Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Four lots of four minutes

Last night, I went to collect my younger daughter from the station, and while I was waiting, I did a bit of jogging, including a couple of bursts of speed (for all of thirty seconds or so).  I really rather enjoyed the fast bits, even though my shins ached afterwards – served me right for not warming up enough.

One of my online running buddies, Oldgirl, has joined a running group, Jog Scotland, and they’ve been doing training sessions of 4 minute runs with 2 minutes recovery.  Sounded like I could manage that, and it would make a change for running a mile.  Another NHS couch to 5k ‘graduate’, Aftabs, has also been using intervals to build pace, and walking breaks have recently been mentioned on  Fit for a Year but it isn’t something I’ve really tried before.  So, time to try something new.

It was raining this morning – a good opportunity for some faster running.  It’s been a while since I’ve run in the rain – it was lovely.  Even when a car went through a puddle and splashed me – I just laughed!

I did a longer warm up walk than usual, and then off I went, really running as fast as I could, heart-rate going up higher than usual.  Four minutes seemed longer than I’d expected it to!  The first run was along pavements, with a couple of blind corners, so I was happy with the 11:37 min/mile pace.

Two minutes walking did feel just about enough to bring my heart rate back down to a comfortable level, then off I went again.  I did three more lots of four minutes –  10:35 , 11:05 and 11:27 min/mile (the mile I ran yesterday took 12:16).  I nearly didn’t do the last one, as I had to turn round and head back away from home again, and I’d nearly had enough, but I’m glad I did, as it wasn’t as slow as I’d thought it would be.

pace and heart-rate

Pace and heart-rate on the second 4 minute run

It’s reassuring to see my heart rate recovery during the walks.

Heart rate recovery

Heart rate recovery during walk

This seems a good way to edge up the pace that my legs expect to run at – in total I ran 1.45 miles, but faster than when I run a mile.

Well, after all that, I decided I deserved a reward – a Mrs Crimble’s jam coconut ring.  Yummy.

Oh. just checked the packet:  Jam coconut ring – 723 calories.  My running and walking (according to Garmin) – 243 calories.  Hey ho – I’d better not have too much lunch!


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The inner gazelle

Now I do realise that these aren’t gazelles, but it’s the nearest photo I’ve got – taken on holiday in Norfolk last week.

Fallow deer

Fallow deer at Holkham Hall, Norfolk

Well, yesterday on the NHS Couch to 5k site there was a brief discussion about running like gazelles or hippos. And on Red Hen’s blog she was debating whether she felt like a supermodel when she was running – and on how long it takes before a run stops feeling ghastly.

So, in the interests of research, I went out BEFORE BREAKFAST to run. Partly because I’d told three people online that I was going to run today, and I wanted to make sure I actually did it. I think I’ve only once gone out before breakfast to run before – my hubby was a bit worried about me.

I ran 5k – woo hoo! My last 5k was way back at the end of June (Race for Life), and I’ve only run more than a mile a couple of times since then, so I wasn’t sure I’d manage to keep going. But I did, and at not too bad a time either, for me, 43 min 20 s. I nearly stopped after 30 minutes, but it was a downhill bit then, so decided to keep going and imagine my inner gazelle/supermodel. Nice feeling, going faster and with heart rate a bit lower, sailing along. Mmmmmmm!

It then goes up a steep bit of hill, which felt much more hippoish, but I managed to speed up again for the last kilometer, which is flat. I wore my heart-rate monitor, just to see what it was like after several weeks of not much running, and that last bit was pushing it a bit. Anything over 160 tends to feel a bit uncomfortable. I don’t need a HRM to tell me when it’s got that high, as I can feel it – it’s just interesting to look at the record afterwards.

Heart rate graph

5k run heart rate

I was also keeping an eye on the time, to see how things were feeling as I went along, following up the discussion on Red Hen’s blog. At 2 minutes in, it was horrible (though surprising to see that I was actually going at my fastest then, as I thought I’d started off slowly). Still horrible at 5 and 7 minutes. A bit better by 10, but, ugh, 11 minutes and I wanted to stop – but probably that’s because it was a bit uphill then and in full sun, and the slight breeze had dropped. It’s also where my heart-rate jumped up from 140 to 160 in less than a minute – maybe it was an adrenalin surge at the thought of keeping going! After that it was pretty much ok, other than feeling pretty drained for that last km.

Maybe one day I’ll find out if it gets even easier after the first 5 miles? 😀