Training sometimes can drag you down. We can get wrapped up in paces and distances and weekly kms. It can be easy to forget that as hard as running is it can also be fun. Throw in training in what is now officially the coldest February in Ottawa in 115 years (and not like we are warm at the best of times), and training can become something to simply endure and get done. This winter people’s pipes are freezing solid, the plastic parts on cars are shattering with the slightest bump and school children have been kept in for enough indoor recesses that playing on the schoolyard is something of a distant memory. The canal skateway, the longest skating rink in the world, has been open a record number of days, though many of those days saw few skaters due to the bone chilling cold.
Last Friday though Mother Nature gave us a bit of a break. By mid afternoon the temperature was around -10 and there was virtually no wind. Minus 10 may not sound particularly warm but when day after day after day has been well into the -20’s and often in the -30’s with the never ending wind factored in, Friday seemed like a little bit of heaven. The best part was for the first time it was possible to actually feel a little warmth from the sun. You had to concentrate a little, but it was there.
With this weather break I went out with the idea of simply running for enjoyment. I didn’t care what pace or distance I achieved, though I admit I am still a little too anal to go without my GPS watch – no matter what I do I like to record it. My plan was to run until I didn’t want to run anymore, maybe 5 or 8 km, or if I really felt good go for 10k. I headed out on one of my favourite routes, one I have been avoiding because of its tendency to act as a wind tunnel. From memory I was pretty sure that the turnaround point I wanted to get to was about 6k from work. Only when I got to that point did I realize it was actually around 7.5. Happily I realized that I was going to do a minimum of 15 km. By the end I threw in a little more and finished up at 16.4k, and every km was truly enjoyable. What a treat to not be fighting the wind, struggling through sand-like snow, or watching for oncoming traffic because of the impossibility of running on unsafe sidewalks. If fact the only things I had to watch out for were these little bodies of water…I think they are called puddles! Wow, water outside in its liquid form!
Today the temperatures stayed warm (relatively speaking) but it was a grey, damp day. Once again I really didn’t have a plan. It should have been my long run day, but since I had already done that 16.4, it didn’t seem necessary. So, despite only being one month away from the Prague Half Marathon, I once again went out with no goal in mind and once again was pleasantly surprised. I split the run into two parts. The first 7k was a steady tempo run (actually a little faster than needed). A five minute break was followed by a slower recovery run for 6.6 km. This run was based almost entirely on what my body felt like doing. Running at a strong pace felt great until the 7 km mark, when I knew I was tired. The recovery run also felt right, though I was a little surprised to find that I actually sped up in the last 2 km.
Sometimes it is just good to run 🙂
That said, if you are having troubles motivating yourself, you have to check out this: