4 weeks of my return to running plan complete and so far, all going well. A commitment to running three times a week was the key thing, (with 2 the first week as otherwise it would have meant running three days on the trot - not a good idea!) and sure enough I hit that target. I had no real mileage plans for running this month - just consistency, aiming for at least 2 miles per run, building up the time and distance slowly.
As well as the physical side of running, I’ve been focusing on the mental side as well - I’ve always found that reading about running makes me more enthusiastic about it too, so discovering Runners World magazine on the library website has been excellent. Also good for enthusiasm is new kit - and I’m loving my new Capri-length leggings from Lucy Locket Loves. Friends have been singing their praises for a long while, so when I saw some good deals come up I leapt at the opportunity and bought a couple of pairs, and they are indeed every bit as good as I was told, I’ll be buying more! Also finding new routes to run - like the gorgeous patch of woodland above - is always a great incentive. Views like the one in the photo just stop me in my tracks every time!
As anyone who runs knows, one of the big temptations is to try to do too much, too soon - increasing your training load too much can easily lead to injury, but when the enthusiasm is running high it’s REALLY easy to be drawn into overdoing it! Being an impatient sort, I struggle with this as much as anyone, but have tried to rein it back as much as possible - 4.5 miles in week one, 8.6 in week two, 10 miles last week and 13 this week. It’s amazing how quickly the body remembers how the increased mileage feels too - 4.5 mile runs this week felt no harder in terms of effort than those 2 miles back in week one!
One more thing I have done to bolster the enthusiasm is to upgrade my Strava subscription to the premium level. For the equivalent of £4 a month it gives me far more stats than the free version did - and I’m endlessly fascinated and motivated by the facts and figures around my running, so that is guaranteed to act as encouragement. My current favourite thing is that I can compare my efforts on particular stretches of runs (known as segments on Strava) to effectively compete against myself which definitely appeals!
So - where from here? Well initially it’s just continuing with the three runs a week, and keep chipping away at my annual mileage target too - I signed up for the 500km challenge again way back in January and thanks to a fair few months during the summer with almost no running at all I entered September a fair way behind on that. Having said this, the same thing occurred last year, and I made the target with a few days to spare, so I’m confident that all being well I can do the same again. I’ve set myself a goal for 50 miles this month., as well as joining in with a few virtual challenges too. I want to try to do at least one run a week where I note my 5k time to feed through for “Notparkrun”. And finally I want to start working on increasing my distance again, so one run per week will get slightly longer, traded off against another getting slightly shorter.
Above all - and by far the most important thing - is to keep enjoying it, that is, after all, the best incentive of all!