Last week all in all was a good running week, including three sessions (the experimental short run, the medium length (8.3km) running buddy run, and the 5km parkrun on Saturday). I could have done more runs, but I am trying to avoid going crazy and diving into big distance increases. Taking into account my recent mojo issues none of them were awful although none set my World alight.
The highlight in the end was simple - the parkrun on Saturday turned out to be a PB. Why say it like that? Well because when I crossed the line it didn’t feel like a PB, in so far as it didn’t feel smooth, relaxed, or moreover quick! I went out from the ‘gun’ with the intention to get a PB and so stood further up the starting funnel. Over the first km I felt I hadn’t moved far enough up the funnel because I couldn’t get a rhythm going and was swerving off the path here and there to get around groups of runners. Kilometer number two was where I started wrestling with whether I should be forefoot landing or heel striking as I discovered I have already developed two distinct styles (how in a short time I did not know, I am old I am not meant to learn new tricks) and could feel real differences between them. I opted to heel strike, as I knew I was asking for calf trouble if I got carried away ‘forefooting’ or ‘midfooting’ (I am not 100% sure where the new strike is).
So I wobbled through the middle km musing ‘those’ changes and trying to run relaxed with whatever my feet were, or weren’t, doing. At this point I was musing chasing red shirts or blue shirts for the second half of my negative split effort. The fourth km got very difficult, I was sure I wasn’t on a PB by this point and wasn’t seeing the other runners coming back to me as fast as previously (“because you should further up the funnel dummy” – I realised later). I was puffing and blowing at this point wondering why it was so sunny after cooling rain had been threatening and falling for most of the rest of the morning. It was hot!
The final km of the parkrun in through the trees began to feel a little better, mostly because fatigued had wiped earlier musing from my overactive monkey brain. I was chasing blue tops by this point, which was great as there were quite a few of them. I held my final burst for the last 100m rather than 200m - unlike every week, and finished absolutely shattered – like every week. I headed off home confident that a PB had eluded me telling myself that the GPS told me the same as it had the previous time... happily I was wrong I had bagged a PB by fully 30sec! (big enough for me and my fragile mojo to celebrate).
Otherwise there is slow progress as my weight has probably stabilised but is showing no signs of dropping. I have though been getting a bit more sleep and if I can do that more consistently I think I really will see a difference. A bit like seeing the model car you just bought on absolutely every street corner, I have been seeing and hearing references to quality sleep and training all week – as if to bash me over the head with just how bad at resting I had gotten during my summer slump.
All the ruminating and stride analysis did lead to one same lightbulb moment, which is this – I march! When I walk I over stride and smack me feet into the ground as if I was on the parade square. I have been tempted to blame being an army brat (child of a forces family), or the fact that I am tall and maybe carried on showing off my huge stride as a kid into later life. But whatever the reason I have been tried to consciously walk ‘light’, not exactly forefoot walking (not sure that does or should exist) just walking without the almighty thumps I normally do. I think it was this that has engrained the running stride changes in my muscle memory and that complained as I started banging my legs against the ground in kilometre two of the parkrun.
Whatever last week was or was not I am happy that I am trying changes, and that some unexpected outcomes, if not the expected outcomes, are reminding me that it is all worthwhile.