Getting back on track

I’m learning now, more than ever that time and perseverance are the only things that will get me comfortably to the start line of Paris Marathon next April. In previous years, my training has been quite erratic – I’d do the odd short mid-week run one week, and four medium runs the next, back-to-backing them in order to make up for missed sessions and completely neglecting any cross training at all.

This year, I’ve been trying to ease back into my training by simply making myself exercise regularly. I’m not stressing about miles, or formal training plans as yet (though with my next half marathon just under 5 weeks away, that should probably happen sooner rather than later). I’m just working on getting my running and cross training into my regular routine, and trying my best to be consistent.

So far, it seems to have worked. I’ve been running 5k (ish) during my Monday lunchtimes, running 7 miles to work on a Thursday, and swimming for 40 minutes on a Friday before work. Whilst cycling has taken a bit of a back seat since Brighton, I’ve still been trying to cycle to work once a week – and boy, is it tough being out of shape!

My friend and I ran to work for the first time after an extended break 5 weeks ago, and whilst the first week was awful – slow, painful, and with tons of walking breaks – we’ve continued to drag ourselves out of bed at 6h30 every Thursday and into our running gear to give it another go. I genuinely thought for the first couple of weeks that I wouldn’t ever get back to my old fitness level – but during one of my early morning grumbles, my friend turned to me with a bright smile and exclaimed:

But our fitness .. We’re chasing it down right now! And each run we do, we’re catching it up!

That was exactly what I needed to hear. Running with someone so positive has had a big impression on my own motivation – and when you’re plodding along at 7am on the way to work, half asleep, aching and wondering how on earth you ran a marathon just a few months ago … Having a friend beside you who whoops, cheers and punches the sky every time you pass another runner (in the opposite direction, of course) is a fab way to snap yourself out of all of the negative thinking. No, it doesn’t make the run hurt less – but a smile can do wonders!

And, as it turns out, so can stubbornly heading out every week to try and try and try. Our average pace has gone from 12:32, to 11:32, to 11:20, to 11:14, to 10:57. The early mornings are paying off, and we’re finally sneaking back down to our old pace. It feels AWESOME. And it’s nice to see my own times go down, too – I run a solo mile to her house before heading on towards the office, and that mile has gone from 11:50, to 11:11, to 10:50, to 10:35, to 10:05. Not particularly speedy by most people’s standards, but brilliant for me – and I’m the only person I’m currently racing 🙂

On top of it all, today was our best lunchtime 5k since the marathon, with an average pace of 10:09 and a best mile of 9:50!

I think that’s worth giving up a lie-in or two.

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