Where I was coming into September

Running target for 2019: 1092 kilometres

Total distance ran coming into September: 1149 kilometres (57 kilometres over my target for the year)

Recorded in my little tracking spreadsheet.

Feel free to follow me on Strava, where all my activities are shared.

How September 2019 went

Goal: Run every other day if possible.

One of the neater features of Strava is the training log which makes checking this relatively easy. (Hey there pertinent analytics!)

A screen grab of my Strava training log. I've drawn over it gaps in running and tallied up my runs for the weeks.
A screen grab of my Strava training log. I've drawn over it gaps in running and tallied up my runs for the weeks.

My Strava training log shows a slow start to the month, four days off running. So week one and I am not running every other day. Just one run on one of those days would have been better. It was a tough working week, but I could have found even half an hour. Later on in the month I had another two days without running but I had a 20KM weekend and my legs ached a bit, so nothing to worry about there. Run to what your body tells you.

Verdict: Initial 👎🏼, afterwards 👍🏼.

Goal: Run three times a week, at least.

Apart from the first week of the month I did this.

Verdict: Initial 👎🏼, afterwards 👍🏼.

Goal: Run at least 100 kilometres. See if I can get close to that stretch goal of 1302 for the year.

Nicked this on the last day of the month, bringing up 101 kilometres. Not the most I have run in a month but there was a bit more thought into some of the running, focusing on control of pace (sometimes slower to help with going on for longer).

Goal: Embrace the treadmill!

Last month I promised — with the days of shorter natural light — I would go back to the treadmill more. I did 17 runs, 8 were on the treadmill. It also gave me the opportunity to get some stretch and weight work in on the gym visits too. The treadmill was also handy to get a handle on my speed and tempo ahead of a race. Probably need some bangin’ playlists to get me through more of this, mind. Feel free to share you Apple Music playlists.

Verdict: 👍🏼👍🏼

Goal: Enjoy it still!

I am. And that’s probably the biggest reason I run: Because I enjoy it.

The words

Running highlights:

  • First big run of the month (not riffing on Arab Strap, honest) was further exploration of Esholt Wood. Did it at Dog Pace, which suited the dog and suited me so I could nosey round the area. Accepting Dog Pace has been A Hard Mental Challenge, but it’s good to have Scrogs along as a running mate and she enjoys the tracks in the woods. If she’s happy I should be happy. Accept the conditions! If you live locally I totally recommend those woods. Not flat, rocky in places, but lots of tracks and lots of fun.

  • Early morning run seeing how far I’d get by running for nearly fifteen minutes then running back to the hotel, in Newcastle. The pavements on that route were excellent. Here to hear more about the excellent running pavements of the world. Tell me tell me.

  • A weekend run around Esholt Woods that started off quite grottily, but turned into something a bit more lively inside and outside me. I was always warned off the word nice in English classes (“there are better words”), but it is just nice when that happens.

  • The next day tried for something 10KM-ish, out to Esholt Woods then back along the canal, and pushing the pace a little. This set the seed for trying to do a 10KM race. Later that day I booked a place on the Leeds Abbey Dash, two weeks away.

  • End of working day wander-run up in Newcastle after a 4am start to get to the Toon. Personal highlight was going past a Greggs factory. The bit when the path just ended and I was doing an awkward creeping jog over the grass banks alongside an A-road less so.

  • I tried a newer loop across the fields at Apperley Bridge (walked it before but never ran it). Bit of an iffy route. There was a bit where I felt I was hurdling stiles.

  • Lots of controlled treadmilling. Every visit was for A Reason and with Conditions.

  • The Leeds Abbey Dash. On my birthday. I haven’t raced 10km before and had been thinking of doing more races. The treadmilling leading up was an attempt to be “ready”. I went in thinking Just above one hour would be OK. Closer to 55 minutes would be pretty good. Closer to 50 minutes would be a stretch goal. Anything closer to 45 minutes would be doping territory. I deliberately started right at the back (weaving past other races isn’t something I have a lot of experience in and felt this would be a good attempt) and looked to see just how it’d go. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it’d be. I felt springy, I was smiling at some points (how running has changed me), and at the turn (it was a 5Km out, 5KM back course) I thought a sub-50 minute time might be possible. About 2KM from the end it was a push though. Came in at about 50 minutes and 40 seconds, just over sub-50, and a personal best. I slung up a Just Giving page to raise some cash (as I was running on My Birthday I thought it would be a Good Thing) and raised over £300. Thank you to everyone who pledged. I think that actually drove me to dig in deep at the end and try and stay close to a 50 minute time. To start near the back of 6763 people and end up 4069th is alright. It was also ace to see Russ after I had finished. Russ has been one of a few offering words of advice and encouragement over the year. Thanks, Russ, and everyone else!

I retired my Nike Pegasus 35s after the Dash. 550km was enough, and the squeak they had had since about 175km was starting to grate a little. I am trying out some New Balance 880s and Hoka One One Cliftons for the next month.

Thanks to a kind soul at Tracksmith I got hold of the most recent issues of Tracksmith’s Meter. I haven’t read one yet, but I will the weekend I am writing this.

I am also doing climbing again, and watching a vid of Alex Honnold he talked about his climbing notebook. Every climb he makes a note, every bit of training he makes a note, and going back over the noters in one place allows him to look at patterns, trends, and improvements. “A little over time can be a lot.” Made me think about what I’d write in a notebook versus in “digital” notes (Apple Notes, Evernote, Notability) versus “just” tracked and analysis by things like Nike Run Club and Strava. (Disclosure: I have a paper notebook for work, which I am reasonably religious about using. But not so for running.)

I am looking ahead to 2020 in a lot of ways, including getting some running lined up. I’ve already got a place on the Vale of York 10k and I am going to try my first marathon, in Manchester. The Race to the Stones 100km sounds like the kind of craziness this running lark encourages me to do. Dalby Forest looks a fun place to run so my eyes are peeled for whatever pops up there. To help plan I asked for some recommendations on Twitter and gathered the responses onto a board on Miro. I’ve started a list of runs I am doing in 2020 in Evernote, which I have made openly available. I also have a hit list of runs to do which is also openly available. If there’s any races or runs you recommend please me know!

Found there is a word for how I feel when I go running. Surprisingly it’s German. “Waldeinsamkeit”. Good, good word. Untranslatable to English apparently. Learn about it!

Goals for November

The running stretch goal for the year - 1302km - is within sight. That’s gonna be passed this month.

Going to try and run 150 kilometres this month. That’d put me on target for 1500 kilometres for the year.

Find a new place with lots of tracks to explore — and go and try it.

Try an evening street run. I’ve looked at a couple of routes near home. And I’ve a flashy bright yellow top now.

Try one of those park runs. I’ve registered.

I am going to try writing and publishing weekly run notes. Not sure if they’ll keep this format but for a month I think they’ll be a worthwhile exercise, especially with the cold and rain. Might give me the chance to reflect weekly and plan the next week a little more. Shall see.

Try and finally get my weight under 13 stone. Finally. Please. Finally. The running’s not about losing weight but I have an inkling if I can shed another half a stone I can be doing 10km closer to 45 minutes without needing a drugs test. Waldeinsamkeit!

Enjoy it still!


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