Just completed the first week of my training regime and I’m feeling really positive about it already. I ran four days this week – or three if you include the recovery walk that I did during lunch on Friday.
I felt a great sense of anticipation as I got myself prepared last Monday morning. It wasn’t smooth – my eldest (by twenty minutes) daughter wanted to tag along, it seemed, though she eventually tired and I was clear to go on my own. The bowl of Shredded Wheat, the glass of cranberry juice, the warm up, the soundtrack – everything was primed as I closed the door behind me, wearing a white running top and shorts that have seen more moshpits than cold mornings.
Sun was barely beginning to rise as I hit the streets. I didn’t really feel the chill of the air, though I did my best to keep my hands from going too cold in the 4C air. It was a slow/steady run that took me just under half an hour, within which I clocked up my first 5K. I felt noticeably chipper that day! That said, the fatigue lasted til about 6pm, perhaps a sign I hadn’t seriously trained in so many years. And to my cost, in tending to two loud and very awake one-year-olds, I didn’t pay enough attention to cooling down. Not getting every stretch out of the way led to cramps in my right calf, left hamstring and the groin area. I also seemed to have a side strain. I spent a lot of time working the calf, that seemingly the most aching of my muscles. Any opportunity to stretch out those twings before Wednesday morning were gleefully taken.
Due to an early start at work I was out the door at 5:10am the following day and completed three repetitions of six-minute steady runs followed by three-minute recovery walks. Unfortunately, my naivety about what exactly recovery walks were meant I was a little too leisurely in my approach. I used my lunch break on Friday to remedy this by walking a brisker pace for under 28 minutes.
My first week culminated in a 15-minute run at ‘race pace’, sandwiched between five minutes of easy warm-up and recovery walk respectively. I looked forward to this all week as a test of how far I could run within that time frame. However, come the morning, I was greeted by icy 0C temperatures, with myself in my inadequate shorts and long sleeved running top. Once the 5 minutes were up, I went hell for leather. 3 minutes in, I started to feel sick, believing the cold air was getting to me (though it was more likely the cereal I’d just eaten). Determined not to give up, I clocked my first mile in 6:51. Get in, I thought. The challenge was then to sustain that pace. I knew I could get the second mile inside the fifteen minutes, and so I did. Every fibre of my body wanted to jack it in – my mindset had other ideas. I passed the two mile mark with around 35 seconds to spare. My pace had dropped a little, but I had done it.
I collapsed once I got through the door. Not involuntarily, just that I finally cracked to sheer exhaustion as I heaved for breath on the floor, eventually reminding myself I still had to cool down.
Still, first week completed, I have every reason to be positive. My times seem to be steady and around what I anticipated. Though more importantly, its about getting in shape. I struggled to get any time in to focus on core exercises or any sort of general exercise/cross training, which is something I need to make more time for, certainly. I’m confident this will all fall into place, though.
The weeks ahead are going to provide sterner challenges than this, but its one that I relish. What I’d give for warmer mornings or a pair of gloves, though!