated to East Anglia, and am living in a peaceful village, with plenty of rural lanes that (discounting uneven surfaces) are great for running.
So yesterday, following an 8.24 mile run on Monday that I still felt a little tight from, I planned to head out on a short 3 or 4 mile recovery run.
Not knowing the lanes, I consulted Google maps and identified a route that looked around the right distance. All well so far.
I donned the running gear, laced up and headed out. Standing on my driveway waiting for the Garmin to acquire a satellite fix it started peeing down.
I don’t mind a bit of rain when running – I usually find it quite refreshing. Twenty seconds later and I was off, heading out of the village along the route I’d planned.
Got to the T-Junction at the end of the road. This is where it started to go wrong. The T-Junction I’d arrived at was supposed to be a crossroads that i’d head straight over!
Ah well, sod it….I knew there was a turning on the opposite side of the road a couple of hundred meters along, so went that way.
For me, the first couple of miles of a run are always some of the hardest. My joints seem stiff, I get a bit of knee pain, sometimes a little shin pain, and generally things don’t seem so smooth, and I was trying to ignore all of this and get into a groove whilst running along this B road, still thinking that I knew roughly where I was, the direction I was headed, and confident that I’d be able to find a turning and make a loop back home for a total of 3 or 4 miles.
Only the turning didn’t come as soon as I’d hoped. 3 miles in and I hit a T-Junction. The signs concerned me. Neither left nor right indicated my village. The sign to my village was pointing back the direction I’d come from, indicating 3 miles. Usually having a pretty keen sense of direction I still thought I could find a way back home without needing to double back on myself (for some reason I hate doing that; illogical I know), so I headed left.
By this time I was just getting into my stride, and starting to focus on my running style. The Garmin kept beeping at me – another mile down. And I was feeling pretty good, though getting slightly anxious about where the hell I was and how far away from home I now was.
After 5.5 miles I hit another junction whos signs indicated that a left turn was 4 miles back to my village, and a right turn was to some place I’d never heard of, so I headed left, and soon realised I was heading back toward the lane I’d started on. (Turns out that if I’d headed right at that last junction I could have made a nice loop back home without re-tracking down the same route I’d headed out on – note to self – road signs are sometimes best ignored!)
By this time I was drenched. I mean completely and utterly soaked. It hadn’t stopped raining for a second since I started out. Usually I sweat a lot, but this time the vast majority was rain water. I could feel my running jersey bouncing up and down with its weight (which though I didn’t realise it at the time, is likely the cause for my extreme nipple chafing, that is still aggravating me this morning)
I wish I’d weighed all my gear when I got back – I’m pretty sure there was several pounds worth of additional weight from the rain water absorbed into my clothing.
During the run I was probably passed by 20 or so cars, and the looks on all of the drivers faces amounted to them thinking ‘nutter’. Similarly I passed many a (very smelly) farm and got even funnier looks from some even funnier looking folk…
But I was loving it, especially heading back knowing that this would accidentally become my longest ever run. When I rejoined the road I’d run up before, safe in the knowledge that I was heading home, and just how far home was, I was able to increase the pace, and my fastest mile was actually between mile 8 and 9.
I’d been going for well over an hour without fuel or electrolyte replenishment though, so for these last couple of miles I was feeling it in my legs – or more accurately, I wasn’t feeling much in my legs anymore – they just seemed to be kind of moving on there own with the momentum of each stride driving the next.
Eventually, 9.5 miles after starting out, I arrived back home, and only when stopped realised how little I had left in my legs.
I was pleased that I’d run so far though, with relative ease due to being more economic with my style, and it gave me confidence that with some mid run fuel I’d be able to continue for much further – certainly that half marathon seems far more achievable than it did just a couple of weeks ago!
I’m off to buy some plasters. Theres no way I’m running that far again without adequate nipple protection. It’s just not worth it. Ouch.