An email arrived in my in-box "Park Run" a 5k local run, free and timed for anyone that wanted to turn up. All you needed to do was register, get a barcode printed out, then turn up, run, get a finish time and you have a marker to start you off.
To go or not to go that is the question, always easier to sit at home and think about it than get out and do it, but that's not helpful for my training or my motivation.
So I arrived at the Park Run location just after 8.30 am on a Saturday morning to give it a go. Time in my head of 40 mins.
I am sure you can convince your body to achieve a certain time by just thinking about it, because a lot of run and more walk later, I finished just under my target time of 40 mins (39.35). Looked like I'd cut a corner or two though as my Garmin read 4.92k. Hey ho, it's a start eh? And now I feel very virtuous for having gone out to do something for myself.
Checked out the website and it said I did 38.44, well who am I to argue then?
I now have a benchmark to my training, so now to get practicing and see how well I can improve it.
First stop my beginner groups. At the moment I am leading 2 groups for the new Run in England initiative and as beginners they are starting from scratch to build them up nicely, the advantage is that I too am benefitting from this gentle build up strategy. My only worry is that they will build up quicker than I can and I will struggle to keep up with them.
Then there are the regular running club nights, I turn up to most of them and manage to do something, but at my stage of running at the moment find that too much too soon is not helpful, and while everyone might be comfortable with a set off from the start gentle jog (which equates to the speed of my fast run) my body and lungs are not happy and need a more gentle build up. I had thought about turning up half hour before training begins just to warm myself up, but life has a way of intervening with that.
Structure is I think the way to go then. IF my beginners are building up nicely with a build up plan then I too need something similar. So back to the drawing board and planning stages....and then to the food intake.