Recovery Run?

Here is my top 3 why today’s run can’t count as recovery run:

– average heart rate too high … 4 beats

– I ran 2 hills

– I ran parts at threshold

Here is why it might still be OK:

– I only did 1 hour instead of 1:20

– I ran on varied surfaces

– it felt easy

I clearly have to adjust my attitude and get back to slowness … tomorrow I shall try again and I have an entertaining plan for Saturday where I plan to just run as long and slow as I can either north or south along the sea.

Cathartic Workout

Those of you who follow my blog and read about my slow running adventure know that I keep inventing workouts to suit my slowness. Workouts like ‘reverse hill sprints’ where I walk up the hill and run down to keep my heart rate low and run in an aerobic state.

Today I invented the ‘Cathartic Workout’. Here is what it does and the meaning (freely adopted to suit my imagination) and how it works:

Definition: A cathartic run provides psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; causing catharsis, caused by the brexit. For some “crying is a cathartic release”, others might need stronger drugs like soccer, boxing or hiking.

Synonyms:purging, purifying, cleansing, cleaning, releasing, relieving, freeing, delivering, exorcising, ridding

What you need

You need a rainy morning like you can find it in the beautiful Ireland and UK. You need double decker buses and bad streets so rain can be collected in huge puddles. You also need a park with rugby fields that were just mowed the day before. You also need an aerobic base <):O) and glasses.

How it works

Walk fast up the hill. By the top of the hill you already crossed your aerobic heart rate threshold and don’t care that you can’t see anything (don’t forget to purge the glasses at the point where you can’t see through them anymore) and are soaking wet. You start the run downhills … the freshly washed air is purifying, but to prevent the heart rate from exploding you settle into a slow running rhythm that leads you up more hills to the rugby fields. There you forget and ignore your heart rate, speed up and run like crazy, because that’s what it is all about in this workout and you got the base to do it. Freeing …. is running across a field, wet with muddy grass, rain cooling the skin without a care in the world. Slowing down a little to collect the breath to repeat it again. The workout ends with waiting on the side of the road at a red light for a double decker bus for a complete cleanse and then, just to proof a point, run into every puddle on the road and race up the hill as fast as you can. Why? Running in the rain is already crazy and that’s how you exorcise any modern demon with style! In the end you are just relieved to get rid of your squeaking shoes and put on something dry.

Listening

Getting out for my run today was hard. Harder than usual. This might have been due to the fact that I forgot to plan/do recovery week … but let me start at the beginning …

It was Friday morning and I had completely forgotten to check the news before heading out for my run. I just didn’t … and I didn’t when I came back. Clients called and work completely took over .. until shortly before noon. Fortunately I had gotten most of the important stuff out of my way when I answered the phone and one of my UK clients brought me the news.

I was shocked. Not so much by the fact that I had forgotten to check the news, but how the vote turned out. Yes … indeed … the remain bubble had burst and I don’t want to go into this here on my blog. What’s this got to do with running? The news completely zapped my energy and spirits. I did want to go out for a run and just go crazy, but I didn’t … I knew better than to let my mood take over and risk injury. To my surprise Saturday I woke up and didn’t feel like running … I checked my calendar and realized I had forgotten recovery week. I also felt bad. Partly because of the news and probably also partly because I was on a high fatigue level due to being close to recovery week as well as having had an increased work load. So I didn’t go for a run … for the whole weekend … and I took some time to feel bad about the brexit.

And you know, I think that is just what I needed. My Saturday was filled with switching between watching Bob Ross draw happy little trees and news/reports about the Brexit to try and understand.

Today getting out was harder than usual. However, since I had listened to my body and given it a bit of a time out, I knew I could ask to get me going again. Worst case I would just go to the beach (5 minute walk) and back … that ain’t hard .. is what I told myself. (Lying to myself is my top self motivation hack!).

While it wasn’t the best run I ever had, it was good to be out there. Good to get into my routine again. The sun on my skin and the dogs playing in the sea make it all relative. I run for a reason and I want to keep doing it. It makes this crazy life OK most of the time and like a grand adventure other times.

Listening is hard. Especially listening to my body. I feel that I learned to be a bit better at this over the past year and now it doesn’t take a full blown injury to make me listen, but a slight feeling. Then if I give in, a little bit, I can keep going on with renewed spirits.

Easy running gets faster and harder

I’ve observed quite some changes over the last couple of weeks. After warming up (~15 minutes walking) I used to get my heart rate up quite quickly to the 144 range and was struggling to keep it low as well as having to walk in between. Now it feels like ages until it moves over 130 (probably 5 minutes) and running at 144 feels like work. Not hard work, but the kind of work Michael Csikszentmihalyi describes in his book “Flow”. It’s demanding and full-filling, producing a state of flow. It’s not hard, I don’t feel I am powering down the beach, it’s really more like flowing. It however seems to still tax my system and provoke change.

Today’s run was an easy run. I do 3 of those per week. Their purpose is to help my body recover and repair. Afterwards I don’t want to stop and go home, I want to keep on running, but I don’t. I just keep this feeling and stash it away until the next day at 5am. Having it there, helps me to go to bed early and look forward to my morning runs.

Oh and yes I nearly forgot! I am also getting faster at the same low heart rate. Hoping to get in another MAF test soon to proof it, but my soft sand pace is now at a steady 9 min/km. Is my cadence improving? Only if I run downhills … so no … but I will figure it out eventually, maybe I just need to get even fitter!

