The last couple of weeks have been interesting, dipping to a low but finishing on a high. The plan in my last post was to rest and just go swimming for a few days, then run again on the waterfront on the Friday. This worked out well, at least the first part. The swimming felt good. My legs got a break from the pavement pounding, but I still got an exercise kick. 50 lengths in 40 minutes is what I aim for (Johnsonville pool is not particularly huge btw!). Enough to feel like an effort but not so bad I risk drowning! Not long ago I might have drowned in fact. Only 4 years ago I was hopeless at swimming (like I’m kinda hopeless at running now). While growing up and for most of my adult life, I never got the hang of breathing properly while swimming – I always swam with my head out of the water! I pretty much avoided going swimming because I was embarrassed about not being able to swim properly. That changed a few years ago when my partner bought me swimming lessons for Christmas – The best gift I’ve ever had, at least since I got the monster Lego Technics car when I was 10. Over the course of a few months, along with a group of other swimming noobs, I got the hang of doing freestyle properly and mastered the whole breathing thing. It gave me a lot more confidence to use the pool.
So the swimming felt good, but the waterfront run I attempted the next day felt terrible! Despite feeling really up for it, I quickly got tired and my shins were sore. I didn’t even manage to get as far as the previous time! In my enthusiasm I might have set off a bit quickly, but it was very disappointing. It foxed me how I could set off feeling so good, but soon get so tired and end up in a heap.
The weekend was payday though, so I went for a fitting at the Shoe Clinic and got some new running shoes. The pressure pad showed how my feet roll from side to side, and how my left foot lands more under my body than my right. Apparently nothing weird, but it called for more supportive shoes and I ended up with some Brooks. I couldn’t wait to try them out, so the next day, Sunday, I tried the 5km loop run around Johnsonville, Newlands and Paparangi again. I’d done it the previous week, walking about a third of the way. I didn’t really know what to expect this time. I left the house in a bit of a hurry and forgot to take my mp3 player. As I started off from the bottom of Stewart Drive I decided to pace myself and run as slowly as possible. My shins didn’t start to hurt immediately, which was a good sign, and it was cloudy and a tad cool which was also good. I got about a kilometre and a half, to the bottom of Newlands Road (the start of the climb) and realised, hey, this doesn’t feel so bad. My shins don’t hurt much. I don’t feel too tired. I’m going to do this! Newlands road is uphill for about a kilometre and a half. I just kept going, slowly. Then round the corner, onto Bracken Road, past the school. Uphill most of the way until Helston Road, then the last kilometre is downhill. I was slow, and pretty tired, but still running! The very last few hundred metres are uphill again, which was not pleasant, but the letterbox on the corner at the bottom of Stewart Drive came into sight again and there I was! A 5km run under my belt! 30 minutes!
The catch of course was that when I stopped my shins were painful, and I walked home very slowly! I caught my breath again quickly, but it took about an hour for my shins to stop hurting. The new shoes had definitely made things better. I’d been able to get all the way round without much pain, but clearly I still had to build up strength in my legs. Despite saying in my previous post how much I love listening to music, I think not having my mp3 player helped this time. I was able to concentrate on pacing myself, and to stick at it.
After that I took a couple of days off running, went swimming again, and in the middle of some bad weather hit the treadmill on Wednesday night. Now that I was a seasoned 5 kilometre road runner I expected a bit of treadmill action to be real easy, but I soon came down to earth with a bump. It turned out to be a massive effort to do 5km on the treadmill. Weirdly it wasn’t my shins that were the problem. My calves felt weird, I felt tired from an early stage, I hardly had any energy. I forced myself to finish the workout and staggered upstairs again, sweating profusely. It was a humid evening. I felt foxed again that my body wasn’t performing as I expected, despite rest.
