To me, golf is that activity that ruins a nice walk. Come to think of it, if I'm going to be walking on those lovely grassy fairways, I'd rather be running on them, barefoot.
Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered speed golf. It's golf in which the objective is to finish as quickly as possible with the fewest number of strokes. Each round takes about an hour to an hour-and-a-half instead of who knows how long. You could probably cover 3-4 rounds of speed golf and get in a good long interval/fartlek session in the time it takes to do one round of normal golf. Best thing of all, it's mostly on lovely plush grass so you could do it entirely barefoot too.
I might have a reason to learn to play golf now. Anyone up for a few rounds of barefoot speed golf on a fresh spring morning?
Last week I reached my target of 2000km of running for the year. I plucked the figure out of the air at the beginning of the year knowing I'd get it, but I didn't think I'd get it this soon. I think at this rate I might get close to about 2800km for the year, which is pretty impressive considering I only ran 1563km last year. I also ticked off 1000km on my bike too, but that's mostly commuting.
Sunday saw me take part in my first half marathon in over 13 years, the Reading Half Marathon, and what a brilliant race it was.
As you may have read back in November, I took the plunge and entered the Reading Half Marathon and continued with the MAF training principals exclusively with the idea I'd going into my race with at least a great aerobic base and possibly missing some speed. This was a bit of a gamble as I'd never heard anyone train like this before and had certainly never taken this approach myself. Seeing as I hadn't done a half marathon in a while, I thought "What the heck. It'll be an interesting experiment. Worst case scenario, I blow it. Best case, I finish the race strong and get the sub-90 minute finish time I'd be aiming for".
Over the Christmas holidays, I was compelled (a visit was due anyway) to return to sunny South Africa for the first time in five years - my first Christmas back in SA in 7 years - by my cousin's desire to marry a gun-toting children's pastor (lovely chap).
As part of my holiday back home, I decided I'd venture out to see what South Africa's first and only (at the moment) parkrun was like. It'd been a very very very long time since I last ran in South Africa, let alone raced, and from the one other run I'd had in Jo'burg during my hols, a gentle 10k, I knew it would be a toughie.
So nice and early on Christmas eve, I bundled my wife into the car and we headed down to Delta Park for a quick spin round the park (me - my wife doesn't run). We got there with about half an hour to spare so I could warm up and introduce myself to the organiser - the one and only, Bruce Fordyce
I work across the Thames from the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake and on many occasions I've thought to myself, "Can you run round the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake?". I've plotted a route on Google Maps on several occasions and it appeared do-able, but never actually tried it, until today .
Last week I noticed them doing some severe mowing over on that side of the river so today I thought I'd go see if I could run right round and answer that question...
Can you run round the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake?
This was a great challenge and one I'm going to come back to, but maybe not quite so rigidly or with so much gusto at the start of the month.
As part of doing my 30-day challenge, I decided I would NOT give myself a training programme to follow. I would just run and listen to my body, with the exception that I would do a long run on the weekend. If I felt good and felt I could go fast, I did. If I felt like plodding, I did. This worked really well and I ended up only wearing my Garmin to record my route and distance as evidence of my progress and only checked it at the end of each run. It's quite refreshing just running again without any trying to run to clock or beeping pacer. I think I'm going to start doing this more often.
Now forcing myself to run everyday has taught me a few very important things. Running every day is fantastic, when you're up for, but you MUST listen to your body and take a break when it says you need one. If you don't and you run, you won't enjoy it and may start to resent it. You're also likely to incur aches and pains and niggles or even a full on injury if you don't.
I think I may have gone out a bit too far a few times in the first 3 and a bit weeks and by Friday the 26, I really wasn't up for running and starting to feel a little over-trained. This is when I'd normally take a day or two off, but didn't as I was aiming to complete this challenge.
Sadly, I've had to force myself to take a break after 30 days. I find myself feeling a little over-trained with my right hip flexor a little tender after runs. I wouldn't call it an injury, just an annoying niggle that wasn't there before.
I'll give myself the best part of a week off and start a similar challenge again, but this time without any rigid goals. Who knows, maybe 3 long hard weeks is my limit and maybe the 4th needs to be considerably lower in mileage than I did. Only time will tell.
One thing I'm very impressed with is the monthly total: 231.18k of running.