When I started racing, training mostly consisted of pounding the pavements, trails or treadmill for long periods of time. As I started to get fitter, I’d notice the distance I could run without feeling like I wanted to die had significantly increased and I was getting slightly faster, but that was what bothered me. It was only slightly faster. I used to do quite a bit of weight training and go to classes, but since I became a swimming teacher and don’t get out of the pool until 6pm every night, by the time I’m home and fed most of the classes at my local gym have finished. I used to LOVE going to spin classes and before my wedding I became a total spin addict. Now the majority of the spin classes are starting just as I’m climbing out the pool, dripping wet, freezing and in desperate need of my dinner. So I got into a cycle of getting home, having some dinner, going out for a run then coming home to watch some TV, catch up with Craig and go to bed. Another day over.
A few months ago my friend told me about a circuits class that was being run for woman at the local MMA gym. It consisted of pad work, weights, cardio and pain. But good pain she assured me! I thought why not, I needed something else to try and I really wanted to improve my strength so one Tuesday I tagged along with her and her sister. The good thing about the class is they let you work at your own pace and ability. If you are struggling with a move they let you miss a few out then join in again and don’t scream at you for doing so, as I’ve seen countless times in the past. But as I’m quite competitive, especially with myself, I wasn’t going to give up. One of the most painful sets to date was at the class last Tuesday and I think my butt has only just forgiven me. We started with 2 minutes of squats and then went straight into 30 seconds of straight punching with hand weights. After 10 seconds rest we then went into 1 minute 30 seconds of squats and and minute of straight punching. And so on until we had come down the pyramid and went right back up it again. Ouch. On Wednesday morning I waddled up to work with my bum and thighs feeling a bit tight but nothing could prepare me for the DOMS I suffered on Thursday. Oh.my.god. I struggled to get out of bed, I struggled to walk the dog and every second word out my word had to be censored (I work with kids!). Usually a bit of doms doesn’t bother me, but this was something else.
On Friday I decided I needed to stretch my legs out so I planned a little jog along the old railway line from Tillicoultry to Dollar. “It’s nice and flat and I’ll only a do a few slow miles” I told myself. But once I was out and running, I got a little carried away. 7 miles averaging 8 and a half minute miles. Ooops…. I was trying to save my running legs for Saturdays long run with Jemma! But I was feeling good, so on I plodded…
Saturday morning I was up and over to Jemma’s by 9am. We hopped in the car and drove over to Mugdock country park and set out on our planned 17 mile adventure. About 4 miles in I started to feel a tad queasy. At 7 miles I was struggling to pick my feet up and at 9 miles we looked at each other knowing what the other was thinking. I just wasn’t feeling it, which was a total shame as the weather and surroundings were beautiful. I just knew I didn’t have another 8 miles in me. So we plodded back to the car and finished our run at just under 11 miles. Not too bad, but we were both disappointed we didn’t make our target.
However, I must add that even though I have only been doing it for a couple of months, I’m pretty sure the circuit training is doing something. Since the beginning of the year I have shaved nearly 2 minutes off my 10k time and a whole 5 minutes off my half marathon time. So maybe the pain is worth it after all?
I’m off work for a week from Wednesday so in that time I plan to run long distances, take amazing photos and eat some left over Easter crap (seeing as I didn’t get an egg… grumble, grumble…). I think I deserve it!
Just out of interest, what do you take with you on a long run? I take a few gels and a couple of jaffa cakes, but what other treats do you fuel yourself with? I need ideas!