It was at that point I realised how dehydrated I was. I guess I don’t normally drink a lot of water, just coffee or tea. In fact drinking lots of plain water usually makes me feel sick. That Wednesday I’d not drunk much water – Only a glass of Berocca in the morning probably, and some sips during the afternoon and evening. But it turns out that dehydration doesn’t just mean headaches, overheating and feeling thirsty. It also means muscles can’t function effectively, joints have less fluid to lubricate them, heart stress increases, and there is a big drop in overall energy levels. I normally have a drink before exercising, but this made me realise I need to change my habits to stay well hydrated all of the time.
For the next couple of days I made an effort to do this, by drinking regular glasses of weak Ribena or water, then had another go at the 5km loop run on Friday afternoon. I also drank a couple of glasses of weak fruit juice about an hour beforehand to make sure I wasn’t going to be dehydrated. This turned out to be my best run yet. I ran the whole 5km (at a slow pace) and didn’t feel much pain from my shins or calves. And when I stopped running, probably for the first time, my shins didn’t kill me! The only unpleasant thing was the blazing sunshine, and my lack of a hat (I need one that won’t blow off).
So where are we up to? The milestone I set for myself in my last post was to be able to run 5km comfortably by Dec 4th. I think I’m closing in on that one. Over the next week I plan to do the 5km loop a couple more times, and go swimming a couple of times as well. Assuming that all goes okay, I think I’ll be able to start increasing the distance.
So here’s what I’ve learned over the last couple of weeks.
- Stay hydrated – If you are like me and don’t drink much by habit, write it on your hand! Drink water as often as you can remember (or weak Ribena or weak fruit juice if plain water doesn’t settle too well). Expect to pee more too. The pee should be clear. Google “dehydration” to find out exactly how much you should be drinking.
- Good running shoes are well worth the investment. I think they made the difference when I finished my first 5km run.
- Pace runs carefully. I simply try to run as slowly as I can when I start off. A lot of my 5km loop run is uphill, but when I get to the flat bits rather than speed up I take that as an opportunity to slow down and catch my breath.
- I now understand why roll on deodorant is so popular. It’s a bit more kind to chafed underarms than the spray on kind.
- Stay hydrated!
Lastly, despite not listening to music much this week, I thought I’d share another mix that I think is a good one for training. I recorded this one at The Drome’s 3rd birthday party last year. The Drome is sort of an online hangout for music heads. I’ve come across lots of cool people there over the last few years, and it was a pleasure to get asked to contribute to their 3rd birthday celebrations. I played lots of upbeat Detroit techno, acid house and electro and it turned out pretty good. Just don’t get carried away and run too fast at the start like I usually do!
Drome 3rd Birthday Tribute
Mixed by Olaf Quintessa
110 mins. 192 kbps MP3 (150MB).
1. Jeff Mills – Condor To Mallorca
2. Shawn Rudiman – Metronic
3. Arthur Oskan – Look Up
4. Robert Hood – Still Hear (Los Hermanos Remix)
5. DJ Bone – We Control The Beat
6. Shawn Rudiman – Squalid Humidity
7. Kerri Chandler – OPL-3
8. Golden Girls – Kinetic (Orbital Mix)
9. Dark Energy – Nightvision
10. The Future Sound of London – Expander
11. Dark Vektor – Vibracion Extrana
12. Chris McCormack – Saturation Point
13. Gods Of Technology – Instruments Of Armageddon
14. Kronos Device – Obey and Survive
15. I-F – M7
16. Paradise 3001 – Once The Magnetic Flow Fails
17. Shawn Rudiman – Dirty
18. Darren Price – Blueprints
19. Teste – The Wipe
20. Claude Young – External
21. Takaaki Itoh – Shift
22. Phase – Decode
23. Coefficient – Jupiter And Beyond
24. Takaaki Itoh – Shadowplay (2010 Remaster)
25. Los Hermanos – Return Of The Dragons
26. Darkmode – Natural City (Decal Remix)
27. Dez Williams – Poetry In Motion
28. Sir Real – Boingers
29. Vinyl Blair, Dave Angel – Mazzoslamma (Dave Angel Mix)
30. Queaver, Versis – To The B