Ever had a bad dream about training?

Last night I had a dream full of dread. In it, my training plan sternly dictated, “You must run 20 miles tomorrow,” and this caused me to wake up in a panic in the middle of the night. 20 miles? Again? Noooooo! This may have happened because this weekend I ran my first back to back Long Steady Runs (LSR) on coach Rory Coleman‘s training plan, 10 miles on Sat, and the dread-inducing 20 miles on Sunday. I’ve only just recovered enough to write this blog again 🙂

On Sat my boyfriend and I ran a fun, chatty 10 miles on trails (we forgot to take water, it was very warm, we are eternally indebted to newly refurbished The Black Horse, Nassington for providing us with free pints of water!). Then on Sun, I set off late afternoon after the storm had passed, for a 20 mile trot around a very windy but sunny Rutland Water. Sticking to my coach’s instructions for LSRs I kept my HR at 142bpm (75% Max HR which is 220 minus your age if you want to work yours out).

Almost finished as the sun sets at Normanton Church, Rutland Water. This was shortly after I performed rave moves at the uninterested sheep.
Almost finished as the sun sets at Normanton Church, Rutland Water. This was shortly after I performed rave moves at the uninterested sheep.

Trouble is, this HR is ALOT slower than I’m used to running, but coach Rory said, “Let me have your remote control” which is basically coach-speak for “Do what I tell you and you’ll survive this crazy 6-day 225km Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica this Feb.” Fair enough. So I’m doing what the good man says. But jeez it was DULL. Dull dull dull. I really wanted to go faster, mainly to get the 20 miles over with!

The thing that saved me was my iPod. Like most trail runners, I never normally run with music but I thank my lucky stars I took it with me, anticipating this scenario. I put it on shuffle, to excite my brain with an eclectic mix of dance tracks, power ballads, cheesy pop and Eddie Izzard comedy sketches and honestly it’s the only thing that kept me from madness. At mile 17 a rave track came on and I found my self doing dance moves to a group of decidedly nonplussed sheep. At mile 20 I sang along to the power ballad Alone by Heart. That’s how slowly I was going, not talking pace, SINGING pace.

Do you listen to music while you run? I never usually do on trails, there's usually too much scenery, interesting terrain and wildlife going on, but on Sun one of these saved me from Rutland Water's long, dull road/tarmac path sections.
Do you listen to music while you run? I never usually do on trails, there’s usually too much scenery, interesting terrain and wildlife going on, but on Sun one of these saved me from Rutland Water’s long, dull road/tarmac path sections.

I finished with a fizzle. Glum. Bored. Joints knackered. My hips ached, my knees hurt, oddly my left bicep was tired, and I felt generally uninspired despite the beautifully dark-cloud-shrouded sunset that was unfolding across the inky wind-whipped waves of the reservoir. I resolved to find a more interesting place to run next Sunday. A running club friend with a caravan at Burnham Overy Staithe on the east Norfolk coastline has invited us over. I’m hoping the coast will be more inspiring for my oh so slow 20 miler next week. Thinking of that has reduced my feelings of dread, so hopefully I won’t have another bad dream about training.

Burnham Overy Staithe is where I'll run my slow 20 miler next Sunday. Hopefully the map reading and change of terrain and scenery will make the miles fly by.
Burnham Overy Staithe is where I’ll run my slow 20 miler next Sunday. Hopefully the map reading and change of terrain and scenery will make the miles fly by.

Is it my fault that 20 miles at a slow pace bores me silly? Does it mean I’m a boring person? Maybe I’ll write a list of things to think about for next Sunday to keep my brain occupied. I notice that unless it’s engaged in traily terrain it focusses more on being frustrated about running slowly. Back to the trails I go…:)

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