The magic does not lie in the fact that I can, but that I do!

If a day starts like this:

… continues like that (btw this is the island you can see on the featured image to the very right with the little tower):

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… leads you through this:

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… speed does not matter, though I love the fact that I can run more and more parts of the hills and that I counted 3 purple dots (representing 185 steps per minute). 80 minutes of magic later, nothing can kill my mood today!

Playing with the Waves

Today I enjoyed 40 minutes of playing with the waves. The tide was out and the sun was shining. I feel fitter than I ever was in my life (and I have the data to back it up, so my head also knows it now).

I didn’t care about heart rate, cadence and only focused on not getting my feet wet, at least until I was done, when I gave them a quick sea bath.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to one year ago and tell myself how awesome it will be. I did doubt if a lot of slow running was worth it. Now I know it is, at least for me. I don’t regret a single minute I spend out there and wish I could do more. Yesterday I looked at my “bad run” tag and realized that it has been quite a while back. In the whole time I only had a handful of bad runs …

If you happen to be a beginner and stumble upon this post, believe me and everybody that says “take it slow”, “only run 3 days per week”, “recovery is key”, “drink enough water” and “forget pace run by time”. If all you want is a quick marathon bucket list tick off, ignore it, if you want to run for you life – take it slow.

Blues Brothers, a hill and a wishing stone

Finally I made it to my hill again. Going up there had three purposes:

  • get a vantage point and find The Chimney in the distance (can you spot it on the featured image?)
  • increase strength (I don’t go to the gym and Lydiard says one needs strength and to do hills)
  • increase cadence (running downhill like a Kenyan just rocks if your feet are strong enough)

I also change the music to play “Blues Brothers” and it worked! On Garmin it shows my average cadence ridiculously low, because I had to walk the steep parts, but it also colors the dots representing the steps. Red is bad and it goes up to purple! I reached purple today for the very first time 🙂 most of it was orange with some green, so it is working.

As a bonus for today, I want to show you The Wishing Stone!

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It is on top of my hill and in the summer you can find kids (young and old) running around it to the top. It is supposed to make your wish come true. It is dated 1852 and of unknown origin.

40 easy drizzle minutes

Today’s run started dry and with the smell of freshly washed sea air. The Dublin mountains were clearly visible in the distance. I tried to mixed it up and see if my cadence would increase with a different type of music. On today’s list: Fantasy Death Metal or whatever that genre is called.

It made for an entertaining run until I got to the end of the beach and the end of my Internet connection … I fiddled with the tech until I got too cold and headed back listening to an audio book I had on my phone already …  needless to say my cadence suffered again.

I need to remember to top up my Internet flat on time as it is crucial that I can be reached by phone … which won’t work if there is no connection doh! Fortunately it was early enough and I was only out for a quick run.

When I turned back it also started to drizzle and the wind came. Now while I am behind my desk the sun is shining! I wonder when the hail starts … four seasons in a day is so true for Ireland.

Finding The Chimney

It was a nice, clear day when I headed out – gone was the drizzle, fog and rain from the past days.

The rules for today were simple: Find The Chimney! Live to tell the tale!

The weather made it easy and I spotted The Chimney in the background a couple of kilometers in.

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As you can see from the photo, it was in quite a bit in the distance and so I continued along roads that seems to lead into the direction. As the vegetation has taken over everything on this beautiful Island, I had lost sight of The Chimney and looked out for other signs that could point me there. Could this be it?

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That doesn’t look like a chimney …

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But then it appeared again and I knew I was getting closer.

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Now this looks to my liking! Check out this wonderful trail:

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Up and up I went and had actually nearly forgotten why I was there, when I saw this:

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… and there it was in all it’s beauty!

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I just love old stone structures …

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And of course I love myself some nice views! Do you spot the area where the cave is? Way down there, is my beach and the “little” hill I like to run for breakfast.

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I don’t have to tell you how awesome it was to fly down the mountain afterwards. I think I found a new playground for weekends! There should be a mine somewhere right?

Other than that I’ll spend the rest of the day, feet up and tracking Randall running around Kerry and hopefully Paula who is Rock’n Rolling in Seattle!

What now?

Enjoy your weekend, stop reading blogs, get out there and the come back and link up your adventure here!

A little better

Today I set Spotify to run me at a 165 cadence – I managed 155! Tiny improvements are there. I think I’ll stick with a goal of 160 steps/minute and then increase by 5.

Weather was quite pleasant. Drizzle and not too cold. I went up and down the beach and tried to figure out how they could have possibly connected The Cave to The Chimney.

Saturday is my long run day and I get to enjoy 2 hours plus warm-up walking. My recent “hidden cave” discovery lead me to do some research and find out it might have been connected to The Chimney. 2 hours gets me quite a bit of distance and so I might actually make it to The Chimney tomorrow!

So where is it and what can we expect? I found out the area was also called “Death Valley”, because of lead poisoning! Now in contrast to the real Death Valley, I expect the temperatures to be quite tolerable and the are to be beautifully green.

I dug a bit around and found this treasure map:

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Picture from http://www.coillteoutdoors.ie

This does look like a fabulous adventure and so tomorrow I shall go and avoid “The Tomb” or “The Scalp” and focus on finding “The Chimney”.