Sunday, 26 October 2008

finding the point to running

it's been three weeks since the triathlon, which almost makes me laugh... mostly because my 'whats-the-point' level for exercise has already reached familiar heights.

so, what have i been doing? for the last three weeks, i've been pretty consistent at going to the gym for strength training, doing classes (spinning, pump, step), swimming (albeit as a wind-down, on my way to the spa...) and a two day cycle!

one thing i haven't been doing.... is running.

in an attempt to find some focus/motivation/point to running and exercising -- i've just read this article,

here's a little extract which brings to attention exactly the opposite of what i wanted:

"For most people the ultimate question is: ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Yet, for triathletes, the greatest dilemma is more along the lines of: ‘How can I achieve multiple personal bests next season, while crushing my rivals like ants?’

One popular approach is to swim, bike and run like a maniac all winter and then expect results across the board next year. But those treading this path usually learn that improving all three sports at once is like the Holy Grail quest, and leaves you with a broken body and spirit.

A more measured and long-term approach is to work selectively on one element of the sport until you master it. And why not your running? After all it’s often the most crucial discipline, the one on which most races are won and lost. Endless swimming can be boring. Lapping the pool every day may well make you more slippery in the water, but its mind-numbing properties and inevitable ‘eau de chlorine’ whiff won’t have a positive impact on your social life. What’s more, the relative time gains in the shortest triathlon discipline aren’t going to eat into your overall time that much. As for cycling in the British autumn and winter, the experience can be summed up in four words: wet, miserable, dark and dangerous. So running it is…"

i used to enjoy running, what happened? i got competitive, compared myself to others, felt like a blob, and the hate was seeded. but what if i could re-discover the delights...? i'm tentative even as i write that: crikey, not a good start.

so kids, it's not what i wanted to hear. but i'm going to try it; just for a month. the first step is 'slow and steady' - getting used to running 3 times a week - but in this weather, should i be aiming for treadmill (boring) or outside (slippery)? i've always found treadmill running a bit of a cop-out - but here's an interesting article comparing the two:

article outcome: 1% incline on the treadmill seems to level out the difference as much as possible. done!

not one to follow a punishment plan designed by others, here's my aim for the next month:

2 x week : 30 min run outside at my usual plodding pace

1 x week: 20 min run on the treadmill at slightly faster pace

1 x week: 50 min spinning class

1 x week: 45 min swim at a med-high pace

1 x week: strength training at the gym and/or pump class (mostly focussed on strengthening core)

this seems like a lot, but i'll be able to combine some of the activities on the same day (ie. running for 30 mins outside on my way up to the gym, to go for a swim or do a pump class). and anyways, i've just joined a fabulous new gym and need to get my monies worth! it was voted 2nd best gym in london, and is my treat for dealing with a lifetime of showering with hair caked to the bottom of my feet... hmmmmm.... tasty....

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