Thursday, January 02, 2014

All I Need is a Little Progress

One of the pleasures of winter sun is seeing the tracery of branches against a clear blue sky.

Today was one of those days that remind you why you run - why it can lift your spirits. The sun was out, the sky was blue, the air was sharp but not too cold, the wind was light. In other words the conditions were just about perfect and it would have been hard not to enjoy yourself. 

Again the aim was to run easily and today I tried harder to keep my heart rate down. Still not totally successful but a couple of beats better than yesterday. I can’t make a quantitative comparison with yesterday because it was a different route, slightly more hilly. All I have to go on are observations when it was flat and I seemed to find it a little bit easier. That is good enough for me this year because I am taking a bit of an old school approach - running just by time and heart rate. The distance I post on the blog is done using Gmaps and gives an indication of how things are going but speed and distance are not measurements I need to know on the run. In basic training they can take care of themselves.

The slight sense of progress is one of the things that can keep you going (and something I lost last year). It doesn’t have to be much and it could be anything: you can go a bit faster, a bit easier, or just come back feeling more relaxed. It doesn’t matter, except that you need to know you are getting something back from your effort. You could be someone like Chris Boardman who is fascinated by measuring everything and who was never interested in anything where he couldn’t see a natural progression and found his satisfaction in the challenge of objective improvement and winning (as a thirteen year old he rode his first time trial in 29:43, a week later he rode it in  28 and it was that that hooked him`). You could at the opposite end, like me, and chase feelings and an increased sense of well being. Whatever it is we are all looking for we need to know we are not wasting our time.

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