Sunday, 23 October 2011

Timed or timeless?

October, the month of Autumnal leaves and burning orange heathers across the forest as the purple colour fades away. Ferns fading from green to brown and my training fading from bad to worse. Um.....well no actually the training is going pretty well :-)

I decided that trying to run out with others just was doing nothing for either my training or my confidence, so nothing for it but to be self sufficient.

I worked out that if I planned a run/walk strategy and practiced it well, it would come as second nature and I'd be on the way to dealing with the longer distances while still not being fully fit.

I have a Garmin 305 I ask to beep at me nicely every 2 minutes, every mile and when I drop below a certain pace. Armed with this my training runs have been fairly successful as I know when my next planned break is so can push myself until then.

Then disaster......... well actually no, success (see I am getting this positive vibe going eh?) I headed out for a planned 11k ish run, knowing it would be nice to be back by 10.30 (having set off at 9am) an achievable goal I thought. Until I got to the start of my run and found I had left my trusty Garmin at home. What to do?

Well, I thought.....let's just see how good my internal pacing clock is. So setting off on the planned course, I knew the pace I could comfortably travel at and I knew the time I wanted to be back by. Time to put this internal clock into practice.

Almost half way round I realised that I felt I was slower than I should be, so mentally revised my finish time to give me a range of 10 minutes rather than a set time. Look....I know I should have picked up my pace instead but that is another training plan entirely, I am still on the get me round principle.

So taking my walk breaks only when I really felt I needed them and goading myself into continuing on the running path otherwise, I started to settle into the run. I am certain I could have gone further, but will save that for another day. I arrived back around 7 minutes after my initial expected time to complete the run in 1hr 35. I felt good, I hadn't missed my watch and I had achieved my goal (sort of - but modified by the way i felt I was running not by looking at the watch to see)

The moral of the tale - ditch the watch every so often, go on a planned route and set yourself a time to be back. See how close you can get to that time and start to recognise your own feel for pacing. It gives you a different challenge for a run rather than always focussing on time or pace and does really make a difference to the way you feel.