I have not been here for more than three months now. It is amazing how you can drift into the habit of not doing something and then look back and say "was it that long ago?"
…. Well yes it was that long ago and so it is high time I stopped burying my head and started getting back to normal.
It has been a strange few months though. There has been the tail end of my concerns about my heart and blood pressure. My wife has had shingles, and the firm I work for has been taken over by another company, who are now in the process of realising synergies (i.e. management speak for redundancies). There have also been normal domestic disasters such as the kitchen flooding.
Somehow or other I have lost track and just not kept up with blogging. But there is no reason not to start again because running is now quite good and this is a running blog.
Firstly my health seems to have recovered. The echocardiogram showed nothing in particular, just some thickening and minor valve leakage, whilst the exercise test showed nothing unusual at all. So everything is OK. The only conclusion is that I had some sort of infection that hung around for about three months.
However I have changed my pattern of running and, accidentally, rediscovered my own style. I believe that we all have our own style - not just in the way we run but also how often, how far and how fast we train. The big trick is in recognising it amongst all the conflicting advice.
Some people have to run everyday, some people need to go far, others want to run shorter with more intensity and there are training schedules for all these approaches. However my approach is much more recreational, it is not for nothing that I call myself a soft-core runner.
- Firstly I have the idea that no run is a training run - it is a run for its own sake, something to lift the spirits and be enjoyed on its own terms. This means that progress is seen as an indirect benefit not the main aim of a programme.
- Secondly I am happier if I only run about three times a week as this helps maintain a freshness and stops me thinking of the run as a duty.
- Thirdly I run at a pace that feels comfortable - neither too slow nor too fast. With this I depart from all the training advice, which dictates that you do long mileage at a very easy pace and mix this with speed sessions. With me there is little difference in pace between long and short runs, only about three quarters of a minute.
- Fourthly, I concentrate on trying to keep my body relaxed. I might not have the build to float over the ground but I don't have to try to pound it into submission.
- Fifthly I make a point of having a good long stretching session at the end.
I have only been running about 10-15 miles a week but this feels quite comfortable and gives me a chance to look ahead to the rest of the year. Perhaps I will run three half marathons and see if I can improve my time over the series. I don't know
But I think my first target should be to regularly update this blog!!!