After a fairly quiet week at home to finish my October break I was actually feeling ready for my return to work for the start of the new term. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s going to be a busy one, but I got a lot done when I was off so felt ready to tackle things head on. It was also important that I now sustain the training routine I have created, despite the fact that I have absolutely nothing to train for right now…and I am perfectly happy with that! I very much feel like I just want to run, be consistent and feel like I could happily jump in a half marathon at any point or begin to up my training for something bigger without having to start at the beginning. I’ve never been in this situation before and I kind of like it! It’s nice not having the pressure of an impending race, performance goals or expectations from others. Instead, I’m just enjoying running for what it’s all about – getting out in the fresh air and moving. I know this wouldn’t have worked for me in the past, but right now it’s ideal. So with that in mind, here’s what I got up to this past week:
Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – drills + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – accidental half marathon 😂
Most of that is very much as per the pattern I established last term, but what I really noticed was my performance at the weekend. More on that later.
We actually began the term with an inservice day. We don’t usually have one at this point, but there are a couple of additional ones this year and right after a holiday is a good place to have one. It gives you a day to get your head around what needs to be done and have plans in place for the weeks ahead. There was a bit less sitting in one place at this one, but still a bit less active than a teaching day so I was ready to stretch out on my yoga mat at the end of the day. This was the last session in the current block and we now have a two week break before the next block starts so I will have to make time for some home practice over the next two weeks. I left the class feeling really relaxed and ready for the teaching day to come.
That day started early as I was up for my morning run. Not going to lie, it’s quite a shock to have a 5am alarm call when you’ve just had a week off, and I really noticed how dark it had become in the short time since last term. Darkness for the entire run, with not even a glimmer of daylight as I finished, so I think I’m just going to have to accept that it’s going to be dark morning runs from here on in. I don’t mind, but it’s so nice in the summer months to be up and enjoying the early morning light when most other people are still in bed. Apart from that, it was just my usual Tuesday run – 4 miles at an easy pace as a recovery run from my longer one a couple of days before. It was a windy morning, but my legs and body felt good so I enjoyed the run.
That evening after work I headed down to the studio and this time Steve was ready with the resistance band, TRX and weights for my arm workout. I’m really starting to notice the change in the definition of my arms and feeling strong so focusing on this since we got back form our summer holiday has definitely been the right decision for me, even if the TRX parts are getting tougher!
I’m keeping Wednesday as my rest day, which meant I had time to go and get my nails done. My “French Trip manicure” was off and I wasn’t feeling totally put together without my nail polish, so having that done made me feel much better. Sometimes it’s the simple things. And yes, I am a total puzzle – I need to have my nails done but really push it on how long I can get away with not washing my hair!
Another early alarm call on Thursday to get out for a run. Despite not having anything specific to train for, I decided that I wanted to get back to some form drills again as Steve had noted at parkun last week that my form was good and I want to maintain that. I think running with good form is one reason I’ve felt much more robust over the past year or so and not really had much time out of running with any issues, so it’s obviously worth doing. It had been a few weeks though (I did some drills in my preparations for the Disneyland Paris runs) so I went back to the beginning with a mile warm up then 6x 500m drills with a minute recovery between each. I always start off thinking it’s going to be a bit of a chore but then quite enjoy the “work” intervals of the drills.
And then there was Ashtanga that evening. I’m now in the habit of keeping my yoga stuff in the car on a Thursday so that I’m less likely to miss the class if I get held up at work, but I still had time to nip home and change. It was a really good class as it was all the regulars and a couple of interesting things happened. First, I managed to take a bind in Marichyasana B, a posture we have begun working towards in recent months. It basically involves folding yourself up like a pretzel a bit like this:
At first I could barely bend the leg not in half lotus in much at all, but gradually got there and have been working towards taking the bind. I hadn’t really expected to get there just yet – even recently it hasn’t felt possible for me – but for some reason it just felt right to have a go and I managed it. I was so pleased with my progress!
We also tried a different back bend which I enjoyed as I like the challenge of new postures. And when we reached headstand I asked for support, but once I was in position my teacher was able to move away leaving me holding the headstand independently for a few breaths. I was pleased with this as it marked progress towards being able to do it completely independently again, but I’ll not rush and instead get used to being in the posture more often and hopefully get to a stage when I can move into it and find balance without support once again.
Friday was a pretty busy day at work as I had some things I needed to get done, but I was productive so didn’t have to stay too long after classes finished. That gave me plenty of time to get down to the studio – resistance band, dumbbells, press ups, weights and TRX this time. Phew!
After that first week of the new term I was ready for the weekend and kicked it off with the parkrun sandwich. I had actually managed to stick to my shorts for my midweek runs but Saturday morning was pretty chilly so I opted for my new leggings which had arrived on Friday. Any excuse!
Those leggings must have had super powers as I ran so well, finishing in under 24 minutes for the first time since March (and only the second time for the current parkrun year which began in late November!). In actual fact, it was only 6 seconds away from the time listed as my fastest for the parkrun year and since we’re still running on an alternative course which is a little longer than our regular course, I would argue that it might even represent a comparably faster time. After lots of setbacks with illness in the first half of the year, I’m so pleased to have clocked a 23:55 as we get to the tail end of the year.
Interestingly, although we still had a high number of runners, my finish position both overall and by gender are unusually high (2nd female – whaaaa?). I think a lot of the speedy people at the front end of the pack were away taking part in a cross country competition, leaving me the opportunity for a higher placing. Whatever the reason, I’ll take it – pretty sure that’s my highest gender placing ever at parkrun, and with the numbers we get these days it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything lower than about 70 for my position. Brilliant!
I think I was still buzzing on the way home as I found myself racing against Steve, who admittedly was taking it easy since his back was bothering him, and taking the chance to catch and pass him on the way up the road. Yes, I am competitive!
My Sunday plan was to run 12 miles. I did a few bits and pieces around the house (what a way to take advantage of the extra hour thanks to the clocks going back!) before heading out and decided I wanted to run basically the same route as my 10 miler last week, but add a lap of the North Inch park to bring it closer to 12. But the North Inch is only 1.5 miles so I needed to add a bit more. I ended up getting carried away and adding on too much, resulting in an accidental Sunday morning half marathon. Oops! #runnerproblems. In my defense, it was a lovely, bright autumnal morning, the shorts were back on and I was just enjoying the run. Once again my performance was better than my average time for the distance when I’ve actually been training for something, suggesting that I’m running better without that pressure. I’m all about the process rather than the end goal right now, so seeing that confirms that I’m doing the right things. I was pretty hungry for the rest of the day though and happily ate all the food!
So there you have it. Back to work, back to the routine, but a bigger focus on process and enjoyment than striving for a goal. I’m finding it rather refreshing.
Do you prefer having a goal to strive for or focusing on the process?
In what way have you surprised yourself with your performance in something lately?