Hitting my stride…

Sunday’s long run was only as long as Saturday’s in the end – four miles, but I used it to control my pace and breathing. Doing laps around the block, each one a mile long, I ran like clockwork, completing each of the first three miles in 7:30, and only speeding up (and nearly killing myself) on the final lap, when I knew I didn’t have to keep anything in the tank. It’s a great feeling to lengthen your stride and open up the throttle on the home straight, stretching muscles you thought were spent and finding reserves you didn’t know you had. Always finish strong, no matter how the race went.
I finished the four miles in 29 minutes, (which means the last lap was a full minute faster than the previous three) which is a vast improvement in consistency; there was no stop-starting, no run-walk-run, just a steady pace throughout.
While I wasn’t happy with the overall speed I was running (It’s a very slow pace for me), I know that with longer runs, the endurance will pick up and the pace itself will quicken as my body gets used to running longer and longer. This week is a series of shorter runs, mostly only 3 miles, so I will use those to run at a quicker pace, probably around the 6 minutes per mile speed, with just an extended eight mile run on Sunday.
My morning weigh in told me that I’ve lost nearly half a kilo in the last week too, which is great, considering my peanut habit seems to have been replaced by a biscuit habit…
It used to be that when I ran, I used the time to clear my head, to stop the world for a little while, and just focus on the road. Since I started training for the marathon, however, my mind during the run is focused on figures, on times and distances, on where I should be at any particular point, on what lies ahead in the next minute. I’m not sure if I prefer it or not, but it is certainly sobering, knowing that in exactly forty-five seconds, I will be approaching the steepest part of the course, but once that has passed, It will be back onto that home straight, a little over 600 meters of wide pavement, with no obstructions and a chance to really stretch my legs.
Injury wise, the blister on the sole of my foot is healing nicely, my back is the best it’s been in years, and the only issue I have right now is that nagging pain in my knee, which I think is due to me running slightly different because of the blister. It doesn’t hurt that much though, and when I run, I don’t feel a pain at all. All in all, I’m in great shape and looking forward to running crazy distances over the coming weeks and pushing myself further than ever before.

I’ve read some interesting stats online; that marathon runners tend to be older – it seems that as we slow down, we tend to run further. Most marathoners tend to be in their mid-to-late thirties, with no upper age limit. Sprinting it seems is a young man’s game, but endurance is for those who endure…

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