Week 2 – Trails and tribulations

Yes. I meant trails. I’ve spent a fair bit of this week running on them. Tribulations is a bit strong, but my runs have been tough. Also, I really like running off road. It’s just, well, more interesting.

Most of you reading this who are local to Montrose will recognise this epic view. If you are not from ’round here, it’s from the top of a cliff in St Cyrus, looking south towards Montrose along the North Sea. This was my 9 mile route on Saturday. More on this later, along with the descent of the cliff filmed using my shiny new GoPro.

Ok – onto the nitty gritty. Week two had a similar schedule to week one. Someone wise once said you shouldn’t increase your mileage by more than 10% per ??. It was probably my physio friend Caroline as it’s her voice I hear when saying it to myself. She’ll perhaps confirm if it’s per week. Anyway, I ran a whole extra mile this week. So not even close to 10%.

Training Schedule – Week 2

  • Mon – 3 miles easy
  • Tues – Rest
  • Wed – 5 miles at Marathon Pace
  • Thurs – 3 miles easy
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – 9 miles long
  • Sun – Rest/Cross Train

I rocked up to my Monday night running club social run in a waterproof jacket. Got drookit anyway. There are so many great Scottish words for rain by the way, but drookit is how I would best describe my 3 mile run. Pace was decent and easy, had a good chat with Lesley, Emily and Colleen then nipped off early so as not to overdo the mileage. The route was in town, so all road running. Which is fine with company. Later, Lesley informed us on her Strava post that her feet stayed dry despite all the mad puddles. Now coveting a pair of Gore-tex Brooks.

Wednesday was meant to be a repeat of last weeks 5 mile marathon paced jog. But there was a pretty awesome off road route planned for Thursday running club. Just shy of 5 miles. So I swapped my days and went for a 3 mile run/dog jog instead. I forgot to compensate for the fact that I was running on a more challenging terrain, at one point, stopping to scold myself out loud to slow down, heart hammering away in my chest.

Oh, and this is Jake, my 5 year old border collie. He comes along for most of my solo running adventures that are away from traffic and roads. He bounds along beside me, doesn’t care where we go and enjoys a good sniff and checking his pee-mails on our regular routes. He’s almost never out of breath. I once saw a tv programme about designing the perfect human based on the best bits of other species. A dog’s heart is one of the most efficient in the animal kingdom.

What he thinks he looks like running
What he actually looks like

Who likes running in the dark? In Scotland at this time of year, we have around 7 hours of daylight, so you adapt. I quite enjoy it. Sharpens the wits looking ahead with more scrutiny at possible obstacles and dangers…especially on open roads. A head torch and reflective/bright clothing are a must. I have a head torch. I don’t have the latter, so the opportunity to run with a group at night is great from a safety point of view.

Our club run was on a similar route to my Wednesday run….but I’ve never attempted to run it at night. Not alone anyway. Joining the slower pace group, I caught up with Jane who’s been on the injury bench recently, great to see her out again. My pace was a bit nippy for marathon pace but I didn’t want to hold anyone up and it felt comfortable enough, although it was positively mediterranean for a December evening.

My friend Jo kindly tagged along with me to do the extra bit to make up to five miles. Apart from feeling like a boiled lobster by the end and jabbing away at the aircon on the drive home, not used since at least August, it was a fun way to run the 5 miles.

Photo by Michael Loudon
The Evening Shift – Photo by Michael Loudon

I recently treated myself to a GoPro Hero 8. My previous GoPro was the Hero 3 so it’s not an upgrade I rushed into. I had spent Friday night watching endless YouTube tutorials on running with a GoPro and planned a route with suitably interesting terrain to film.

My Saturday didn’t get off to the best of starts. I slept in. My GoPro was flat. My Garmin was in its death throes at 9% battery. There was no way to attach my GoPro to the ancient gorilla pod I had planned on using. The forecast for that afternoon was stormy. Friday night me was all ‘haha, I’ll not have to worry about the weather, I’m all set with my weather app and will be home long before it kicks off’. In true multitasking/panic mode I managed get everything to at least 50% battery, throw on my running gear, mobilise a family member to give me a lift to my planned route start point (thanks Grant, getting the bus would have taken an age) and nip to Argos en route to acquire a GoPro handler. As I set off, the weather was ok, not even a breath of wind.

I know this is a running blog and not the diary of an amateur filmmaker, so I’ll not go into the details of recording the footage, while running. Instead, here’s one of the more successful captures.

This is speeded up – I’m not a mountain goat.

For me, one of the most challenging aspects of a ‘long run’ is dealing with boredom. Training for 26.2 miles of mind-numbing, relentless plodding with nothing else to do but think about the fact that I have 4.5 hours of mind-numbing, relentless plodding ahead of me is crucial if I’m going to succeed. My longest bout of running is just over a half-marathon, and I had company. I have always listened to music while running, but even that becomes annoying after a while.

It was only an hour and a half of running on Saturday and I had the benefit of trying out all the functions of my new camera. I was so focussed on that, the running became almost secondary. Then the rain and wind picked up. Hard to film when the lens is constantly covered in raindrops. The last two miles were horrible. I sped up to keep warm. My hip, ankle and knee started to ache a wee bit too. Not painful, just mildly uncomfortable. Weirdly, all were fine again the minute I stopped. All in the mind? Maybe.

So another week complete. I did manage to take my son out for another run/walk session. Impressed he’s maintaining interest and I’m hoping he’ll take the initiative and go out on his own soon.

A wee plug for my running club too. If you or anyone you know would like to start running, they are doing a beginners couch to 5K programme starting in January. An excellent opportunity to run with a supportive bunch, so pass it on.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment, especially if you have any boredom prevention tips!

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