40things: getting fitter, $deity help me.

One of the 40 Things is to get slightly fitter, and there are many reasons for this. The important thing, though, is improvement; maintenance isn’t really something I’m interested in, and I could do that just by sticking with Parkrun once a week. So I’m doing occasional 10ks and getting out more often during the week.

A few weeks ago I did the Leeds 10K (aka The Jane Tomlinson, to distinguish it from the other 10K races there are in the LS postcode area, one of which takes place on pretty much the same route). It was my second go at this race; last year I did it in 1h13m16s, which I thought was pretty decent seeing as how I’d done almost no training and only started doing parkruns that April. Of course, two weeks later I was given a “erm…” from my GP about my blood pressure and had to stop running until it was under control, which took effectively six months worth of no training and minimising salt (which helped, but probably not as much as exercise would have. Que sera). So this year I did more parkruns and a few more training sessions – one week I did do 20km over four sessions – to try & get that time down. I did get that time down. To 1h13m0s. I was a whole sixteen seconds faster.

This is not improvement.

I clearly needed some help here, so I asked on Twitter and my old Exposure Leeds friend JB offered to keep me company on a parkrun to see if he could help me get round it without walking. He did so. Have a picture:


On the right is my usual parkrun heart rate, tracked around the course. The left shows my HR when accompanied by JB. The redder it is, the higher my HR. I basically spent Saturday morning with my heart beating out some euro-techno, instead of the more usual Debussy. (FWIW between the two runs there were only 10s difference.) For the first time in a very long time I crossed the line thinking I was going to vom.

Clearly I’m going out too fast and not pacing myself correctly, and having to slow to a walk for too long on the uphills isn’t good for times or fitness levels. But there is a plan. JB, to his eternal credit and my gratitude, is going to give me some interval training at an absurdly early time of the morning. And this week I’m going to start going along to Hyde Park Harriers sessions (Tuesday nights, outside the Edge, 7pm) to see how that works out for me. We’ll see.

The goal is to get round the Abbey Dash course in under 1hr6m… and I’ve got five months to get there. This should be do-able.

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