Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Club Running, Long Running and Various Treats

Having given myself a week or so grace since coming back from holiday, the past week has been pretty busy with new Back to Fitness courses and preparing for a couple of new ongoing courses, one for council employees and another for Back to Fitness "graduates". It feels as though all of my non-teaching hours have been taken up with session planning and prep, although I know in reality that's not true. The first couple of weeks surrounding the start of a new class or course are always busier and it doesn't last but I know I need to get a little better with segregating my work and "rest" time, especially with my days split into morning and evening shifts as they are.

Insight into my work/life balance aside, what have I actually been doing with my non-working time? Training has taken up quite a few of those hours, especially on Monday when I went for my last long run before the marathon in June. I very nearly didn't go. I texted my mum a "I don't really feel up to it" sort of message, expecting a sympathetic response. Instead I got a "well just going out and see what you can do, it's a nice day" message in response. Damnit! So I dutifully went, with no route in mind. I decided to explore some of the footpaths around the area in a bid to make the run a little less monotonous.

At two miles it felt like a lot of effort, so I texted mum again for support. "Run a bit and walk a bit. You need the miles not speed" was the response. Yes mum, that's exactly what I would tell other people, so why am I having trouble telling myself that? A video from my parents waving flags and cheering me on followed, making me smile and plough on. I had water, snacks and music, sunshine and lots of green space. A run/walk strategy was adopted, using a walking break at the end of the mile to sip water. It worked. I got through 16 miles and enjoyed it in the end.
Saturday also marked the start of my boxing training at 8:30am. Due to holidays I missed the first session so I was joining for session two. A mix up in hall bookings saw us training outside on a warm sunny morning, which was actually really nice. We started with a general warm up, much like the sort I do with RunFitUK, followed but a HIIT workout of three lots of three minutes, then technique practice on jabs, crosses and a basic block. I didn't find it too testing and was really more interested to see who else was taking part. The proportion of men is unsurprisingly higher but the range of women is reassuring to see.
After training I headed down to Canterbury to visit my Nan for lunch and conversation. I'd found a little place called The Cosy Tearooms in Elham via google maps which turned out to be a real gem of a find. All the food was home made and there was a great selection of vegetarian options. Lunch options were sandwiches, toasties, jacket potatoes and quiches and whilst that could have been quite dull, it was all beautifully presented and full of flavour. Seemingly popular with cyclists and walkers, the tearooms also offered a fine line in cakes. I can highly recommend the caramel banana loaf and cherry coconut cake.
Sunday morning was spent marshalling the Woodley 10k in heat that made me glad I wasn't running and very sorry for everyone taking part in the Bracknell Half Marathon that was also taking place that day. The event went well despite a bit of a panic over our commentator mat malfunctioning, leaving me to try and find numbers and corresponding manes from printed lists to give names checks read as finishers came over the line. Having not taken advantage of many of the free Starbucks rewards I'd earned through Vitality recently I thought I'd treat myself to an iced coffee and a couple of hours by the lake in the afternoon - a treat indeed!
Thursday evening is host to my second boxing training session of the week at the moment. The format was the same as the Saturday session but this time we were working on hooks, upper cuts and blocking hooks. It's starting to feel a little more cohesive and I'm starting to suss out who I'd *like* to be paired with, not that I get any say in the matter.
On Friday I had my first run with Bracknell Forest Runners. I'm not sure if I mentioned but I joined the club some time ago but my work schedule and some long standing social commitments has meant I'd not been able to make any meets until now. I'd expected there to be quite a group for the Friday run in the woods but there were only eight of us, including myself and two other guys who were also new to the club. I'd had mixed experiences of club running in the past and I find it takes me quite a long time, in general, to feel part of any group but I think the low numbers really helped on this occasion. We were all made to feel very welcome and it was a chatty, social run (although that's not to say it was easy) where no one got left behind. We did get a tad disorientated, and one chap had a bit of an incident with some barbed wire and his trainer but it was a really enjoyable hilly run in the woods and I'm scouring my diary to see when I can make it again.

All in all, a good week of training, which in summary, looked like this:
Saturday: Boxing Training
Sunday: 6 mile run
Monday: 16 mile run & yoga
Tuesday: Sit up and press up matrix

Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Boxing Training
Friday: 6 mile run

Are you a club runner? Have you been put off? What's one thing clubs could do to make it feel less daunting to join?

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