A post-birthday lazy lay in took precedence over a morning long run but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to run. Oh no, today would be the day to get back to doing a Sunday long run and a recce of part of the new Cotswold Classic 10 mile course.
Winter has been kind to me. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the first day of Spring. My hardest marathon training session so far was strangely satisfying.
I’ve spent the Spring getting faster and running shorter races than I’m used to but it’s time to get back to endurance in preparation for my assault on the Great North Run in just 8 weeks time. As well as having to run further and longer, it also introduces the additional challenge of taking on food and water on the go.
I feel a little guilty for picking planking for my Janathon activity. It seems a bit of a cop-out compared to running every day. Or cycling or swimming. I had to be realistic; running every day is tough, especially when your body is not used to it and you’ve had a niggle. It would have been foolish, and demotivating, if I had set out trying to run every day of January. My priority was getting ready for my first foray into the coaching side of running. In less than two weeks I shall be leading my first group of people who want to run further through Run England Cogges running group.
So with running for Janathon discounted, I needed to find something else. It’s bizarre to think how inspiring and motivating a bunch of strangers, who you’ll possibly never meet, can be so I didn’t want to miss out. I decided to pick planking instead. I needed to work on my core and it would only take a couple of minutes a day so would easily fit in.
After my dip in performance on my midweek post-run plank I decided I’d plank before my long run today. I’d progressively worked up from my 1m 02s first effort on Day 1, with only a couple of days missing a PB, and I had the 2 minute mark in my sights.
As always, mental determination is such a big chunk of sporting and fitness success and whilst the last 15 seconds were tough I held on to hit 2m 04s – exactly double my Day 1 benchmark.
Plank duration: 2m 04s
Improvement on Day 1 benchmark: 1m 02s
Janathon planks: 12 out of 12
Plank streak: 12
There was no time to bask in the glory. It was time to hit the road for my long run. The target today was to get out there for an hour at whatever pace was comfortable. I hadn’t run for an hour since late November and was conscious that I needed to test my general fitness ahead of starting my running group. I needed to set a good example!
I needn’t have worried. The biggest issue with my 6.5 miles was trying to get my hands warm having left my gloves at home! It was great to get out in the fresh air and I soon got into a comfortable rhythm that allowed me to cruise round in 59 and a half minutes.