I will admit it now, this week I was tired, very tired.
The previous week of hills had sapped my energy more than I had anticipated.
Turns out this was a valuable lesson in disguise.
The plan this week was long running, building up the minutes on my legs; 45, 40, 75, 180, 45 were the scheduled durations for these runs.
While finding somewhere to run for 45, 40, 75, 180 & 45 is not an issue, I soon discovered that in the back seat my brain I had a stow away – boredom.
“Are we there yet?” it would say as I passed the 20 minute mark on each run.
“How much further? I’m BORED” it balled as my watch clicked over to the final 10% of the run.
To clarify, this was not exhaustion in disguise – I had no problems completing the runs, it was more the fact that I was running places I had run before.
Yes, I was tired from the previous week, yes it sometimes felt like a chore to ‘lace up’ but I still had the will to run.
This could be a concern in the coming weeks, Princes Park is 6 hours on a 2.5 kilometre loop, there is a possibility that I may get bored.
I soon qualified this feeling on the weekend long runs.
On Saturday I needed to run for 3 hours so I chose to run the Main Yarra Trail from Richmond to Warrandyte – a run I have done before and ultimately this my downfall.
Once I had cleared Kew and was well on my way towards Heidelberg, it all began to look very very familiar and the little voice started.
I managed to sway it for quite a while, the signposts on the Main Yarra Trail really helped, alongside my 50 minutue run / 10 minute walk strategy which meant I was either pushing towards the 10 minute walking window or the next major milestone; 4KMs to the next carpark, the next major road, the next park – and for a while it worked.
Breaking my long run into smaller, more manageable goals is definitely the way to go – and not a strategy I am unfamiliar with – but still, the nagging voice of boredom was there, to get me at my weakest moments.
I was meant to run for 3 hours, but stopped at 2 and a half, a mixture of time constraints, sore feet and the nagging voice of boredom – but I convinced myself I had done enough, it was still a long run, I had continued to test my fuelling strategy and it continues to work for me.
There was always Sunday for more running.
And then Sunday rolled over and we were on our way to Williamstown – to see Sea Shepherd, the Steve Irwin was in port and they were offering free tours – who could resist?
Still, I had to run that day so I negotiated with the family and slotted in an hour’s run between the boat and lunch.
I haven’t run in Williamstown before so running along the waterfront had lots of appeal.
With only an hour on hand I was restricted to how far I could go but a nice little 10K run from Scienceworks, via Sandy Point, and finishing on the Esplanade seemed like the perfect run – and it was.
A little flatter than I am usually used to and very very civilised underfoot but it was somewhere new, somewhere unexplored and although I had nearly 50Ks under my belt that week, fatigue or boredom never once entered my mind.
So this is my problem/solution
I WILL be running the 6 hour event as Princes Park as it is a good way to test my endurance and my fuelling strategies but it is loops around an urban park – the scenery is going to get boring after a couple of hours.
Breaking up the run into mini-milestones will probably save my sanity:
- 3 – 4 laps per hour will get me to about 20 laps (approximately 50Ks) which I think is a good target – so I get to count backwards from 20.
- Run 50mins / walk 10mins is possible with this target and may just save my legs.
In an emergency, music and podcasts may save the day.
I am not overly keen on putting the headphones back in, but it is permitted on the course – well, for most of it – and Zombies, Run! Has just launched Season 7 – I only ever got as far as the beginning of Season 2 so this may be a great opportunity to catch up a bit.
And if in doubt, maybe I will just have to make friends on course.
After a week of relatively flat runs I am looking forward to this week, as I sit here on the Monday of week four, I am feeling refreshed.
Modifications to the training plan to prepare myself for Princes Park kick in this week and my long runs are going to be loooooog this week.
My mid-week run will be 1:30 (10 mins longer than plan) and I will aim for a 4 hour run on Saturday and a 1:30 run on Sunday.
With the prospect of hitting around 70Ks on my long runs alone, this is going to be a big week on the KMs but in the long run, excuse the pun, it’ll be worth it.