Sunday, 26 October 2014

Thinking about a new challenge...

Okay so you have gathered by now I'm getting back into running more and really enjoying it.  Yesterday morning I had some time to think a few things through while I was doing a 10 mile run, once again on the Grand Union Canal towpath.  This time I headed south from Linslade to Horton Lock, back up through Leighton Buzzard and returned to the start.  Great.

Here are my thoughts, summarised in a clumsy way:

Running is good for me, physically.  It helps keep my weight down, helps maintain a good cardiovascular health, strengthens my ligaments, tendons and all the muscles etc that hold it altogether.

Running is good for me, mentally.  It helps me think things through, makes me feel good (runner's high), sleep is even deeeeeper and more wonderful and most importantly, it helps me keep things in perspective, deal with stress and solve problems at work.

I happen to prefer the longer distance challenges rather than speed i.e. completing and enjoying a marathon is more important than achieving a new PB in a 10k.

I work best when I have something to aim for, a target, a date in my calendar.  So this all brings me around to thinking of making sure I run every day, or more sensibly 5 or 6 days a week.  I have previously had little "projects" where I have made sure I have run or cycled every day over the Christmas holidays i.e. up to 12 or 13 consecutive days.  This has worked well.  Last Christmas I cycled in all kinds of crazy winds, rain, ice and darkness.  Previously I have done the same except I have run instead - and absolutely loved it!

So, with these ingredients, what would hit the mark?  Enter some kind of event?  Maybe.  Run 1000  miles in 2015?  Yes, this could be getting closer.  And then I thought "why wait until January 1st before I start doing this?  I could do this tomorrow".

I chatted to Rachel about this.  Broadly supportive but reminds me I mustn't go tempting her to do anything like that.  Through a combination of my discussions with Rachel and thinking it through a little further I am weighing up the pros and cons (and I did this in 2013 when I started to consider a long distance bike event).  So here goes:

Reasons to run 1000 miles in a year:

  • Great to have a challenge, might bring out the best in me
  • Good discipline, which I need
  • Health benefits of running
  • No huge exertion - i.e. more about "little and often" rather than running a few marathons (though I wouldn't rule that out!)
  • Even short runs count.  A humble 3 mile run which can easily be done 25 minutes is 0.3% of the aim.
  • No huge expense as I wouldn't need to buy a new bike or anything like that, just one or two pairs of running shoes
  • When I'm an old man, I can think "I did it"
  • I reckon I would normally run 600 miles in a year quite easily, so I should be able to make it to 1000 miles.  After all it is less than an average of 3 miles a day, if I were to run each day
  • Plenty of things to blog about (I might even start a new blog???)

Reasons not to run 1000 miles in a year:

  • Could become a bit boring or monotonous
  • Will it wear out my joints?
  • I could become a running bore
  • I could find I give up cycling completely, something I don't want to do
  • What if I fail for some reason.  Will I feel foolish, let myself down, embarrass myself through having set myself up?
  • Supposing I trip over and really injure myself?  I have had a few trips and falls since running and this is probably my biggest fear.

Christmas holiday run no. 12
The Pros and Cons of cycling Coast to Coast

Would be glad to have any comments.....

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