Hello again! It feels like just a few hours ago I had a post written for you… Oh, wait…
The avid amateur runner that I am, and how I know over time I will almost always relate something back to running… Running is love, running is life. I thought why not start off Running Fridays (running for that weekend amiright? (sorry) ) with a post about the types of running that I partake in on an almost daily basis (spoiler it will be daily). It is important not to do the same thing again and again as you will struggle to improve, so I try my best to mix it up as much as possible to help motivate me. Now sometimes this means running twice a day as I may do a short run as it was planned and then a longer run in the evening as I just like it.
First off and I know this is weird, my marathon or half marathon training now involves competing in a marathon and a half marathon. I am very lucky to live near a group of runners who hold a marathon almost every month, so I can almost train for a month for that race and then these marathons actually become part of my training for a ‘big’ marathon or race. I love them and they are great people. If you are a runner and from Northern or Republic of Ireland they are the East Antrim Marathon Series. If you have run Belfast marathon, they are the folks who dress up and run as a group for charity, This year it was Smurfs. Like I said, a great bunch of people and a post about them will not be long coming I am sure.
The reason I run this way is that I feel it puts my mind and my body in a good place to prepare and cope with the distance at the pace I am wanting to go at it with. It may not make sense to others but for me, knowing I have run that distance and at that pace 28 days earlier helps me mentally keep going. I have done it before and I will do it again.
Despite this, I can’t run this every day and I do need to mix it up as not every race is a half or full marathon. I am weaker at the shorter distances 10km and 5km than the half in all honesty and I want to change that and improve on all distances. To accomplish this I utilise my various running routes:
The Grove Park route is perfect for short fast runs as it is a loop of 1km and even has a slight incline at one side so your legs get the chance to work a bit harder each lap. Or the towpath which leads from Carrickfergus to Lisburn. I use the Belfast to Carrick portion of this towpath and it is great for the longer runs as I am practically just running straight the entire time sticking to the coastal route of the Lough. Though with the towpath, I have become so accustomed to this route that I know it’s mile markers off by heart and
Though with the towpath, I have become so accustomed to this route that I know it’s mile markers off by heart and know that I can do 1-mile bursts to get the heart rate going or for practicing my kicks for the end of a race. For example, if I am doing a practice run of a 10km I know the markers for the 6.2 miles that it encompasses. So I know without my tracker that at mile 5 I can push and I don’t need to keep checking my watch or phone for a distance update as I can see where that point will be in front of me. Having that reassurance that I know the distance and can just relax a bit more during the run is good as then after the run I can look and analyse the run properly and not be consumed by it during the run itself.
Here is a better breakdown of the types of runs that I do… As mentioned earlier, I will only chat about the first 2 in this week’s running post as I don’t want to bore you! The others will remain secret until next week!
The consistent run: This is, without a doubt, my favourite type of run as I can just focus on my pace and keep it the same and not worry about trying to speed up for a negative split or anything like that. Keeping it consistent and probably slow is good as I would most likely use this type of running for a longer race (more than 10 miles) as I am always a sucker for speeding off when I shouldn’t at the beginning of a race, I think it is the urge to pass people, it is addictive! This run also helps me just relax and focus on other things and not even think about the running. I feel as if I go into a different mental mode or state. Like I have been switched off but the legs are just going and pumping along the path. Running is my form of meditation, it calms me and this run is the epitome of a relaxing calm run for me.
The speed run: Now for the polar opposite! I would use the Grove Park for this run as it is the closest to a 400m track that I have. As much as I enjoy that calm consistent run, there is a great feeling in just letting loose and giving it everything for one lap before collapsing on the grass for a few days before picking yourself up and going again. I like being able to hit a corner at the right angle as if I am an F1 car getting the best speed without having to hit the brakes or lose time by going wide. I am really looking forward to these speed runs over the summer as I know I have the potential to get quite quick on a lap. Also, getting that chance to run your lap, rest and look at your time before hitting it again is great fun. Lot’s of focus is needed for me to keep going and determination!
Well, that is all for Running Friday and me until Sunday! But you never know I might pop up again tonight for the hattrick! Oh, the suspense!